NeighborWorks: Advocating for Change in Your Community

My sec­ond work­shop, Advo­cat­ing for Change in Your Com­mu­ni­ty, focused on its title. I chose to take this work­shop because Tremon[s]ters are stub­born even for Cleve­land and when two peo­ple have oppos­ing view­points on a neigh­bor­hood issue it is often hard to medi­ate or even gain some­thing that has the appear­ance of con­sen­sus. Effec­tive change-advo­ca­cy is there­fore and essen­tial part of com­mu­ni­ty build­ing. My bul­lets from this ses­sion:

• The #1 prob­lem world­wide that groups think they have is gain­ing more res­i­dent involve­ment. We learned that this phrase is far too ill-defined to pro­vide much mean­ing. Often a core groups of res­i­dents are the change agents in a com­mu­ni­ty, so num­bers don’t equal greater involve­ment or effect advo­ca­cy.
• Involve­ment should con­struct and imple­ment shared vision and works as a two way street. Com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers shouldn’t mere­ly try to get res­i­dents to come to them, but should seek out the res­i­dents and talk to them on their own terms about their own issues.
• Explor­ing your neigh­bor­hood and inform­ing your neigh­bors and even oth­ers out­side of the ‘hood of the pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive aspects of your com­mu­ni­ty can slow­ly build net­works that will devel­op organ­i­cal­ly, over time, into pow­er­ful change agents.
• Meet­ings should be struct­ed to attract peo­ple, and ill-orga­nized meet­ings and meet­ings but not doings are the quick­est way to lose change advo­ca­cy and res­i­dent involve­ment.
• Desem­i­nate infor­ma­tion! Share! Be your own mar­keter for the neigh­bor­hood; keep­ing infor­ma­tion to your­self harms the com­mu­ni­ty.

A lot of these things are com­mon sense, but how often are they prac­ticed or remem­bered?

I also learned about zillow.com which can let you find out all kinds of infor­ma­tion on hous­ing prices and hous­ing types in your neigh­bor­hood.

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