Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 33: Discussions of Neighborhood Centers

The session on neighborhood centers was lightly attended, but had an interesting mix of individuals providing input.  I encourage you to attend one of the remaining sessions on the  role of neighborhood centers and community needs here in Madison if you haven't already.  This meeting allowed us to share our opinions on three questions:  

1.  List 3 things that you want or need from a neighborhood center
2.  What difference does a community center make in a neighborhood?
3.  Does it matter where the center is located?

For all of these questions we worked as a group to provide our input on giant post-it-note paper sheets that were then posted around the room.  We were given three colored circle stickers that we were instructed to place on these "idea sheets" next to our top three choices for the wants/needs. These lists, collected from all of the sessions, are then going to be used to help with difficult funding decisions in the future.  So, again, I encourage you to go to one of these listening sessions if you are interested in having a voice in some funding decisions affecting neighborhood centers, and, ultimately, your community.

This session, for me, was really energizing.  I love hearing input on how people view the role of neighborhood centers, and, more generally, the overall idea of "community".  This concept is something that I have been intrigued by for as long as I can remember, but, more "scientifically" when I started studying zoology and psychology here at University of Wisconsin-Madison for my undergraduate degree.  I think the overlaps between non-human animals, and humans in their respective "communities" is important, interesting, and, to me, fascinating.  So much so, that I will definitely write more on this at a later point, but for now I am tired, with ideas all over the board, and should be a little more focused before writing more on that topic.

As always, feel free to email me or post below for questions, comments, or to help host a future fundraising event.  

One thing this session really hit home is that it would be ideal if I could raise even more funds before returning to Ecuador, so that the center has more flexibility in the initial design and programming opportunities, however, the other thing this session helped me to see is that part of what makes an effective neighborhood center is the ability to grow and evolve as the community sees fit, but that the community being served by the center has input on the planning.  So, again, please consider making a donation online or seeing how else you can help.  Or, if you have already donated, consider passing on the word to those you think may share an interest.

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