|Strengthening Community Leadership|
|Wednesday, 01 December 2010 04:44|
What can happen if hundreds of people active in their local communities gather to build skills and plan future action? Participants of the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) hosted by NeighborWorks can tell you.
The CLI in Louisville, KY was the 20th of its kind. Attendees beefed up their community organizing skills in workshops and toured area neighborhoods for examples of positive community collaboration.
Eleven ONE DC members attended the CLI this past October 2010. Here’s what a few of them had to say about it.
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I was fortunate enough to participate in the Community Leadership Institute, where people from around the country met in Louisville, KY to get to know each other’s work, develop leadership skills, and begin planning projects to be funded by NeighborWorks.
For me the CLI was a great opportunity to connect with some of the ONE DC members I’d been working with as a member for nine months. Talking about the various parts of the conference over meals (and for some, dance floors) made it more meaningful.
Mr. J. Otis Smith, the opening and closing speaker, asked a question that underscored the importance of people involved in organizations like ONE DC getting to know each other. “Can we talk to each other about everything and not protect each other from the truth?” he asked.
Odd as it may sound, sometimes it seems scary to not spend all our time on “real work”—making decisions, planning actions, and teaching ourselves the skills we need to transform DC. As if the process of working together isn’t hard enough, Mr. Smith was asking us to prioritize our relationships to be sure we can communicate on the deep levels necessary for sustained change.
I was abuzz with ideas and energy after workshops on fundamentals of organizing and effective facilitation. But the most important conclusion I came back to DC with was that I want to develop stronger bonds with ONE DC members, and I want to see ONE DC prioritize relationship building as an essential element of our work.
When and how do we get to know each other well enough to communicate deeply and authentically? How have ONE DC members built relationships intentionally, and what more can we do to get to know each other better so we can have hard conversations when we need to?
I’m sitting with these questions and, especially because I’m a relatively new member, I’d love to hear your thoughts about them.
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Since joining as a member of OneDC, I've had the opportunity to meet and learn with many great minds in D.C. and across the nation. The 2010 Neighborworks Leadership Training in Louisville, Kentucky was an experience to remember.
The journey was amazing and inspiring. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to learn by the side of other OneDC members ready to make a change.
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My experience at the CLI Training in Louisville, KY., was very rewarding. The sessions I attended were Building Capacity as a Board Member, where Susan Naimark facilitated, and the Fundamentals of Community Organizing, facilitated by James Johnson. Both sessions were informative and engaging.
In Building Capacity as a board member, I learned some basic fundamentals of fund raising. The session focused on the Five Essentials of Fund Raising: the fund raising process, risk management, a board’s role in financial oversight, setting up and monitoring key financial indicators, and the rules of the boards fund raising responsibilities. These were very interesting to me as a board member for ONE DC because we are sharpening fund raising as a board. I plan to apply what I've learned to ONE DC's fund raising module.
From Fundamentals of Community Organizing, I have been applying what I learned to the tenants association of which I am the president. Before the training we were having trouble with resident participation. We only had two board members, a treasurer and president. When I got back I used the opportunity of our Halloween/anniversary party to recruit new board members and increase general membership. I did this by applying a few principles I learned at the training and choosing an issue that was compatible to our mission, vision and values.
I spearheaded a campaign to push management to have the computers in the Tenant Meeting Room made accessible to all. With only one out of three computers working, we were having a problem with upkeep. I got the signatures of about 80% of the residents for a petition to repair the computers. Management had all three computers working in two days! And I used the momentum to sign up 3 new members (with dues paid) and to fill 3 vacant board positions—vice president, secretary, and community liaison. WOO HOO!!!
All in all, my experience was very rewarding. I am looking forward to next year! Kudos to the CLI team!
|Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 02:13|