In the summer of 2011, while Kelcy Siddall was a student in the MPPA program, he worked with Beyond Housing's 24:1 Initiative to help the 24 inner-ring St. Louis County suburbs that make up the Normandy School District engage their residents and strengthen their communities.

Beyond Housing has been in the business of helping low-income families achieve their long-term goals since 1975. Their mission is to strengthen neighborhoods, one family at a time. Beyond Housing achieves this by providing affordable housing and homeownership services; providing support services to families, children and seniors; being a catalyst for community-wide rebuilding efforts; empowering residents to be leaders of their own neighborhood revitalization efforts; and promoting individual and community asset building.

Siddall’s primary task was to conduct a business summit to engage 20 business leaders in the 24 communities to identify the opportunities and challenges that they encounter on a daily basis. He analyzed the responses from a question-and-answer session and suggested two programs: forming a chamber of commerce for the 24:1 communities and creating a pamphlet that can be mailed to the residents of the 24:1 communities that outline the businesses’ products and services. Siddall viewed his time working with the 24:1 Initiative as a great experience, commenting that, “It helped me to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it in a real life situation. Students should take their internship seriously and challenge themselves to learn as much as possible to make it a valuable experience”

Adapted from PPA enewsletter article published in Fall 2011