Who We Are: Over the past few years, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabiliites (GCDD) has supported Basmat Ahmed to explore the development of community projects in Clarkston, GA that are consistent with the Real Communities’ Four Commitments. Ahmed held the role of the Community Builder for The Clarkston International Garden at 40 Oaks Nature Preserve, a partnership with the Global Growers Network that supported the development of a Community Garden in the City of Clarkston. Currently, Basmat works with the Al-Tamyoz Community Building Group to build deeper relationships and finds ways to leverage these relationships to make change in Clarkston.
What we Do: The Clarkston Relationship-Building Group began their work by planning regular leaning conversations of their day-to-day responsibilities and built the relationships necessary to do effective community building work. The group regularly hosts a Community Relationship Lunch every other month where community leaders and members connect and discover partnerships and opportunities. This group also successfully co-organized the second annual Black History Month in the City of Clarkston, which was a result of a relationship founded among different organizations. Combined, they hosted this event, as well as supported and sponsored the 2015 Georgia World Refugee Day, organized by Refugees.
In 2016, they created new programs that provided equal opportunities for people with and without disabilities such as a monthly radio show that engaged community members, announced events and services, invited local guest speakers and broke cultural barriers in the City of Clarkston. They are also implementing a mini grant program, which was purposely designed to be a direct opportunity for all, and, specifically, to fund programs and projects within the Clarkston community.
Throughout her organizing work, Ahmed has actively sought to engage people within the disability community. As of now, there are four more adult and six more youth Community Builders with and without disabilities, who are implementing different projects within Clarkston. The adult and youth Community Builders have been focusing on building relationships through the Community Learning and Connecting Conversation program that involves meeting with individuals, organizations, groups and others to discover people’s gifts and goals for the future.
In addition, the youth Community Builders have taken more leadership roles, as they formed the Clarkston Youth Assembly, the first Clarkston event to be entirely organized by youth. Thirty youth attended and made action plans to develop the community. The Community Builders are also working inclusively to develop community engagement in partnership with different local entities and local organizations.
Clarkston International Garden (Global Growers)
In the News: The Clarkston International Garden was featured in an article by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Click here to read the article now.