For Norwood resident Angela Pancella
, it’s a beautiful thing when events naturally come together or spring up, she says, and that’s what happened with the nonprofit for which she now serves as executive director: Woven Oak Initiatives
“While being involved with the nonprofit community, I’ve seen ways to connect neighborhoods, and I particularly saw that through my work with Peaslee Neighborhood Center
, and I thought, ‘Gee there should be something like this in Norwood
,’” Pancella says.
Before she knew it, Pancella was approached by Norwood residents and Woven Oak co-founders
Joshua Hanauer and Josh Stoxen—two men who came together when they realized their individual ideas would work better if merged into one.
Hanauer wanted to start a rugby program
to create a mentorship opportunity for students in middle and high school, while Stoxen wanted to create a bridge-building organization to promote community togetherness, while preventing the duplication of efforts.
“There’s so many people doing good things, but it’s hard to tell sometimes who’s doing what,” Pancella says.
What Pancella realized, however, after attending a Norwood Community Coalition
meeting, was that the bridge-building was already going on.
“We’re just plugging in to it,” she says.
At Woven Oak Initiatives, which Pancella says is named for “the image of roots intertwining to help trees grow strong,” the mission is to “catalyze the common good in Norwood” by fostering its own programs
(currently there’s rugby and children’s garden camp
), while also serving as a community connector.
“I can’t speak enough about Community Coalition as a unifying force. The people get together every month to meet and talk about what their programs are doing, so everybody shows up and learns some of the overarching issues in the community. It’s a great model,” Pancella says.
“It’s just everybody pitching in, supportive of one another—everyone has this, ‘OK, we’ll go to your event, and we’ll promote this.’ Everyone takes everyone else’s fliers, and the word spreads very organically. It’s not a top-down sort of thing—more of a bottom-up community support—and Norwood is very fortunate to have that.”
• To sign your child up for garden camp, inquire here
• Attend Casual Conversations
• Purchase a ticket
to attend There Is No Them, There Is Only Us, and attend the talk March 27.
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.