Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tutor/Mentor Conference, Asset-Based Community Development

September means that the November Tutor/Mentor Conference is coming up. This year it is Thursday and Friday November 15th and 16th at Olympia Fields Country Club in the South suburbs. What I need help with is finding organizations to participate in a panel on Volunteer Recruitment strategies. If you know of any people or organizations who you think would be good to participate in this panel, please let me know.

Also, Wednesday means that I had my second seminar for my fellowship today. Jody Kretzman, a professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern was our speaker today. The seminar emphasized Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), which is finding what the assets are in the community in order to improve. Touching on ideas developed by Jane Addams and much later Saul Alinsky, Professor Kretzman underlined the importance in looking to the leaders in a community to help create social change. He describes three steps in this strategy: 1) Finding the assets in the community, 2) Connecting them or finding community connections, 3) Harnessing the assets to create a vision for the future.

This brings me to where Cabrini Connections is following this vision of Asset-Based Community Development. I have discussed before the importance in bringing in members of the community to work with an organization such as Cabrini Connections. We have been actively trying to maintain an alumae database and hopefully as our organization grows and ages, we will have more and more alumnae who we hope to turn into community leaders and organizers themselves. As Professor Kretzman says, and I have emphasized before, members of the community are such an important part in making social change happen. While we all must look outward for leaders and resources in organizations such as Cabrini Connections, we much also look inwards.

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