I spent most of my formative years in rural Trumbull County, but my parents are from Youngstown. I have lived on the East side of Youngstown and now Campbell. In fact, I live one minute from the former YS & T Company homes. I have a M.A. in History with concentration in Museum Studies. I have a B.A. in History focusing on Historic Preservation. While I do not currently work in my field, I volunteer many hours to Iron Soup as both Board Secretary and a volunteer fundraiser coordinator. I have two positions and a fledgling business to attend to, as well as a husband and home.
If I didn’t believe in what is possible in this neighborhood on both a professional and personal level, I wouldn’t be volunteering what little time I have left over to the work being done at Iron Soup Historical Preservation Company. I visit Iron Soup frequently at all hours, even at night. If there is drug activity, I haven’t witnessed it. It has also come to the point where people in the neighborhood wave and smile at me because they recognize me and what we are trying to do. It's important for residents to see "outsiders" who also believe in their neighborhood (even if I'm only little bit out of their area).
It’s true that the company homes were a vibrant part of Campbell in the past, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be now or in the future. These buildings were built to last and are an integral part of our history. Rehabbing these company homes is about so much more than providing homes. What we are doing at Iron Soup is innovative. We are taking an endangered national historical site and making it green and self-sustaining. We are making it beautiful and livable again. We will bring in heritage tourism by working with other organizations in the area. We will bring in small businesses. We will provide jobs.
For me personally, it’s about providing hope and believing in what this area can be once again. It’s about rebuilding that sense of community and pride that people showed in that neighborhood. Most importantly, it’s about celebrating and embracing our past while moving into the future. This is not my “hobby.”
Sincerely,April Caruso-Richards, M.A., Board Secretary, ISHPCa.firstname.lastname@example.org
July 29, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.