“Never forget where you come from” is an old phrase widely shared within my family, which has spent the last four generations living happily in Madisonville. This phrase simply means to stay humble and to appreciate the places and people who helped guide you. It has always served as a sort of mantra for me because Madisonville is not only unforgettable, it’s also influential on those who grow up there. In my youth, I attended diverse schools in Madisonville that encouraged students to find a sense of meaning in their work and to live a life of self-control to sustain a welcoming community. After school, I went to play hop scotch and jump rope with my friends on my street who taught me the meaning of zest and humor. Then, I went home to a working-class family that embodied perspective, perseverance and unyielding gratitude. I was a Madisonville kid and my Madisonville friends had similar stories. Madisonville’s unforgettable strengths have always been infectious and have the ability to ooze into every part of a residents’ life to make them stronger and more connected.
When I first learned that Strong Cincinnati was launching in Madisonville I was ecstatic, but not surprised. Madisonville is a community built on strengths and is truly one of a kind. It is a neighborhood that welcomes everyone and maintains its charm through any change. There are strong arguments to include all 24character strengths at the top of the list for Madisonville, but perhaps most prominently, Madisonville is a place of honesty. Honesty means being truthful, genuine or authentic. That vibe of authenticity is exactly what you feel when you spend time getting to know the neighbors and observing interactions in this community.
Madisonville cultivates neighbors who care passionately. Madisonville is full of active citizens who care about the health and growth of the neighborhood. Everyone has a story to share and an opinion to voice. This is critical for establishing healthy avenues of communication and building relationships in a developing neighborhood. Madisonville neighbors are not afraid of the honesty required for tough conversations, but instead embrace it. The Madisonville Youth Community Council, for instance, activates the unique strengths of Madisonville’s youth to create concrete solutions for heavy, local problems by leading donation drives, participating in neighborhood clean ups and engaging in community conversations that help connect the neighborhood across lines of difference.
Madisonville residents are genuine in their actions. Living in this neighborhood has taught me that actions speak louder than words. When people get together to start something new, they are demonstrating the power of community, and volunteerism is powerful in Madisonville. Movement and preservation are occurring because of driven, genuine people who aim to take small steps to accomplish great things. For example, much of the natural beauty restoration occurring in Madisonville is the result of collective neighborhood volunteer activism to beautify parks, greenspaces and trails.
Strong Cincinnati is creating fun and impactful ways to celebrate the strength of this community. We give residents tools to bring pieces of their vision for the neighborhood to life. Neighbors are sharing a common language rooted in strengths to facilitate relationship building and healing. Strengths are being activated every day! Yet, this is only the beginning. Madisonville is a place of honesty, but is also a place of perseverance, hope and bravery. The neighborhood is constantly using those strengths as it grows just like the dynamic people it houses. At its core, it will always be an authentic and charming neighborhood. It will always be Madisonville Strong.