Earlier this year, SPAR Council was awarded a grant to employ additional staff through the Americorps program. We're pleased to introduce Kevin O' Halloran as that new staff member, our Community Engagement Coordinator.
Click the link below to learn more about Kevin and what he'll be involved with in our community. Say "hello" if you see him around!
Hi Kevin. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am originally from Orlando but grew up primarily in Lakeland, FL. I moved to Jacksonville in 2012 to attend University of North Florida (UNF) and recently graduated with a bachelors degree in International Relations and minors in both urban studies and political science. For the past two years I have worked at the UNF Environmental Center as their Student Sustainability Coordinator, so I also have a pretty extensive environmental background and how it relates to urban communities.
What made you interested in AmeriCorps and SPAR?
Though my degree is in International Relations, my plan has always been to pursue a career in urban revitalization and eventually meld the two fields. I plan to attend graduate school in a related field in the future, however, I wanted to spend at least a year gaining experience while also helping Jacksonville realize it's enormous potential. When I saw the opportunity to work for SPAR and Americorps, I instantly applied. It seemed like a perfect fit for what I wanted to do!
What are some of the things you'll be involved with?
My title is Community Engagement Coordinator and my primary focus will be to work with volunteers on community events and projects, but I will be involved in other aspects of the organization, as well. I also plan to spearhead a few new projects of my own to activate our urban fabric. It's important to bring everyone to the table when we talk about the future growth of our neighborhood, and I hope to aid that effort.
What do you enjoy or like about the neighborhood?
I love a lot of things about the Springfield Historic District! But I'll narrow it down to three main things: Community, character and diversity. First and foremost, it has to be the welcoming nature of the community. I moved into a hundred year old house near 2nd and Hubbard only three months ago, yet I have met more friendly neighbors here than I ever have anywhere else I've lived. Second, the historic nature of the neighborhood makes this a special place in Jacksonville. It is the oldest area of the city which has largely remained intact, and character like that can't just be recreated or duplicated. But character also comes from the people, and the diversity of the area is in many ways what makes this community so special. We have every race, ideology and socioeconomic status represented in such a small neighborhood. I embrace the beauty of that.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our community?
I think Springfield has potential to be a premier urban neighborhood of Jacksonville, and getting more people engaged and involved is key to making that happen. I hope to be a conduit for people who want to contribute and will make time to listen to all voices in the neighborhood. When you see me around, please say hello!