Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Community Ideas: Day Two and Beyond

This is just a quick update on the second session dedicated to the development of new community ideas at the SCRA biennial. There will be follow up posts with more details on this session and ongoing updates on new community ideas. We centered discussion on developing the idea of a Neighborhood Skills Exchange, which received the most support on day one. The group generated action steps needed in order to implement this idea, such as identifying communities, establishing buy-in, and researching other models of barter economies. We then spent some time discussing the process itself, and how we can generate, share, and support new ideas in the future. We ended with commitments by two small groups of participants to (1) write a proposal for a neighborhood skills exchange, and (2) write a proposal for a yearly initative within SCRA to support new community ideas. This was a quick session (only 45 minutes!) so a lot of ground was covered, but the real work will be in the months ahead. Stay tuned for more news!

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Community Ideas: Day One

Participants in the first New Community Ideas session
We're here at the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) Biennial in Chicago, fresh from the first morning of our 2 day session on New Community Ideas. Prior to this, we sent out a call for ideas on this blog among other places, and we're glad to report that we received over two dozen exciting new ideas in various levels of development. Today, a group of over 20 of us gathered over breakfast (thanks for coming out early, guys!) to examine these ideas, generate new ideas, and decide next steps for moving forward. We collectively decided to focus on 1-2 main ideas at our next session on Saturday morning (meeting info below). The ideas with the most group support were (1) Create a Neighborhood Skills Exchange, and (2) Develop a "mythbusting" youtube video series focused on busting common myths about people who are marginalized such as persons with mental illness.

Following are my unedited notes from the series. Please feel free to offer your comments below, and if you're in Chicago, come by and offer your comments in person!

New Community Ideas: Day One

Voice your ideas or adopt an idea. Our ideas are assets – ways to change communities for the better.

Next session: Saturday 10:15 Harold Washington multi-purpose room.

1) Urban reformation – through murals, etc.
2) Collecting stories that are myth-busting about persons that are marginalized
3) Sparking community dialogue – big questions on paper and date/time for talking
4) Find your elected representatives – email address, and introduce yourself as a community psychologist interested in social justice
5) Hold online community training – for credit, ongoing professional development
6) Social emotional and character development in schools
7) Intellectual property rights – formal collaborative in which ideas are “licensed” and shared freely
8) Community and university funder alliance for community well-being
9) Social and professional supports in rural areas
10) Creating healthy communities – creative play “the community that plays together stays together)
11) Neighborhood skills exchange
12) Mini-brainstorming sessions in community meetings
13) Peace commission – see how small towns can address global peace
14) Publishing community victories – e.g. family counseling program has two families complete counseling before getting married
15) Engaging marginalized youth – ask them what they see as issues
16) Creating own social media site to discuss lives
17) Revitalizing rites of passage – for positive youth development
18) Social media to engage young men of color – to partner with other concerned men (and women) to address manpower needs in US communities
19) Creative and installation activism piece
20) Trash tree – hang trash from trees to discourage littering
21) Nursing home spouse support – mutual self help support
22) Adopt a homeless student – through high school graduation
23) Photovoice – public celebration of community strengths/problems
24) PSA Bulletin boards – local orgs sponsor bulletin boards
25) DS Central kitchen – help people in poverty

Examples (from Bill): young kids paired with elderly nursing home through video game (Wii); dog poop to power electric lamps; neighborhood sleepovers

New Ideas:

1)   Having a 3-day workshop for youth – express social justice and well being through the arts
2)   Working with local groups to raise money and package food and send to places where there is food insecurity – raises awareness as well, and making opportunities
3)   State and local level – bring together nonprofits, churches, service providers, etc. and look at overarching prevention goals – coordinating prevention efforts
4)   Youth as community action researchers - Translating research into community settings – transfer research skills to  young people in the community – explore questions they’re looking at, also involve finding a space for them to share ideas

Thoughts on Ideas:  
Revitalize rites for youth – this is an important historical idea, a way to help youth become effective adults in our community. Many manifestations in the community.

Looking for an idea – come into a new community for grad school, how do you contribute to the community, you know you’re going to be there for a limited time, you may feel like you belong to another community, etc. How does program enhance being individual good citizens?

Neighborhood skills exchange – to have some kind of listserv or website where people can change their skills, this is a potential solution to the problem for grad students. Building reciprocity. Locating assets in community.

Building on youth as community actors – graffiti mural with strengths about the community – can add over time – living “document” – widely accessible – kind of like Photovoice

Mythbusters – a great Youtube viral video – like mythbusters the show – mythbusting mental illness stigma, etc.

Like visioning idea of a show - “community makeover”

Leverett peace commission – what can a local community do? How could we model something – communities are interested even though they haven’t done anything – open for ideas

Contacting your local legislator – easy – anyone can do – know for sure who your legislator is

Online training – core competency
-there is a new online course presence – open education

Trash tree – activism – changing the way people think about things – to stop littering, hung litter from a tree – see it on the Community Psychology Practice blog

Are we doing this as a group or implementing in our own communities?
A: After we prioritize we’ll figure it out.


Neighborhood Skills Exchange


Both can be taken back to own community

One caveat about neighborhood skills exchange – meet the people in the community, make sure you’re not harming businesses, engaging people who are

Combining ideas? Maybe, but not necessarily

Think about the how-to by tomorrow.

We’ll revisit on Saturday, but we will start off perhaps focusing on two ideas. Maybe two groups cluster and we can start running.

SCRA mini-grant, rolling deadline .

Think about ideas for different scopes – thesis, practicum, service-learning class.


Bill Berkowitz
Gina Cardazone
Victoria Chen
Dyana Valentine
and Tom Wolff

Co-leaders for the New Community Ideas sessions

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Community Practitioner Spotlight: Adrienne Paine- Andrews

“The most critical skills [that I’ve gained] were..ensuring citizen involvement in identifying local issues and solutions and working together to implement them.”-Dr. Paine-Andrews

Name: Adrienne Paine-Andrews, Ph.D.
Title: Community Psychologist/Consultant
Employer: Self-Employed
Affiliations: Kansas Public Health Association, the Society for Public Health Education, the American Public Health Association, and the Society for Community Research and Action

Dr. Adrienne Paine-Andrews is a community psychology practitioner whose work involves promoting community health and development through systems level approaches.

She works primarily with health related foundations assisting with grant review processes, program planning, project management and organizational capacity building. Currently, her work focuses on promoting environmental and systems approaches to promote healthy eating and active living; and providing opportunities for organizational capacity building.

She earned her Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Kansas. During her graduate training, emphasis was placed on understanding the importance of systems level approaches and citizen participation in community and organizational settings. Through her experience with the Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development, she applied community psychology theories to community settings. These experiences ultimately provided a foundation for her current work.

Dr. Paine-Andrews’ background in community psychology theory and practice has helped guide her work. It has enabled her to help communities identify and implement effective solutions for improving health.  

Keywords: Community Health and Development, Consultation, 

This profile was written by Kyrah Brown, from Wichita State University.  It is part of a series of community psychology practitioner profiles.  If you have a suggestion for future profiles, please email ComPsychPractice@gmail.com 

Can you send us an idea?

We hope you’re looking forward to the Biennial as much as we are. And as some of you may know, we’ll be hosting two sessions on Developing New Community Ideas in Chicago.

We hope too that all you blog readers can participate in these events. Here’s how you can do it:

We’re looking for new community ideas – your ideas in particular. We’re pretty sure you have them; we want to encourage you to send them our way.

We’re doing this because we feel strongly motivated to respond to the powerful social and economic challenges of our time. How can that best happen? Developing and implementing new community ideas is one of many ways we can respond, because new ideas, new ways of working in our communities, can help maintain our community quality of life. If we can collect and share such ideas, the communities we serve can benefit.

So at these sessions – and before – we want to learn about and share your community ideas with each other; to discuss how they might be implemented; and to identify structures for implementing them, so that we can keep generating and sharing new community ideas well after the Biennial is over.

Here’s where you come in: Can you think of one good community idea, one that you especially like? We’re especially looking for small-scale, low-cost, non-technical, practical, and innovative ideas, an idea that interests or (even better) excites you. It could be something that you’ve actually tried, or that you’d like to try. You be the judge. If you like it, it’s a probably a good idea.

Whatever your favorite community idea is, that’s what we’re looking for. If you can tell us about it in 100 words or less – short and sweet – and send it to us before June 15 at Bill_Berkowitz [at] uml.edu, or post them on this blog in the comments section, that would be excellent, and we would be grateful.

About the sessions themselves: Our first session will be on Friday morning June 17, from 7:45 – 9:00 at Roosevelt University, room 244. Saturday morning’s session will run from 10:15 to 11:00 in the Harold Washington Library, Multipurpose Room B. If you can join us for these sessions, we welcome you warmly; please do send us an RSVP so that we can get an accurate breakfast count.

We hope also to arrange to post your and everyone’s ideas in some easily-accessible location, and will keep in touch with you on this front.

So before you head off for the Biennial, please send (at least) one good idea our way – both to advance our own knowledge and to increase our impact on the communities we serve.

Thanks, everyone. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and to seeing you in Chicago.

~~ Bill

Bill Berkowitz
Gina Cardazone
Victoria Chen
Dyana Valentine
and Tom Wolff

Co-leaders for the New Community Ideas sessions