Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Why should you be paying attention to the Campaign?

Posted by frankieblackburn on February 16, 2010

Several weeks ago, some of the IMPACT and HHS team got together over a glass of wine and tapas to talk through the inevitable challenges that arise when birthing a new paradigm of any type. In our case, we are forging new territory in the context of emergency services for real families in crisis – families many of us have come to know as co-leaders and true blue neighbors. These challenges include the process of trying to blend two very distinct different cultures (institutional and community), struggling to achieve quality in a local government system burdened by years of regulatory layers and the sheer weight of building a plane while flying it at the same time.

As I watched this group of five brave women navigate through a very rocky path of constraints and dynamics, I developed a keen sense that I was observing history in the making. I suspect this scene will never be captured in a history book, but i do know – based on 25 years of active involvement in community development –  that this type of gathering, level of disclosure and creative problem solving rarely happens. I helped birth and build IMPACT based on the vision that we could spark many rooms like this – rooms where people build genuine trust across deep sector and class and culture divides, rooms in which they can bring their very best gifts and talents to a common table, a table that leads to an abundance of practical solutions where everyone can claim some level of victory or accomplishment. It is perhaps the most rewarding moment of my career to see this co-creation process emerge in the midst of pain and crisis.

For those of you curious about what I might think is the single most important ingredient or two in this process – my answer to you is very simple. I believe the reason we are making significant, dramatic progress with the Neighbors Campaign is that the key partners and players are committed to a long term process and are willing to reveal their vulnerability as the process unfolds, which then creates the opening for an unique sharing of personal and positional power.

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