Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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May 16, 2013

Community walk an exercise in neighborhood unity

— GOSHEN — Tamra Lucas walked around the Chamberlain neighborhood with about 100 participants Wednesday afternoon in a “Neighbors Stand Together” event.

“I liked it. It was happiness,” Tamra said. “I gave a flower away and it made me happy and they seemed happy.”

Organizers of the event provided carnations and candy for participants to pass out to people they encountered during their half-hour walk that began and ended on the lawn at Chamberlain Elementary School.

“This is to promote neighborhood unity and to celebrate the good relationships we have here,” said Nate Mateer Rempel, President of the Chamberlain Neighborhood Association. “This (turnout) exceeds expectations a little bit, but there’s enough to make a good impact. We do like being together, apparently.”

Julia King, of LaCasa, Inc. said she felt compelled to do something visible and positive after a group of local teenagers allegedly shot and injured another group of teenagers in the same neighborhood a month ago.

The planning coalition includ ed north side residents, churches (Walnut Hill, St. Mark’s, and North Goshen Mennonite), Chamberlain Elementary School and neighborhood based nonprofits such as LaCasa, Inc. and The Boys and Girls Club. The City’s Community Relations Commission and Goshen College were also involved.

“We wanted to show that people care, that there are opportunities to be part of something good,” King said, while looking at the crowd before the walk began. “Isn’t this great? It speaks for itself. I’m so inspired. This surpassed my expectations because that’s what people do.”

And Heather and Magdalena Bridger-Ulloa decided to take part in the walk, even though they live on the south side of Goshen.

“We came to support and show solidarity for this neighborhood, for the families and kids,” Bridger-Ulloa said.

Members of the Goshen High School band led the walk with music and provided a jubilant air for the participants.

“It was fantastic and everything went right,” King said, after the group returned to the school lawn. “It was festive. It was interacting with people. It felt right.”

The children enjoyed blowing bubbles and ice cream sandwiches were passed out to the participants afterwards.

“We’re doing this to remind ourselves and others that our community is alive, full of hope and looking forward to the future in Goshen,” said Adrianne Penner, of The Boys and Girls Club.

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