In looking back on 2012, Northland Alliance chairwoman Joyce Bourgault pointed to a continuing series of gatherings for nonprofit organizations that led to greater cooperation among those trying to help people in need.
"As a result, more services were started between the YMCA and Helping Hands (Health and Wellness Center) free clinic to build the wellness programs for people of Northland at both agencies," Bourgault wrote in an email. "More services are coming to Northland as a result of the summits. Much hard work was invested into planning for next year."
She also pointed to the first of what is expected to become an annual event, the two-day Northland Community International Festival in August, as a high point for 2012. Sponsored by the Northland Alliance with other groups such as the YMCA, North Side Health Advisory Committee, Northland Community Council, Northland Performing arts Center, Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Columbus Public Library, local schools and many local churches, Bourgault called the gathering at Northland Village a "huge success."
"The festival brought leaders of the city of Columbus for a parade of the nations to start off the festival," she wrote. "Foods, entertainment, crafts and displays of many different ethnic groups were provided that created a new sense of community spirit."
A down note for the year took place in August when a fire at the Summit Park Apartments left more than 100 people, many of them immigrants and refugees, homeless.
"The community stepped up to help those in need and are still joining together to provide new housing and supplies for the families," Bourgault said. "As a result, the nonprofits from the summits are planning a disaster-response team through HandsOn to deal more efficiently with disasters that may come in the future."
The fire has also had some other potentially positive consequences, she indicated.
"A concerted effort is being made by the leadership of Northland to address the issues of apartment housing in the Northland area," she wrote. "There will be more outreach to the owners and managers of the many apartments to improve living conditions of their tenants."
Finally, Bourgault referred to a major grant the Northland Alliance received through United Way of Central Ohio to conduct a research project in the Beaumont neighborhood.
That's the area south of Morse Road to Ferris Road and between Cleveland Avenue and Karl Road.
"The results of the lengthy survey of over 200 residents will be compiled by the end of 2012 by a research team at OSU and the James Cancer Center and presented at the beginning of 2013 to the community," she wrote. "From the results, plans will be made to address the concerns of the neighborhood."