Collaborating with the Community
Alesia Montgomery - Boys Town National Training
1. Map Out Local Community Assets - The primary goal of this strategy is to identify untapped talent and assets in the local community to empower residents and organizations to share those talents/assets with others in the community. This will build a stronger, safer, and more vibrant neighborhood for themselves and for future generations. Here are some examples of how the local community can discover their own talents and assets:
2. Build Relationships for Mutually Beneficial Problem-Solving - Once you have identified various talents/assets in your community, you can then collaborate on ways to share them in mutually beneficial ways. The goal is to empower local families and organizations to address and problem-solve their community concerns.
Here are some examples of how a small culturally diverse neighborhood in Omaha, NE collaborated and shared their talents to help others. All of the following events occurred after local leaders conducted a neighborhood survey with every household in their community. As a result, they discovered these special talents:
3. Have Schools Involve Families- When schools and families collaborate; communities are more likely to become more resilient. Here are a few strategies that Barrera and Warner suggest that schools implement:
Effective community collaboration allows for neighbors and organizations to empower each other, and give back to others within the community.
1 McKnight, John; Kretzmann, John (1996). Mapping Community Capacity (PDF) (Report) (Revised ed.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research.
We know that strong communities create strong schools ---and strong schools create strong communities.
Collaboration between a local community and its surrounding school communities offers hope when struggling to address issues such as unemployment and poverty. Aligning families, schools, and communities behind a common goal is vital in addressing and overcoming these hurdles.
This is where effective community models and strategies play an important role in aligning communities and strengthening collaboration. One model is Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), which is a model designed to strengthen communities by helping people learn to identify, manage, and leverage local resources to the benefit of their locality1.
Leveraging local resources involves building social ties or capital with local banks, businesses, churches, and organizations. It becomes mutually beneficial when schools and local community organizations collaborate. The ABCD Model addresses community concerns with the goal of building stronger communities.
Let’s review three strategies to promote collaboration between families, communities and schools: