Friday, August 05, 2011

Civic Engagement - a focus on learning

This week I received a White Paper titled Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication

I was surprised when on page 18 I saw Cabrini Connections listed as a model. I was pleased because this on-going learning has been part of the elearning and technology strategy that I had championed in this organization for many years. This is pretty much on hold right now due to loss of our major donor due to economic reasons.

However, the reason I'm really excited to be in this White Paper was its emphasis on creating community information and stimulating on-going learning as a result of volunteering and service involvement. One group that was profiled in this White Paper was the Bonner Foundation, which "promotes the use of social media tools, such as wikis and videos, by all of its scholars.

I started putting my planning documents on wikis and on web site presentations more than a dozen years ago. However, the challenge I've found is helping people find the time and motivation to read these and become personally involved by editing and contributing ideas.

I was invited to be a contributor on the ACT NOW Drop Out Prevention wiki many years ago. I wonder how many other people use this?

I'm also part of many on-line forums where ideas are shared and networks built.

One of the five strategies of the White Paper is to "Generate Public Relational Knowledge." I've been piloting ways of doing this with maps, graphics, and network analysis tools, yet have never found enough people who really understood the value of this who were willing to invest the resources needed to build this.

In the White Paper Carmen Siranni's book, "Investing in Democracy" is quoted saying "you cannot get community summits and other forms of excellent engagement on the cheap. They take a long-term effort and resources that are normally a mixture of money, policies, and people's volunteered and paid time."


I've created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to expand the ways I attract revenue and build partnerships so that I can do more to continue to develop the tools and resources we've been working on for more than a decade and make them available to more cities than just Chicago.

This talent map shows the skills I need and some of the people I'm learning from. If you want to be part of this map and an investor/sponsor of this process, please introduce yourself here or on the Tutor/Mentor Forum.

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