As we enter "back to school" mode for another year, SLACO would welcome student volunteers and practicum students who want some real-world practical experience in any of these fields:
Recent graduates who would like to do a project to add to their work experience are most welcome also. The photos below symbolize the two aspects of SLACO's work: metropolitan-wide training of neighborhood associations to do their best work and place-based work in the West End neighborhood.
Below the photos, we give more information about SLACO and other learning opportunities for high school and college students.
St. Louis Association of Community Organizations
More About Us: SLACO (St. Louis Association of Community Organizations) is a 36-year-old organization serving the neighborhoods of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Our members are neighborhood associations, and we act in coalition to produce high quality educational and networking events focused on the particular challenges and opportunities within St. Louis neighborhoods. We are in an exhilarating resurgent mode after a lull during the recession. Recently, membership has climbed from six neighborhood associations to 25 neighborhoods.
Our signature event is an annual regional neighborhood conference, which has been held in late fall for the past few years. Attendance at the 2014 conference climbed 63 percent, totaling more than 250. Throughout the year, we sponsor open forums when a topic is of interest to many neighborhoods, and we also hold members-only neighborhood roundtables that feature a resource person or brainstorming sessions around problems facing the members. Helping to plan and execute these events would give students important insights into neighborhood dynamics, experience in event organizing, and a rich network of acquaintances among employers and useful contacts.
We recently completed our strategic plan for the next three years, which calls for the selection of one major issue for joint advocacy. Students and young professionals can contribute to our organization’s after-school program, adult programs, such as a job hunters club or by helping us increase our social media presence. SLACO also needs support in the areas of fund raising, grant writing, neighborhood organizing, and issue research. In addition we have membership drives for several supporter groups: Individual Supporters, Business Supporters, Nonprofit Supporters, and Congregational Supporters. Another challenge that students might enjoy is building the resources section of this website into a more robust resource for St. Louis neighborhoods.
St. Louis neighborhoods are not lacking in material. What is missing is staff time to exploit these opportunities to help our region grow together. Lastly, SLACO works regularly with both adults and children in the West End neighborhood. Students could invent and run new programs.
Our philosophy is based on allowing students and volunteers to tailor their own experience at SLACO, based on the broad programmatic interests outlined above. Our venue is particularly suited to students of urban planning, social work, and political science. We encourage students, young professionals, and retirees at every level of expertise to apply for consideration by sending a description of skills, interests, and learning goals to Executive Director Kevin McKinney through the Contact Us form. We can tailor an opportunity to fit the interests of most people who are willing to work over a period of at least a month. All of these experiences will be unpaid, as far as we can foresee. Those who seek this experience must be available at least some time during the week during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. Levels of responsibility and autonomy will based on the qualifications of the volunteer.