Class offers insights into the city

Published 12:09 am Saturday, September 19, 2009

From new residents who want to learn more about Suffolk to old-timers who want to find out how to be more involved, Suffolk Neighborhood College is the place to do it.

The program is offered free to the public every year, but has been scaled down this year to fit the information into an eight-hour day, instead of holding classes once a week for eight weeks.

“The purpose is to give people an overview of the services provided to them by their local government,” said Diana Klink, media and community relations manager. “It also is to promote civic engagement and to enlighten the citizens about the functions of their local government in a fun and informative setting.”

This year’s Suffolk Neighborhood College will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 24 in city council chambers. The registration deadline is Oct. 16, but early registration is encouraged, because the class size is limited.

The class will include presentations from several city departments, including tourism, economic development, fire, police and Suffolk Public Schools. City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn will be on hand to talk about the council/manager form of government, and a special ceremony will be held at the end of the class to present certificates and give participants a chance to meet some of the city’s elected officials.

Additional topics will include services offered to citizens; why economic development is important; fundamentals of neighborhood leadership; code enforcement; how to access neighborhood municipal services; and how to partner with public safety officials to improve quality of life.

The importance of civic engagement will be stressed throughout the class, said Klink, who is a graduate of the class.

“It’s really interesting. I’ve resided in the city for 20 years, and now working for the city, it’s amazing how much information you can get from events like these.”

To register or get more information about the class, call 514-4104 or 514-4102, or e-mail dklink@city.suffolk.va.us.