Watch the video above to learn how Brooklyn Centre citizens worked with a skilled facilitator to articulate community insights to inform strategic investment and accelerate change in the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton, Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods.
The purpose of the focus groups was to gather insights from residents about their needs to improve the community. I wanted five people in each focus group. As Cavana noted in his article, We've Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China, smaller is better.
I also wanted people who were intelligent, thoughtful, and reliable. What did I do? I handpicked ten people. All committed to attending. Guess how many came? Five! The others were unable to participate when I called them about the group convening. Life got in the way, or, they had something else to do.
This phenomenon happened with both focus groups. But as Gloria Ferris says, “Whoever shows up are the right people.”
During these focus groups, I asked everyone four questions, designed to draw them out. As the data emerged from their heads and came out of their mouths, I recorded it on my four flip charts in front of them. As the sheets of butcher paper got filled up, I had people tape them to the walls of the room.
Here’s the exciting part: As each session went on, people got more and more excited. They were like, “Someone is actually listening to us!”
One of the participants was Amir Merhi, owner of Brown's Beverage on Storer Avenue. A seminal moment occurred when he declared, “Things will go our way if we work together and follow through!”
This kind of experience is why I am a facilitator.
What's your experience in community change? Or, if you're a facilitator too, I hope you'll add stories about your experiences in the comment section below!
Tom Romito, Facilitator and Director, I-Open, helps organizations build capacity to survive and thrive with Team Building, Action Planning and Strategic Planning. Tom is also interested in Climate Change Effects on Reforestation, Wetlands, and Birds and Other Wildlife. Learn more about how Tom's work in skilled facilitation helps organizations, communities and businesses adapt to change at his website, TomRomito.com
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