Saturday, May 8, 2010

Changing a Community

Since February, I have been in conversation with a committee of individuals who represent various groups within the Youngstown area community. These individuals include several of the members of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County's Board of Trustees.

Such conversations serve not only to broaden our individual views of our community, they also will inform the Board's decisions as the institution tries to work through last year's 31% decrease in funding from the State of Ohio.

Our conversations are inspired by the Harwood Institute's philosophies and "frameworks" and never cease to give me "food for thought." A few issues that I see as crucial in effecting change in our community are the needs to:

Connect to what people believe in

Collaborate

Celebrate

Educate

Communicate

Accept Personal Responsibility

Overall, I think one needs to accept change and see the positive. While we hope that others might also value and contribute to our community, the ones who hope and act will be the ones to propel the community forward. As one committee member story-shared ... :

One day, I drove past a car that had gotten stuck on the side of the rode. Those trying to free it, were pushing behind the wheel that was stuck, and that's not the best way to free a stuck car ... You need to push behind the wheel that already has the traction.

If we see our community as the broken down car, we shouldn't waste our effort pushing the inactive or negative community member. We get behind the figurehead who's creating the change we want to see.

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