ABC members Iris McGinnins and Brandon WilliamsCraig had the pleasure of making Cheryl Honey's acquaintance, collaboratively creating the Care & Share process in preparation for the inaugural Nexus for Change conference at Bowling Green State Univerity. Care & Share was established to help people otherwise unable for financial reasons to attend get to the event, find housing, and get their related needs met by a commuity of support.
This is what Cheryl does every day.
Her approach to building community, called Community Weaving America, was proposed to the Obama Administration and is working its way into pilot programs at various sites throughout the US starting in Obama's hometown of Chicago. They were promised grants and have a fiscal agent to house this new large-scale implementation effort. Cheryl invested her time, let other opportunities go, and then the money became uncertain. Now things seem to be "on hold" and the faithful are more vulnerable than ever and needing some support.
She is in her van, now her only residence, with her two kids and small dog, headed for Berkeley and then up to Ashland to live for a time with a friend and collaborator.
She as been asked to do a presentation Thursday night in Oakland.
There might be time to set up a talk and fundraiser at another time as well.
I'm looking for:
* Contact from you to let me know you are ready and able to be good neighbors to these most excellent folks,
* a place for them to stay with at least the night of the 28th.That's Cheryl, her two kids, and small dog, named Sandy.
* Offers of invitations for other nights around that date and
* invitations to a meal or two.
Please help support people who devote their lives to building community on purpose. Cheryl is the Real Deal.
CONTACT ME at brandon at abcglobal dot net
More about the Community Weaving Model: http://processarts.wagn.org/wagn/community_weaving
From a recent email:
I've been swamped lately working on a nation-wide large-scale pilot project that Obama staff is keeping a close eye on called Community Weaving America. What is important to remember is when anything shifts from one state to a new state it needs support to maintain the new state of being. (Ken Wilbur/Don Beck: Spiral Dynamics). All the methods whether dialogue or change methods they all deepen relationships, yet there isn't an infrastructure to sustain the efforts. Many fizzle out and this has been a big frustration that's been conveyed over and over again as we talk with organizations. "Oh, here's another program...now what?" is the most common response we hear initially.
We are not re-creating the wheel here - we believe in local sustainable systems and highly recommend creating an infrastructure for sustainability that is adaptive to change. That's our specialty...buildling community capacity by weaving the fabric of community to support positive change. Community Weaving is a process to re-engineer the infrastructure of community. Our goal is to have trained Community Weavers within all the organizations and networks you mentioned, which would embed them within community systems across all sectors at all levels of community. President Obama informed Americans that our nation was entering times when neighbors must help neighbors. The challenge was "how" to do that. Logistically, in our culture that is pretty near impossible for the majority of Americans because of the guilt, shame and judgement associated with being needy. We need "safe places" and "Good Neighbors" available to listen and lend a helping hand so others can feel comfortable ot share their challenges without fear of judgement.
It seemed the time had finally arrived for the work we've been was doing (which few really understand has finally arrived) I sold everything in December (except for furnishings for a small condo which I put in storage) and moved from Seattle to Plymouth, MA. I moved here because a woman I met at the National Volunteerism Conference last September invited me to move in so I could write my book on Community Weaving America. She admired the process that had emerged over the years and saw how it could be the change President Obama was looking for to foster new leaders and healthy communities, We create space where both givers and receivers are equal and they support one another like an extended family.
We've asked two questions at our Community Weaver Certification trainings over the past 15 years and the answers still remain the same:
1) Why don't neighbors ask for help when they need it?
2) Why don't neighobrs offer to help when they see someone in need?
Take a moment to close your eyes and reflect on these two questions. How easy is it for you to ask for help?
We have incredible opportunities ahead of us. Formal systems are not able to meet the rise in demand for services in order to meet the rise in demand with the economic downturn, combined with budget cuts and layoffs. Last week the Developmental Disabilities department in Plymouth Co. was told to consolidate 3 departments and lay off 47% of their staff. I do hope some of you are working to help organizations reorganize to meet the needs. Who is working with agencies and cities currently to help them re-organize for the times we live in? Alot of folks I've spoken to indicate they're experiencing a decline in generating revenue from their work. A lot of folks are donating their time to help in organizations who are working on shoestring budgets.
Community Weaving America was proposed to the Obama Administration and we are piloting Community Weaving at various sites throughout the US starting in Obama's hometown of Chicago. I'm not at liberty to share who the convener is, but I can say that within the past 30 days, we've received grants and have a fiscal agent who will house this new large-scale implementation effort. If you want to serve as a pilot site, just email me back and I'll forward you information.
Implementing the Community Weaving infrastructure is done in a six phase implementation. The trick is attracting partners from across community sectors to engage their constituents as "Good Neighbors" who pool resources to build up individual and community capacity and bridge social capital. We spent 3 years developing a web-based technology as a tool for the Community Weavers and Good Neighbors at familynetwork.org. Good Neighbors self-organize into Family Support Networks where they have safe places to share and care for one another. They can also use the recommended processes to deal with issues and craft their future together. Agencies who partner with the initiative list their programs, services, expertise and curriculums to make them accessible to anyone who wants to use them. NCDD members can sign up as both Good Neighbors and FSN Partners at the www.familynetwork.org website for free and search for others who are part of the network or find resources or post activities (Open Space, World Cafe's, IA, Future Search, Charattes, Workshops, Art, Music, Meditation, Transition Towns, or train trainers to expand the effort exponentially) Peggy Holman sees Community Weaving as a community-wide Open Space design. The CW process emerged over 15 years. We have over 300 trained Community Weavers across the country with 1,500 Good Neighbors in over 100 communities across America and in 8 countries. Our Good Neighbors speak over 25 languages so far and can be contacted eaily by a conference call to help with interpretation.
Below is the 6 part phase that emerged over the years to sustin the infrastructure in Community:
PHASE I DISCOVERY & READINESS
Community Weaving America is a “process” model that engages citizens to weave a strong web of support for families and work together to improve conditions in their lives and in the community. In this phase convener(s) are identified. In a series of coaching session they gain insight into ways to increase community capacity by engaging people in the process of creatively addressing issues impacting their lives and communities. This process model is awkward for those who work in programs driven by outcomes. This unique process unfolds as people commit to serving and volunteering in their communities. Organizations work interdependently with citizens to prepare them to be more responsible and responsive in times of change.
PHASE II PARTNERING FOR CHANGE
Conveners instigate Community Weaving by raising awareness about this innovative approach to building and bridging social capital across community sectors. Representatives from across community sectors are invited to participate in an inquiry and visioning session and gain insight into Community Weaving. Following the session, they determine how they want to engage in the process. Those that choose to be involved help spread the word to expand the scope of participation in the Community Weaving Initiative.
PHASE III COLLABORATING FOR CHANGE
This event is an introduction to the Community Weaving experience. Usually 3 hours in duration, it is held at a neutral location with all the partners, leaders and their constituents engaging in activities that offer insight into the inclusionary process of Community Weaving. This opens up new possibilities for effective collaborations across the whole community system.
PHASE IV CW TRAINING AND CW ACTION PLANNING
CW Certification Training: Partners identify individuals from within their organizations to be trained as Community Weavers. Community Weavers access the tools, techniques and technology to start Family Support Networking in their organizations and neighborhoods.
CW Action Planning: The trained Community Weavers and partners spend a day in an Open Space session to design an action plan detailing how they will integrate Community Weaving into their service delivery system to create more vibrant, resilient and cohesive communities more cost effectively and efficiently.
PHASE VTOT: FAMILY ADVOCATE TRAINERS AND SAFE HAVEN TRAINING
Trainers will attend FACT training be train volunteers who want to serve in volunteer positions within local agencies, or volunteer to provide direct services to agency referrals may attend a 2-day training to be certified as a Family Advocate. Those who attend the 2-day training and want to provide transitional housing in their homes may apply to become part of Operation Safe Haven, to host people displaced by hardship, crisis or disaster.
PHASE VI: SUSTAINABILITY AND REPLICATION
This phase reveals impact and outcomes of the various applications of the Community Weaving model and adaptations are made to refine and expand Community Weaving efforts. The culture of community becomes more vibrant and responsive to change as citizens are engaged in weaving the fabric of community. The more institution adopt Community Weaving practices into their service delivery systems and train staff, the more resilient the web becomes to create thriving communities that are adaptive to change.
Kenoali, as I shared with you and Mark at lunch last summer, the design creates an infrastructure for the grassroots and uses reciprical feedback loop processes to share information (data through the reporting features) that is shared between formal and informal systems to be a more adaptive system and ultimate impact democracy by including the voice of the people. This system is totally separate from government, yet works collaboratively with systems to re-engineer the manner in which whole community systems interact for the common good of the residents of the community. The infrastructure opens space to give birth to a new way of "being" together and dissolving the tension and polarity of "us and them" with formal systerms.
All systems need what NCDD members have to offer, the trick is we haven't developed a conduit to pierce through the formal systems to get to the people. Community Weaving creates the means to get to the people where they can initiative change initiatives from within their organizations.
I guarantee, with less money and fewer staff...it will be very tricky getting systems to organize and market change processes. However, if Community Weavers are already in place and connected to a system of support, they can organize activities and events that are inclusive and seemless for little or no cost.
System partners of the Community Weaving America initiatives are coming up with incredibly innovative ideas such as engaging welfare recipients as Good Neighbors and connecting them to others who share common skills so they can start microenterprises supported by others in the network. One agency has already agreed to compensate families to house family members, in lieu of giving them vouchers to stay at hotels for a few days following a disaster. These families traumatized by the disaster, need to be living in homes as part of a family to manage throught the times ahead. Our kids can be engagedin the process and help spread the word to sign up students as Good Neighborhoods.
RECRUITING FACILITATORS, GRANT WRITER, and GOOD NEIGHBORS
This project is very large in scope and we need help growing an infrastructure to coordinate with all the pilot projects that are starting-up. If anyone is interested in more subcontract work, please give me a hollar by responding to this email. Send me your bio or CV..
We have been asked to write a contract with a state. Has anyone written a contract with a state before? If so, email me directly at email@example.com
We need more funders to work with us
A web desiner who can revamp our calendar section on the familynetwork.org website and troubleshoot some strange glitches.
Does anyone have a suggestion where we can use webinars for no/low cost?
More information will be provided upon request.
Blessings and peace to all in these amazing times!
Cheryl Honey, C.P.P.
Family Support Network, Int'l
Cheryl Honey is a Certified Prevention Specialist and a pioneer of Community Weaving practices. Cheryl was named Washington State's over-all Jefferson Award winner in 2007. This mini-Nobel Prize for Public Service was created by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and given to ordinary people doing extraordinary things. She designed a community empowerment approach that taps grassroots resources and mobilizes the strengths and assets of caring people committed to creating a more civil society. She is a dynamic speaker and facilitator who captivates an audience with her community building expertise. Her knowledge, experience, humor, and interactive presentations spark a call to action to save our children's future.
Cheryl founded the Family Support Network (FSN) in February, 1992. Over a period of ten years, she built the FSN into a nationally recognized "bottom-up" community mobilization strategy to weave a community web of support for all families and children across America. This exciting network was implemented in other communities around the country including Washington, Idaho and Colorado. The FSN received a grant from the Institute for Civil Society for a pilot project to replicate FSN's through systems in 1997 and establish an FSN Institute in the Puget Sound. The Lifetime Channel featured a story about the Family Support Network in a segment for New Attitudes which aired January, 1999. Today she is the President of Excel Strategies, a Washington based corporation and consults around the country on how to create a more civil society through volunteerism.
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