I had the privilege of participating in last week’s Harwood Public Innovator’s Lab, sponsored and hosted by The Patterson Foundation. Over 70 participants from 4 counties (Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto) gathered to learn the Harwood principles of community engagement. In his book “The Work of Hope”, Rich Harwood discusses the need for people to work for the common good. People from disparate backgrounds can cross existing boundaries and walls to come together for the good of the community. Over the next year, teams of public innovators who “graduated” from the Harwood Labs last week will spread out into their communities to ascertain what citizens want and need in order to live in a community where they can thrive. I am a member of the Sarasota County Library System Team. Libraries hold a unique position in the community in that they are generally seen as safe and unbiased common places where people from all walks of life are welcome. It could easily be argued that the libraries are the most diverse places in Sarasota County. For the “Aspirations to Actions” project, which will emerge from the Harwood Lab training, the libraries can take advantage of their position in the community to facilitate people coming together and forging real connections with one another. We can explore new ways of connecting people in different venues or through different media. The libraries can be a vehicle for building relationships and commitment to the larger community. Aspirations to Actions will allow us to receive input from the community and design projects to effectively bring people together for the common good.
To that end, our first step is to ask you 4 questions and gather your insights as citizens of the community. These 4 questions are:
1. What kind of community do you want to live in?
2. Why is that important to you?
3. How is that different from how you see things now?
4. What are some of the things that need to happen to create that kind of change?
I’ve made it easy for you to answer the questions by creating a Survey Monkey link where you can enter your answers to the questions, submit the survey and you’re done! It should take less than 5 minutes of your time. Feel free to write as little or as much as you’d like to answer the questions and your responses are anonymous. If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RFC7H8J