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Natural Helpers Learning Collaborative (NHLC): Phase 2

Who We Are

The Natural Helpers Learning Collaborative (NHLC) is an independent group of proactive Rochester and Monroe County residents committed to strengthening how their neighborhoods and blocks promote mental wellness and reduce violence. The NHLC fosters these goals through cooperative discussion, education, and outreach across neighborhoods and blocks.

Natural helpers are individuals who other residents turn to for help, for instance, when they see conflicts brewing or to help connect to formal systems on behalf of neighborhood issues like street beautification.

What We Do

The NHLC meets monthly to discuss and explore key topics, and to present neighborhood-based activities being led by participants, as suggested by members of the learning collaborative. These meetings are usually facilitated by invited discussants and led by group members. Examples of topics include building rapport with youth and young families, addressing youth conflict, and neighborhood beautification. Meetings typically last two hours and are hosted by members at various locations throughout Rochester.

The NHLC welcomes any individuals interested in the group’s purpose and mission to attend the meetings. Nine meetings have been planned from September 2010 through June 2011.


In 2009-2010, together with the University of Rochester Medical Center, Monroe County ACCESS, and Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency’s Mental Health Promotion Task Force, and supported by a grant from NIMH (White, PI), volunteers helped design and initiate a learning collaborative to strengthen their informal roles reducing the normalization of violence and strengthening mental wellness among families on their street. This phase was completed in 2010, and the group decided to continue with member and community support through 2011.

For More Information

If you are interested or have any questions, feel free to contact:

Melanie Funchess (585) 325-3145

Ann Marie White, Ed.D. (585) 275-3571

Rachel Carson