Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Why Tuesdays Together?

Posted by Neighborhood Opportunity Network on July 22, 2010

What is our role in our community?  For many of us, this may not be a question that we consider very often.  We go through our daily routines: going to work, going grocery shopping, taking kids to and from sports practice, trading off carpool days with other parents, attending PTA meetings.  Through these processes we make friends, discussing carpool dates, watching our children’s sporting events…  For many middle class neighbors, resources abound: other children’s parents to do the carpool one day, we have jobs, we have money to purchase groceries and pay the electric bills.  Thus, a resource discussion of how to access emergency food stamps at Tuesday’s Together is not necessarily relevant to us.  What is it like to sit in the mutual support circle, knowing that you have while others are so desparately in need?  Of course it is uncomfortable, often because we are considering the question: What is our responsibility in this situation?

This past week, we found that it was important to walk into the room at Tuesday’s Together with the awareness that we are all neighbors, that we have many things in common with the other attendees: being parents, having children who play sports, enjoying spending time with family at barbeques or at the pool on the weekends.  We also were able to succeed, making connections between those who want to learn English and those who want to learn Spanish, and people who are concerned with eviction in the Forest Glen community.

One of the questions that I have going forward is: why the IMPACT Tuesday’s Together format? What does it bring to the surface, who does it bring together, that is different from a PTA meeting? How can we translate what happens during the mutual support circle to a school-type setting? Why should we want to?

For me, some of the answers to these questions are easy: At Tuesday’s Together, not only do I make valuable connections with people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I get a chance to practice my Spanish. I have an opportunity to find someone to use their truck to help me move. I learn about places that are hiring. I have the chance to meet other parents, who I know I will take some time to chat with at the next PTA meeting.

The mutual support circle at IMPACT creates space for participants to speak honestly.  There is a facilitator, rather than a leader.  Many people get a chance to speak rather than one person leading a discussion.  This type of opportunity for neighbros and parents to have their voices heard would be valuable in a school-setting.  Parents would be better able to understand the experiences of other parents, and in this way, get to know one another’s children.  By sharing needs and resources, and tapping into one another’s networks, we are building stronger communities and neighborhoods.

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