Empowerment of individuals and community is the core of our work. The Block CAPtains program was created to cultivate and inspire grassroots neighborhood leadership in Lancaster’s low-income neighborhoods as a means to address poverty and create change from within these very communities.
Block CAPtains are local leaders hired and trained by CAP to promote engagement and positive change in their neighborhoods. These leaders seek to empower neighbors to take action on community issues that are important to them, like crime, neighborhood cleanliness, and even unfair housing conditions. Block CAPtains work to connect community members with the resources necessary to solve neighborhood issues and ultimately, build stronger community by neighbors and for neighbors.
CAP’s Block CAPtains have engaged in various trainings and skill-building sessions, including community organizing workshops with Strong City Baltimore, organizing training with the Lancaster City Alliance, ‘Building Blocks’ neighborhood leadership workshop with the City of Lancaster, and an information session about fair housing and tenant rights with the Lancaster Housing Opportunity partnership, among other networking opportunities. Personal and professional development of the Block Captains is instrumental in the community empowerment process and is ongoing.
Currently, CAP employs Vasthi Beltre on Beaver Street in Lancaster’s Southwest quadrant. Vasthi is working with neighbors to turn a vacant lot into a community park.
“I love every aspect of being a block captain! This is my passion: to build relations with the community and ask them, ‘What do you want?’ and then take action!” – Vasthi