Springfield Promise Neighborhood was founded in 2010 around the thought that engaging the community and activating the talents of our neighbors would help us all lift up our children. Our initiative is just one of many Promise Neighborhoods operating in cities and communities all over the country. Unlike others, Springfield Promise is one of only a few national Promise programs that is internally funded, and one of only three Promise programs in Ohio. While all of these programs seek to make a difference in our most economically stressed neighborhoods, our program has a unique asset based approach:
- Committing to the public school system and working with the Springfield City School District
- Sparking resident-led social change, working with neighbors as they build their community
- Creating a culture of aspiration, in which it is normal to succeed, to be smart, and to be kind
Springfield Promise Neighborhood believes that the long term goal of poverty alleviation depends upon caring for children. The foundation for social and academic success begins early in a child’s life. If we succeed here, then we all succeed. It is the mark of a caring community to care for its youth. It is the mark of personal faith and honor to care for the least of these, those who don’t enjoy the same development opportunities. That honest and fruitful effort depends on us all.
Meet Our Team
The Springfield Promise Neighborhood is operationally supported by a Director, a Community Engagement Director, an Executive Administrator, a Lincoln Promise Community Learning Center Director and six AmeriCorps VISTA members.
Dr. Robert Welker, Director
Dr. Bob has been a teacher for over 40 years. He was a middle school and high school teacher before teaching at Ohio State, Denison University and for 23 years at Wittenberg University. He helped convene the coordinating team that conceived of Springfield Promise Neighborhood and has served as its Director for the last five years. When he is not in Promise Land working on generating ideas and raising money for the organization, he is making bread and fishing with his grandchildren. This means that he is good at putting bait on a hook, pulling bluegill off the line, and trying to get fishing gear out of trees.
Kali Lawrence, Executive Administrator
Kali has been involved with the Springfield Promise Neighborhood since its inception in 2010 as a volunteer, summer employee, AmeriCorps VISTA member, and Administrator. Kali is focused on the daily operations and logistics of the Promise Neighborhood, including supporting and equipping VISTA members to be successful, as well as documenting Promise’s successes through visual and written publications.
Kali moved from northeast Ohio to graduate from Wittenberg University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Music Education. In addition to Promise, she serves as the conductor of the Northmister Presbyterian Handbell Choir, and participates in a local citizen’s group People for Safe Water.
Marilyn Gadd, Director, LPCLC
Marilyn’s background includes Director of Public Relations for Wilberforce University, the first Historically Black College University in the United States. She was hired in the Summer of 2013 as the Annual Fund Manager, where she was responsible for raising funds and planning events for the University. Within her first year she was promoted to the Director of Public Relations and worked for the Office of the President. She was also part of the new Administration Cabinet team for the University. Marilyn was responsible for re-branding the University’s Social Media and building the University’s presence within the community through communications in the press.
Before she joined Higher Education, she was a Site Coordinator and Coach Mentor for the YMCA of Greater Dayton. Prior to joining the YMCA, Marilyn was an Art Teacher and Social Studies Coordinator at The Dayton Academy School, where she created an annual Gallery of Art Show for her students and the community to participate in. Her other professional work includes Girl Scouts of Buckeye Trails as a Teen Specialist and Grant writer, where she was involved in fundraising, community relations, creation and management of programming for the scouts and volunteers.
Her multi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led to number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. Marilyn received her Bachelor of Science in Communications Theatre Arts at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana.
She is a native of Bethel, and has lived in Trotwood, Ohio since 2007. Marilyn is the wife of Larry O. Gadd Jr and a proud mother of two boys, Justin and Jason.
Monica Lasiter, Neighborhood Liason
Monica is a resident of the Promise Neighborhood and parent of Lincoln and Springfield High School students. She served as the Community and Family Engagement VISTA for three years prior to becoming the Neighborhood Liaison. She works to engage parents and residents to become involved in school activities. She likes to garden and is a backyard gardener in the Promise Grows network, and also participates in neighborhood safety activities. She organizes events like peace marches where residents show their desire to make Springfield a safer place to live and raise a family.
P.O. Box 145
Springfield, Ohio 4550