Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Realizing Goal 3

Posted by frankieblackburn on March 2, 2009

At IMPACT, we often refer to our “goal three” and wistfully talk about how hard it is to achieve.  Goal three – in simple terms – is the process of bringing people together who hold different degrees of positional power and helping them share their personal power to achieve positive change around areas of common concern. One dream of ours is to bring together landlords and tenants – who have dramatically different degrees of positional power – to work to build better apartment communities. We are making progress on this front, but have a long way to go.

BUT, this past weekend – without even full awareness or complete prior design – we made huge progress in bringing together professional social workers and social service “clients” to work as peers who very much need each other as they try to open innovative neighborhood-based emergency service centers in neighborhoods.  With the simple, but careful, use of storytelling, I observed new bridges of understanding and trust being built before my very own eyes – between people who might be working towards the same end but are coming from very different orientations and perspectives, and certainly coming together across extreme diversity.

We have a long ways to go before I feel like we’ve made substantial progress towards our “goal three” in this arena, but I have certainly learned a lot about being ready to take the tools of community building on the road and using them in “moments ripe for change,”  which often present themselves when you least expect them.

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