Monday, 30 March 2015

Resilience: The Engaging Community Toolkit

by The Berkana Institute:

The mantra for this time seems to be “We’re all in this together.”

At The Berkana Institute, we’ve worked with many communities who’ve made this statement come alive; they’ve discovered the wisdom and wealth present in themselves, their traditions and their environments.

We believe wholeheartedly that community is the best resource to get through difficult times. This is even more important in this age of fractured relationships and extreme politics when it can be difficult to remember what good community feels like, how joyful it feels when we’re working well together.

Berkana is focused on supporting the rediscovery of community. We’ve  joined with Neighborhood Centers Inc. of Houston to create this rich and multi-faceted kit. Both of our organizations have many years of experience in how best to engage community. But this is more than a toolkit; it’s a package of practices that embody our shared philosophy. 

We know that we can rely on human goodness, that most people, whatever their age or ethnicity, want to work well with other people to restore hope to the future. We know that most people are generous, caring and smart. Creativity and entrepreneurship abound in every community, they are not rare qualities of a few special people. And we’ve learned that there is no power for change greater than when a community discovers what it cares about.\

This toolkit contains a variety of approaches for engaging community: information and processes in a rich variety of media, and in both English and Spanish. We want to make it possible for every community - large or small, defined by geography, ethnicity, beliefs, income level, shared pain or shared opportunity - to know how to engage their members to resolve their current challenges and create the futures they desire.

The kit includes (in both English and Spanish):
  • Turning To One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future by Margaret Wheatley
  • The Power of Community, a DVD presentation by Margaret Wheatley. 40 minutes with Spanish subtitles
  • 12 Principles for Healthy Community Change, a set of beautifully illustrated cards containing these principles and questions to explore. Illustrations by Nancy Margulies
  • Large colorful poster of the 12 principles and questions
  • A guide for hosting good conversations
  • “Unlocking the Strengths of Our Communities: A Step-by-Step Guide to Appreciative Community Building.” Developed by Neighborhood Centers Inc. Six questions that uncover the strengths of diverse communities and change the conversations
  • Unlocking the Strengths of our Communities, a CD of materials for printing, including customizable tools, agendas and other resources used by Neighborhood Centers Inc. in their work with communities
  • Articles by Margaret Wheatley and others. A CD for printing articles, with the encouragement to distribute these articles freely
Read about how the tools are being usedWatch a clip from the Power of Community DVD on creating healthy community change.

Engaging Community Kit orders are now being handled via Please write to info[at] for information on ordering.

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