PATERSON, NJ- If efforts to make Paterson safer, cleaner, and healthier are going to take going hold it won’t be because of the work of one person or organization. To increase home ownership opportunities, improve educational outcomes, and advance the economic standing of residents, resources, including time, talent, and money, will have to be utilized in a coordinated way.

If Paterson is to truly become a model city for the 21st century, partnerships will be key.

This was the clear message that emerged from the two-day  Creative Paterson “Call to Collaboration” held at Passaic County College on Monday and Tuesday. 

Sign Up for E-News

Saying the event “opened space” for stakeholders that hadn’t previously had a platform or voice in the community, Andriana Herrera told TAPinto Paterson that “Creative Paterson was a great opportunity for us to come together as one collaborative group to talk about issues and actionable pieces that we can implement in Paterson.”

A Program Manager with Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse (P-CASA), Herrera continued that the format that allowed attendees to take ownership of the changes that the group wants to see was “positive.”

Utilizing an “open space” meeting style, the “important moment,” as one participant called it, offered participants the opportunity to develop the agenda by raising topics and leading discussions on the issues they brought forward at the beginning of each session. Over the course of the two-day event 61 participant breakout sessions took place.

Improving Paterson‘s image was a common thread throughout many of the conversations that took place, and the idea that in order to truly make a difference the group, as a collective, has to start to ”think big” emerged as a topic of its own.

Summing up the largest confab of local stakeholders in anyone’s memory local teacher Erica Crenshaw shared her belief that because of the “game changers” in the room for the two days “Paterson is on its way.”