Meet your neighbors: 7 questions with neighborhood leader Kody Tinnel

How well do you know your neighbors? We're taking some time to get to know Fort Wayne residents giving back to their community.

Here are 7 questions with Kody Tinnel.

  1. Tell us about your volunteer work in Fort Wayne’s community.
KT: I currently serve as the President of the Historic Foster Park Neighborhood Association, President of the Packard Area Planning Alliance (a coalition of 18 neighborhoods in South Central Fort Wayne), and am a member of the Southwest Area Partnership (SWAP), among a few others.
  1. How did you come to be in these roles?
KT: Most of my current volunteer roles focus on neighborhood and community development at the grassroots level. In 2017, I was asked to join the Foster Park Neighborhood Board of Directors. I agreed, and assumed the role of president. Things scaled up quickly from that point, and now, I find myself working with a variety of other community organizations and leaders, especially in South Central Fort Wayne. 

  1. What inspired you to step up for your community?
KT: Toward the end of high school I became increasingly interested in government, politics, and public service. I studied public affairs in college and dove deep into the world of student government. I loved the opportunity to make things better for the people and community around me. Since then, I continued to find ways to give back to the community through volunteerism and service on nonprofit and public boards and commissions. I think it is important that we each enrich the world around us however we can.  
  1. What’s your favorite time-management strategy?
KT: I rely on my Google calendar pretty heavily. I also write out a daily list and keep a half dozen other running lists for longer-term priorities. For the past couple years, I have also been making an annual list of goals to help keep me focused. 

  1. What’s the greatest struggle your community is facing, and what do you need to overcome it?
KT: I think the greatest struggle is a general anxiety about the future. Even before the pandemic (which certainly hasn’t helped), issues like the growing wealth gap, climate change, racial inequity, and political extremism were enough to put people on edge. The scope of the challenges can be daunting. 

For me, overcoming that anxiety involves engaging with the local community and finding ways to make incremental advancements toward the bigger goals. I may not be able to solve all the world’s problems, but I can certainly make life better in my community a few steps at a time. The little victories are important and show us that progress is achievable. 

  1. What advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved, but doesn't know where to start?
KT: There are so many ways to get involved, but I suggest first focusing on your natural passions and strengths. Ask yourself what change you want to see and how you can most effectively help make it happen. Chances are, there is someone or some organization that could benefit from your time and talent. 

Specific ways to get started include attending public meetings, participating in volunteer events, joining a service organization, or reading the local paper to stay informed of what’s happening in the community. You can also contact community leaders or organizations directly to ask how you can help. They will be eager to take your call. 
  1. Finding time to unwind is important, too. In a post-pandemic world, what local eatery are you looking forward to fully enjoying again, and why?
KT: I am most looking forward to enjoying a meal on the patio at The 07 Pub. Great food, nice atmosphere, awesome staff, and it is just a short walk from my home.
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