At its roots, MOC is first and foremost about collaboratively bringing people and organizations together to have a strong voice for change, growth, and development. Building leadership from within the community is an imperative mechanism for ensuring that as the community makes progress toward a common vision those most vulnerable are not displaced. MOC supports leadership development through mentoring emerging leaders and organizations, convening community leaders to plan strategically and intentionally to address those issues and concerns identified by residents, and through organizing Task Teams comprised of Montbello’s stakeholders (i.e. those who live, work, play, and pray in the community).
Community Engagement – Montbello is a diverse community racially, ethnically, and economically. From the outset, the founding members of MOC, and those who are carrying the work forward, have been representative of the diversity of the community. With a deep commitment to equity, MOC has implemented an approach to language justice ensuring that participants in all MOC activities can dialogue in a manner that is most comfortable and effective to all.
Leadership Development and Support - A major goal of MOC is to build leadership capacity among Montbello’s diverse residents. For that purpose, MOC actively recruits potential leaders and participants to serve on Task Teams through community events, community gatherings, and community meetings. MOC has implemented a Resident Leadership Training program to build and support emerging leaders. Additionally, MOC collaborates with other community partners to offer training sessions in grant-writing and fundraising, nonprofit management, and implementing organizing skills.
Community Canvassing – Periodically, MOC surveys the concerns and interests of the community to determine community organizing approaches. In response, Task Teams are activated to address the ongoing need to organize and take action around specific issues. Using door-knocking, online surveys, focus groups and key informant interviews, issues and concerns expressed by residents have been identified. Some of these include Lack of a Full-Service Grocery Store; Crime; Poorly Performing Schools, Youth Violence; Not Enough Affordable Housing; Lack of Options for Youth; Inadequate Transit; Unsafe Walking and Bicycling Conditions; and Gentrification. The results of this information-gathering serve to inform the work of MOC as well as that of other community organizations.
Supporting Education & Youth – MOC staff and board are actively engaged in re-imagining education in the Montbello community. Efforts have included:
Participating in the 18-month long Far Northeast Education Commission process led by Denver Public Schools to envision a system of quality schools at all levels for the community.
Collaborating with other community organizations, parents, and students to address concerns about the failure of the education system in Montbello to effectively provide quality education to students of color and students living in economically stressed situations.
Working with community organizations and government agencies to engage in actions to increase neighborhood attachment in an effort to prevent youth violence.