Claire Hamilton is a Healthy Neighborhoods Manager at Cornerstone West CDC/West Side Grows Together, well as this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE! Read her story below:
“I grew up in rural Iowa in a town of 400 people. After high school, I went to Luther College to study Environmental Studies and French, where I discovered a passion for connecting people to and through the environment. This led me to explore conservation and research work throughout the Midwest. Post college, I was matched with Cornerstone West CDC/West Side Grows Together as a Lutheran Volunteer Corps member, where I merged my passion for people and nature in an urban setting.
I moved to Wilmington after college as a Lutheran Volunteer Corps member. Two years ago, I was placed at West Side Grows and work with community groups around parks, gardens, local food, and open streets on the West Side. Each day, I work amongst a strong team of dedicated people, who are passionate about improving the West Side of Wilmington.
I continue to live and work in Wilmington because of the people. The community I have the opportunity to serve each day inspires me to continue doing the work. Community leaders and residents have committed years to advocating for their community and making it a better place for all. I feel honored to work beside them.
After two years of work on the West Side, the Friends of Cool Spring and Tilton Park were able to leverage over $1.6 million dollars into their neighborhood parks. I am proud to be a small part of the movement and seeing their vision come to life.
Everyone laughs when I say Wilmington is a “city” at 70,000 people, but to someone who has only lived in a city smaller than 8,000 prior, it is GIGANTIC! Despite being a little intimidated by the grandeur of city living, Wilmington has become home.
I like to start my weekend in Wilmington off with a margarita and steak fajita from Jalapeño Grill on Lancaster Ave. Then I mosey over to Tales and Ales brought you by Sarah Lester, for a fun night of stories and community.
Dino’s is the spot to be. It is where I want to be after a really good or bad day! One gelato makes a great day even sweeter and can restore hope after a frustrating day in community development (which are rare, but do exist). There is nothing better than ordering a coconut gelato from Dino and his team.
In the next 5-10 years, I would like to see Wilmington invest in disinvested neighborhoods and lifting up more local leaders and the community’s vision of change.
Wilmington has a lot to offer if you know where to look. Explore different neighborhoods across the City. Each neighborhood has its own gems and if you stay in one place you miss out!”