ABCD Guiding Principles Guiding principles for staying on the

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ABCD Guiding Principles Guiding principles for staying on the Powered By Docstoc
					ABCD Guiding Principles Guiding principles for staying on the road… or at least out of the ditch
On the role of the "gapper" • The focus is on developing and bolstering leadership within the community, which means the gapper will ultimately have to step out of the way to let citizens choose their own path and act on their own • The gapper should have a commitment to not be a leader • There is a difference between an activist and an organizer, and the role of the organizer is to facilitate not lead • Lead by serving • Do not do for others what they can do for themselves • Remember to ask: "What didn't I do this week?" • Do with, not for On power • The process is about building power within communities so that people can get out of life what they want • The power of communities resides in relationships and connections within the community • To release the power within a community, it is critically important to find a way to connect—to weave together—the gifts of community members • A strong community does not waste people ("labeled people" have a critical role to play as contributors to the community) • Only citizens can build their own communities • Challenging people to do something helps release the power within a community • Only the people in a community—not programs—can build power in a community • Building power within communities means shifting power from institutions/agencies • If nobody's talking about power, it's not changing hands • Citizens must be trained about what they should expect from their institutions (and then processes should be developed for citizens to grade/give feedback to the institutions) • If the community's strengths and gifts are not used, they will atrophy (outside services that replace the role of relationships among community members will weaken the community) • The only rightful role of a service agency is to do those things which cannot be accomplished through everyday life/relationships • "Partnerships" between institutions/agencies and community associations/citizens must be citizen-centered (the citizens/community associations clearly in control, with institutions/agencies at the table but in the role of servant not lord) • Community's have the knowledge and strength within themselves to solve their own problems (the Sufi story of the wise woman) • There is great power in language • There is great power in transparency • Be open about motives • There is great power in taking people seriously and giving them respect • Believe in real democracy • Believe that the community has the answer--the power is in the process

On working in and with communities • One word: ask • Engage the community around a question, not an answer • When you ask, you need to listen to the answer and follow-through • Community building takes circles (associations centered on consensus, relationships, caring) • "Partnerships" must be citizen-centered to engage the community • Success builds upon success • Start small • A community's gifts are perishable--it's better to identify and successfully use/connect a small number of people than to identify but not use a large number • Start with an easy goal • Start with an issue/goal that is "winnable" • If something works, do more of it • Know yourself, especially your boundaries • When entering a community, check your ego and attitudes at the door • Also recognize you do know what to do--remember what you already know • In working with a community, remember a leader is someone with a following and beware of false leaders (individuals or groups seen as leaders by outsiders but not by community members) • No amount of doing the wrong thing will make it the right thing • A community can only tackle a certain number of issues (or an issue) at a time • Pick your fights/choose your battles • Be a wise steward of the limited (volunteer) energy available in the community • Recognize that timing and the confluence of events do play a role in community building On working in the "real world" • There is a place for challenge and there is a place for using power • If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've already got • There will be opposition to real change and real shifts in power • Change hurts On scale and the importance of locality • Problems are general, but solutions are often specific and unique to a particular location • One size does not fit all • There is an inverse relationship between the size of a community and the intensity/strength of the relationships within that community (the strength of community relationships weakens as the size of the community gets bigger) • It is important to define a community of appropriate size for the specific community-building endeavor On doing the work • Keep your eyes on the prize • Remember what the real goal is: developing leadership and power within the community • The lesson from Nehemiah: Work, Watch, Pray

A Summary of the Basic ABCD Process
• Decide on a site/locality • Remember the importance of size/scale • Realize there can be communities of place and communities of interest • Remember the locality should be defined as community members see it, not what's convenient for outsiders • Decide on a theme through which to engage the community • Engage the community around a question, not an answer • Through engagement with each other, the community should provide the answer(s) • The best themes are clear, arouse passion within the community, and unify the community (for example, issues related to youth/children often fulfill these criteria) • Develop an Initiating Group • A relatively small group with a deep commitment to the ABCD philosophy • Provides initial connections into the community • Members may be largely institution-based • Develop an Organizing Group • Core group of community leaders who can come together to be a voice for the community • People from everyday life, association leaders, congregation leaders, small business owners, others • It is important that they buy into the theme around which the community will be engaged and that they are "leaders with a following" so that they have an authentic constituency • This core group should come together around their "self interest" in the best sense--an interest they are ready to act on • This group begins to develop a plan • Developing specific goals, engaging the community in the process, doing the work, evaluating progress, adjusting the process • Set a table • Create a citizen-centered partnership • Citizens/community associations in control • Bring in institutions/agencies later and as a minority so they are at the table but in the role of servant, not lord • Work with institutions/agencies to see how they can support the citizen-centered initiative • Role of this citizen-centered partnership is to carry out the plan related to the theme that was chosen • Citizens/associations and their gifts/relationships as the driving force • Agencies/institutions in a supporting role • Do the ABCD work • Identifying assets/gifts • Mobilizing and connecting assets Henry Moore ABCD Training Group 636 1/2 East Victory Drive Savannah, Ga 31405 henry636@bellsouth.net 912-236-2080