I received a call today from a man who has become my friend. We met several years ago through the Grassroots Leadership Initiative - GLI. This 10-minute conversation generated two messages that I want to share. First – he called about something called “Life Is Good in Sarasota County.” This is an invitation to tell a story about an experience – a memory – of a time here in Sarasota County when, as you look back on it now, you think “ahhh, yes, life is good here.” This is a chance to reflect on the positive. It’s also more than that. As the volume of stories grows, themes begin to emerge that indicate what people care about, what is valued. This is the foundation for understanding what we, as a community need to be paying attention to, and what we need to measure to know if progress is happening.
You can see below that Community Data 2.0 Venice will be gathering on May 18. These life-is-good stories, the session in Venice and past and future gatherings in North Port and Sarasota are a part of the community effort to bring data to life as a real resource for residents as they make decisions about their neighborhoods. Take a look at the SCOPE Blog to learn a little more about the Community Data Collaborative.
I mentioned that this call from a friend stimulated two thoughts. The other is a reminder of the power of persistence and boundary crossing. This friend demonstrated both in a tireless effort to transform a neighborhood eyesore into a neighborhood asset. What is now Lime Lake Park, was once a dangerous nuisance. Years later and through understanding that some changes need many sectors and multiple scales to become reality, it is a beautiful park. Lime Lake happened because the neighborhood wanted it to. Sure, the neighborhood could not do it all but the neighborhood was the catalyst and the constant energy that brought the institutional juice to bear.
I hope this friend calls me more often.