For more than five years, scores of dedicated volunteers have been working to improve the living and working conditions in our region through Transform Rockford, a movement dedicated to turning Rockford in to a top-25 place to live by 2025. Here’s a look at one of the people powering the movement.

Name: Keri Nelson

Age: 41

Occupation/profession: Executive director, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity

TR project team name: Project Support Team

Project update: I’ve been helping with the Project Support Team, a new team brought together to assist our project teams in evaluating what’s going well, what they need help with and then help them reduce barriers and ensure forward movement. It’s been a really exciting process — reviewing the assessment data, establishing our role and then meeting with teams who requested assistance. It allows us to be a part of all of the projects in some small way — encouraging our rock star teams to keep going, talking through roadblocks with teams that are struggling and then coming up with an action plan that’s sustainable. I’ve loved getting to hear about all the different projects, meeting the incredible people doing the work of our community, and working alongside some really passionate team members who help me see things for many different perspectives. As a member of the affordable housing community in Rockford, I’m thrilled to see all the other projects that are helping in some way make our neighborhoods stronger and more stable.

Favorite thing about Rockford: The people. I’ve had a chance to work with so many incredible people in my position at Habitat — homeowners, volunteers, board members, clergy, community leaders and activists, government officials. And every person I’ve interacted with brings something unique and meaningful to our work and to our community. Our homeowners are some of the best people I’ve ever encountered. They are determined to make a better life for themselves and their family, they work hard to go through our program and at the same time, they’re showing their kids that dreams really do come true.

Recent signs of progress: Great Neighborhoods is doing such critical work in our community, mapping the assets of our neighborhoods with the residents themselves and uncovering the incredible benefits of living and working in our great community.

In 2025, I hope: Every resident of this great city sees the vision of Transform Rockford as a reality, because that’s what it is.

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