Building Community through The Framework

By Max Resnik

November 15, 2012 Updated Nov 15, 2012 at 9:07 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – A group of community organizers and volunteers are hoping to create a positive change in the lives of impoverished Fort Wayne residents through their organization, The Framework.

The Framework is currently leasing space at a warehouse near State Boulevard and Hobson Road. Its 12,000 square foot facility is currently bare, but the future is promising as they plan to build a 7,500 square foot indoor skate park and educational and mentoring facility.

Donny Manco heads the group. He has spent the past decade interacting with residents in low income housing around the Fort Wayne area. Manco says The Framework is built to fight the negative consequences of poverty by providing young people the tools necessary to become successful.

"The Framework, at its core, believes that building community is the best way to fight the ill effects of poverty, which everyone is facing everyday in 2012. And fighting poverty, we believe, is ultimately the best way to fight hatred. And when you can combat those things together, and at the same time build relationships that empower people to help themselves, you’ve come up with a formula that is amazing," Manco says.

One of those groups is the skateboard community, a group Manco says is lost when the summers leave and winters arrive. He says this group, its own community based on their identification as skateboarders, needs to be provided an avenue where they can remain intact. The Framework will provide the arena. The skateboarders, Manco says, will build and take control of their own indoor skate park.

"We've been working with the community of skaters down at Lawton Park for three years. Every year, when it gets this cold out, we lose those skaters. We fail to find them the thing that bonds them together. It's no longer a viable activity."

In recent years, Manco has also worked with residents of government built housing in the Fort Wayne area. He says The Framework can serve them as well.

"We've been working with folks at Beacon Heights Apartments for several years. We've been working with people at Baldwin Creek for several years. This is a neutral territory two blocks from either spot where we can bring those people out of their housing units and into a common space where we can experience life together on a neutral territory building the relationships that are going to end the isolation."

Right now, The Framework is a state recognized non-profit organization that is in talks with a local fiscal sponsor. Gaining a fiscal sponsor would allow The Framework to maintain its non-profit status while also giving them the independence to grow their organization how they see fit.

Volunteers and young leaders can attend Sunday meetings at 12 p.m. at 3054 E. State Blvd. near Hobson Road.

The Framework.




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