Karen Zimmer has been essential to the development of the Linking Neighbors program, which provides technical assistance to community residents’ neighborhood revitalization plans. The goal of this project is to increase the capacity of low-income people to participate in community-based planning through training in social and demographic data resources.
Shortly after arriving in Sacramento, Zimmer gained a solid understanding of her project and became familiar with the Greater Sacramento area and each of the project's targeted communities. She developed an ambitious work plan for her project year and acquired training skills, performed day-to-day coordination with community members, and completed project evaluation and reporting.
Zimmer has been active in four targeted communities. She attends community meetings and events and works with residents and community leaders. She is recognized and well known by the residents of these communities. To date, she has trained almost 75 community residents to use social indicator and asset data for community planning and advocacy. The workshop series includes: Identifying and Mapping, Finding and Collecting Information, Making Sense of Information, Setting Goals, Putting the Plan Together and Refining the Plan.
Zimmer was quick to fill in for an absent VISTA member, picking up the training load so that no community was neglected. For more than four months she juggled double-duty and double the responsibilities. Although she faces tough community challenges, she always shows exceptional initiative in all of her endeavors and freely shares her experience and knowledge with others to aid in the revitalization of her community.