Including community members in the development of the Center increases the likelihood of acceptance and commitment. In order for changes to be made, it is crucial for community members to identify the current needs. Community engagement increases trust and respect amongst members and the organization and is key to understanding different perspectives. Developing community ownership and involvement in all decisions is essential to a successful outcome.
In order to ensure full community participation, Zone 3 community members are currently involved in general meetings, one on one interviews, focus groups and meetings with potential donors. Members are also researching potential center locations and have come up with creative funding strategies that will encourage even more community involvement.
Over 70 community members attended our initial center meeting in November, 2016. At the end of the meeting, community members stated “we don’t have to wait until the center is built to start helping our community!” They collected the money they had and made a donation to a family in need in their neighborhood.
Our first focus group is underway! We have developed a Land Focus Group to help us purchase the land for our community center. Members have searched for spaces, met with owners, lead group meetings, negotiated prices, and developed action plans moving forward. We plan to implement multiple focus groups to utilize the knowledge and talent of the community members of Zone 3.
Community interviews have provided Planting Seeds with a more personal assessment of the community. We have conducted over 50 interviews to complete our investigation where community members shared their views about what existed and what is needed in the community. Four main themes came through in a majority of interviews. The need for education, community involvement, support for parents, and safe places to keep youth off the street.