Friday, June 17, 2011

New Community Ideas: Day One

Participants in the first New Community Ideas session
We're here at the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) Biennial in Chicago, fresh from the first morning of our 2 day session on New Community Ideas. Prior to this, we sent out a call for ideas on this blog among other places, and we're glad to report that we received over two dozen exciting new ideas in various levels of development. Today, a group of over 20 of us gathered over breakfast (thanks for coming out early, guys!) to examine these ideas, generate new ideas, and decide next steps for moving forward. We collectively decided to focus on 1-2 main ideas at our next session on Saturday morning (meeting info below). The ideas with the most group support were (1) Create a Neighborhood Skills Exchange, and (2) Develop a "mythbusting" youtube video series focused on busting common myths about people who are marginalized such as persons with mental illness.

Following are my unedited notes from the series. Please feel free to offer your comments below, and if you're in Chicago, come by and offer your comments in person!

New Community Ideas: Day One

Voice your ideas or adopt an idea. Our ideas are assets – ways to change communities for the better.

Next session: Saturday 10:15 Harold Washington multi-purpose room.

1) Urban reformation – through murals, etc.
2) Collecting stories that are myth-busting about persons that are marginalized
3) Sparking community dialogue – big questions on paper and date/time for talking
4) Find your elected representatives – email address, and introduce yourself as a community psychologist interested in social justice
5) Hold online community training – for credit, ongoing professional development
6) Social emotional and character development in schools
7) Intellectual property rights – formal collaborative in which ideas are “licensed” and shared freely
8) Community and university funder alliance for community well-being
9) Social and professional supports in rural areas
10) Creating healthy communities – creative play “the community that plays together stays together)
11) Neighborhood skills exchange
12) Mini-brainstorming sessions in community meetings
13) Peace commission – see how small towns can address global peace
14) Publishing community victories – e.g. family counseling program has two families complete counseling before getting married
15) Engaging marginalized youth – ask them what they see as issues
16) Creating own social media site to discuss lives
17) Revitalizing rites of passage – for positive youth development
18) Social media to engage young men of color – to partner with other concerned men (and women) to address manpower needs in US communities
19) Creative and installation activism piece
20) Trash tree – hang trash from trees to discourage littering
21) Nursing home spouse support – mutual self help support
22) Adopt a homeless student – through high school graduation
23) Photovoice – public celebration of community strengths/problems
24) PSA Bulletin boards – local orgs sponsor bulletin boards
25) DS Central kitchen – help people in poverty

Examples (from Bill): young kids paired with elderly nursing home through video game (Wii); dog poop to power electric lamps; neighborhood sleepovers

New Ideas:

1)   Having a 3-day workshop for youth – express social justice and well being through the arts
2)   Working with local groups to raise money and package food and send to places where there is food insecurity – raises awareness as well, and making opportunities
3)   State and local level – bring together nonprofits, churches, service providers, etc. and look at overarching prevention goals – coordinating prevention efforts
4)   Youth as community action researchers - Translating research into community settings – transfer research skills to  young people in the community – explore questions they’re looking at, also involve finding a space for them to share ideas

Thoughts on Ideas:  
Revitalize rites for youth – this is an important historical idea, a way to help youth become effective adults in our community. Many manifestations in the community.

Looking for an idea – come into a new community for grad school, how do you contribute to the community, you know you’re going to be there for a limited time, you may feel like you belong to another community, etc. How does program enhance being individual good citizens?

Neighborhood skills exchange – to have some kind of listserv or website where people can change their skills, this is a potential solution to the problem for grad students. Building reciprocity. Locating assets in community.

Building on youth as community actors – graffiti mural with strengths about the community – can add over time – living “document” – widely accessible – kind of like Photovoice

Mythbusters – a great Youtube viral video – like mythbusters the show – mythbusting mental illness stigma, etc.

Like visioning idea of a show - “community makeover”

Leverett peace commission – what can a local community do? How could we model something – communities are interested even though they haven’t done anything – open for ideas

Contacting your local legislator – easy – anyone can do – know for sure who your legislator is

Online training – core competency
-there is a new online course presence – open education

Trash tree – activism – changing the way people think about things – to stop littering, hung litter from a tree – see it on the Community Psychology Practice blog

Are we doing this as a group or implementing in our own communities?
A: After we prioritize we’ll figure it out.


Neighborhood Skills Exchange


Both can be taken back to own community

One caveat about neighborhood skills exchange – meet the people in the community, make sure you’re not harming businesses, engaging people who are

Combining ideas? Maybe, but not necessarily

Think about the how-to by tomorrow.

We’ll revisit on Saturday, but we will start off perhaps focusing on two ideas. Maybe two groups cluster and we can start running.

SCRA mini-grant, rolling deadline .

Think about ideas for different scopes – thesis, practicum, service-learning class.


Bill Berkowitz
Gina Cardazone
Victoria Chen
Dyana Valentine
and Tom Wolff

Co-leaders for the New Community Ideas sessions

1 comment:

  1. terrific summary--I look forward to hearing more ideas and implementation stories here in the comments:)