Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dom's September Wanderings

On my mind --

I've spent some time recently surfing the websites highlighted in this issue and I'm so pleased to have found a new community of people whose research and thinking supports the NY Center's mission of strengthening relationships, building community.

While I came away from my surfing with several ideas about next steps, I have to admit some pride in the fact that we're doing many things every day that build social capital.

Volunteers provide most of our mediation services.

Our youth program staff have been investing increasing energy in engaging parents, from regular phone calls to career help, like the medical billing course, for unemployed parents.

The Mosaic Coalition not only sponsors the annual Celebrate Diversity! Event; it offers an opportunity each month to break bread and share information and concerns with representatives from a number of the ethnic, religious, and cultural organizations on the Island.

And, we work hard to engage the young people in our programs in community service learning. We want them to develop habits of civic engagement and experience their ability to positively impact their neighborhood and the larger community.

Whether it's against the war in Iraq, the injustice in Jena, a new housing development, or a half-way house that wants to locate near us, so much of what motivates people to get involved these days is negative. We try to balance that with positive formal and informal opportunities to build relationships.

We invite our community to celebrate holidays, graduations, and award ceremonies with us. We build sharing food into every event. We hone our skills at facilitating dialogue to build bridges. And we love good old fashioned fun like games and talent shows.

Of course we can do more and we can do better.

There's so much to do that I've become increasingly cognizant of the importance of shaping each activity to gain maximum impact. We have to leverage every resource to meet many needs. I'm looking forward to exploring the Saguaro Seminar program evaluation tool. I hope this tool will be useful in that process.

I'm also looking forward to the results of our first poll. I hope you'll participate Watch for the results next month.

Enjoy these lovely fall days.

-- Dominick

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