One of the huge benefits of adopting “community building” as a hobby is that from time to time, you get to volunteer to work with real organizers. Early this year, I started to help the Council of Acorn Residents on a project they hoped would bring leaders and orgs in West Oakland more closely together. Dubbed “Solutions Salons”, the idea was to get community leaders together – with food, drink, music, and conversation – and hope something good would come of that. Like the salons of the Enlightenment, but without the hoopskirts. Initial results have been encouraging (see Oakland Local article reprinted with permission below).
The residents wanted to document the process we’re going through, so if you’d want to try it in your own neighborhood, you’d have a model you can use and improve upon. We created a project on LikeMinded called (very modestly) “Bringing Community Leaders Together – A Step-by-Step Guide“. It includes a timeline, and sample invitations, evaluations, surveys, and other docs that can give you a head start. This process has just begun, and we welcome your ideas on how to move it forward.
If you haven’t heard of LikeMinded, it’s the new platform Craigslist Foundation and the Knight Foundation launched last month, where people can share stories about what’s working to help improve communities. You can read more press reports about it here.
We’ll get into this in more detail during our “Someone’s Done That Already: the Best Practice of Using Best Practices” session of the June 2 Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp on Empowering Communities at UCSF.
Residents, community organizations and business owners gathered at the Acorn Town Center and Courtyards late last week to discuss better ways of networking and communicating as part of the Solutions Salon for West Oakland Leaders.
The event was sponsored by the Council of Acorn Residents and was the second meeting held to specifically look at new ways West Oaklanders can come together. Organizers said they wanted participants to have an opportunity to brainstorm ideas about events or projects that can foster stronger ties in the community (photos).
BRIDGE Housing and The John Stewart Company also co-sponsored the salon, which featured a wide array of West Oakland groups. Participants at the meeting included members of The Crucible, People’s Grocery and the Alameda County Youth Development office. Educators also were at the gathering including the head of the soon to open charter school, Vincent Academy.
Many organization representatives and business owners said one of the biggest challenges (more…)