For this week's vlog, I wanted to raise awareness about the Investing in Neighborhoods Now program and encourage people to submit their ideas to their designated area partnership. Watch it and read the description for resources to determine your partnership and how to contact them!
In the past few weeks, I have been reminded of why people need community: we can't do it alone.
While my work as a VISTA has been largely self-directed exploration, I have still had great coworkers and community members to bounce ideas off of and great experiences collaborating with others through experiences like serving on the Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. As one of my favorite songs reminds me: "We are better together" (Gungor, 2015). After all, this is one why NeighborLink does what it does: connecting people to build a strong community with collaboration and service across diverse people and experiences.
Collaboration makes things stronger, more beautiful, effective and faster in my experience. In fact, I have often found that when I let things go and allow others to contribute, they surpass my wildest expectations or what I would have been able to do on my own. This was exceptionally demonstrated to me by my experience on the media subcommittee for the Complete Count Committee. I knew we needed a website to share information about the Census, but was not sure how to construct it. I asked subcommittee members to help and Ye Winn Latt stepped forward and absolutely blew it out of the park (check it out here: http://fwcountsonme.com/). I asked for help and delegated tasks and people naturally gravitated towards where they could help the most. If I had assumed that no one wanted to help, then Fort Wayne would have been left with a poorly constructed and largely useless website.
I have also felt the benefits of collaboration in my work with the neighborhoods. Each neighbor has been in the neighborhood for a different length of time and has a different experience of living in the neighborhood. This week we approached Hoagland Masterson and Williams Woodland Park leadership with the Strategic Doing framework and some timelines for the projects. The elements of Strategic Doing that we most want to emphasize are continual progress and inclusive collaboration. A tenant of Strategic Doing is that everyone has some asset to bring forward; everyone can contribute something.
Helping people see their assets, talents and skills is beautiful, but it requires patience and giving people space to respond and act. That makes me learn self-restraint. As much as I want to jump in and do everything, it will burn me out AND it will shut out others who can do the work better than I ever could.
I am so excited about the research moving forward under a collaborative framework, if we can help people see their capabilities than even after the project concludes the neighborhood will be able to continue improving their circumstances.