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LASSO Raises Awareness for Projects in the Floreciente Neighborhood in Moline By: Rebecca Graham

The Liberal Arts & Science Student Organization (LASSO) hlasso-logoosted its second Social Entrepreneurship Salon for the Fall 2016 semester on Wednesday October 26, 2016, which focused on the effort to revitalize the Floreciente neighborhood.  A panel of seven speakers representing Global Communities, Habitat for Humanity, Heritage Church, The Mercado, Advantra Credit Union, AmeriCorps, and the City of Moline discussed the needs of the Floreciente community and what services are currently being provided to help to meet those needs.

Some initiatives include community beautification in the form of flower pots for residents and businesses, Habitat for Humanity is working to help community members keep their homes in good repair, and Heritage Church is providing bi-lingual child care and transportation to and from the elementary school.  Heritage Church is also partnering with the Riverbend Food Bank and the Quad Cities Area Children’s Food Program to help meet the needs of the low-income community members.  The Advantra Credit Union spoke about the unique needs of the “unbanked” immigrant community and how they are working to educate people about the benefits of savings and checking accounts.

One especially interesting program – The Mercado – was founded by a resident of the Floreciente neighborhood.  The Mercado is an open air market providing vendor booths for local businesses as well as community members with crafts or traditional foods to sell.  They also use the space to host mariachi bands, traditional dances, and other cultural activities.  Beginning next year, The Mercado hopes to bring in businesses from outside the neighborhood to provide access to basic items (clothing, ethnic grocery items, tools, etc) for those members of the neighborhood who do not have a driver’s license.

If you are interested in getting involved in any of these projects, please contact Dr. Rabchuk at  ja-rabchuk@wiu.edu for contact information to the group handling that project.

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