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Guest Blog Post: Aizat Oladapo on Door Knocking

Posted by chriswilhelm on March 23, 2012

On Wednesday March 21, I went door knocking with the IMPACT Silver Spring Long Branch Team in capacity of Contract Monitor for Montgomery County DHHS and eager to know what the hype was all about. It truly humbled me and got me thinking of some of the prejudgments folks make about residents living in the Silver Spring area of Long Branch.

We got to knock on 12 doors and spoke with four residents, leaving fliers for those we missed. They were all polite and willing to share their information with us.  This got me thinking who else have they shared this information with to no avail; with this exercise there was follow up for those who needed it.

They were from diverse backgrounds, Hispanic Haitian and African American; they liked basketball, electronics, music, art, one was in between jobs, another was just back from work, one was a mother waiting for her kids to return from school and the other was a baby sitter who was isolated by language; we found out that very few knew of TESS Center a block away and were willing to make an effort to attend the Neighbor’s exchange to learn about the resources in the area and the IMPACT program.

One gentleman who had some housing challenges said, ‘I had been praying this morning and now you are here.’

 As Contract monitor door knocking experience shows the need to look at different ways of reporting outcome measures for what agencies like IMPACT do.  Submission of qualitative narrative reporting, pictures, success stories are necessary to be able to justify the outcomes of such programs.

Personally it was an eye opener for me seeing first hand a different kind of engagement  where the agency goes to the people first as opposed to the people coming to the agency. It shows how personal yet social door knocking can be in an attempt to building a community from the inside out.

Aizat Oladapo

Program Manager, Community Action Agency

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