Author: Nicole Solis, Communications Specialist
Margaret Mead once wrote, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Community leaders are emerging in downtown San José now more than ever. The Community Leadership Program (CLP) conducted a collaborative workshop on Thursday February 11, 2016 to begin the initial planning stages for upcoming neighborhood projects. The CLP is a program of CommUniverCity enacted to help communities focus on building neighborhood engagement and leadership skills. This specific workshop was focused on project meeting and conflict management.
Neighborhood Leader Chris Esparza, representing Naglee Park, helped to facilitate community project planning for the meeting. Exercises were used to support the Neighborhood Leaders’ aim to collaborate, communicate, and generate project-specific challenges and
opportunities. Grouping like project ideas allowed members to compare notes and present their ideas in an open and team building atmosphere. Addressing key concerns and opportunities for each project is essential when creating a plan of action. Members were also asked to interview neighbors of their own to gather their opinions and discuss possible revisions to help facilitate project outreach.
“I feel empowered to drive a project that helps my community,” said Teresa Buchholz, Neighborhood Leader of Roosevelt Park.
Numerous project ideas arose such as neighborhood Easter egg hunts, community mural painting, a designated dumping day, and a neighborhood farmer’s market. All project ideas translate to community enrichment and neighborhood pride. Beginning large scale projects are not easy, but challenge lists were created to further understanding regarding project timing, goals, and effectiveness.
To support leaders in future outreach and project meetings, Karla Reyes joined the workshop as a facilitator for conflict management. Members were broken into groups and discussed best methods in handling situations of conflict. Tips for productive meetings and member participation were exchanged. Reyes’ special “candy competition” example was done using the Neighborhood Leaders, paired-off, and set in an arm wrestle match! Her unusual, yet effective, method was used to show that people can change their perception of conflict from a “win-lose” situation to a “win-win” one.
Neighborhood Leaders were elated to gain more tools and collaboration from the CLP meeting.
“I have increased my knowledge of and appreciation for other San Jose neighborhoods. Attending the sessions has enriched my commitment to continue to make San Jose a precious place to live,” reported Aimee Cheung, Neighborhood Leader of Downtown.
This diligent group of leaders, stemming from the downtown communities of San José, has made a commitment to themselves and their neighborhoods. They are working to better those around them and believe that everyone deserves to live in a vibrant and thriving community. Want to be a part of this special movement? You can sign up for future workshops with CommUniverCity here. Make the choice to make the difference.