Chronicling the Bottom Up
Connection Revolution

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Tom Wolff: The Power of Collaborative Solutions

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Broadcast 8/3/2011 at 03:00:12 (1 Listens, 2 Downloads, 0 Itunes)
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Tom Wolff, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized consultant on coalition building and community development, with over 30 years' experience training and consulting with individuals, organizations and communities across North America. His clients include federal, state and local government agencies, foundations, hospitals, non-profit organizations, professional associations, and grassroots groups.

Tom Wolff's writings on coalition building include the popular book From the Ground Up: A Workbook on Coalition Building and Community Development (1997 with Gillian Kaye), and The Spirit of the Coalition (2000 with Bill Berkowitz), published by the American Public Health Association. He co-authored Outreach Works: Strategies for Expanding Health Access in Communities in 2001.

Rough Interview Notes;
Tom Wolff
Collaborative Solutions-- simply, doing together what we CAN'T do apart.

On 911 NYC police and Fire departments couldn't coordinate because they were using different radio frequencies. That's a metaphor for many of our approaches to community problem solving.

One of the biggest problems is getting leaders to talk to and listen to community members who are the targets of the coalition.

Ladder of participation

We have taught a whole slew of people that they don't belong at the table.
Besides the experts and officials, people devalue their role and have no voice at the table.

Org needs to prepare itself to moving from seeing what do people do to see that every person becomes an active citizen at the highest level.

one way is leadership development. Teach people to be comfortable and empowered...
Create community outreach workers who go out into the community to find people and bring them in to be part of the effort.

We can't sit passively and expect that because we've created an option, that they're going to come.

Have to bring partners to the table who are there all the way through the process.

The population most at risk on an issue may not be the ones that come to the table.

How do we get t hem to come to the table and be powerful participants.
We have a nation where people increasingly do not participate?

Rob: Why?

Well, we don't want them to. How many times have I gone to a school or " and been discouraged..
We are not creating a population that understand what citizen and understands that they can participate.

You can't leave participation to chance, because half the people will say , "I agree with what the first person says."

You can really start to change people's experience of being in a community, by having their voice heard and being part of a conversation.

Students are treated so badly, so authoritarianly that they suffer from PTSD.
Schools where kids-- black, Latino do better, they and their parents are treated with more respect.

It's not about the capacity... of kids-- it's about the beliefs and expectations.

Six Principles
ENgage the whole community.
Encourage true collaboration
coordinating -- start to modify our activities
cooperating start to share resources- when magic starts to happen
collaborating-- when start helping each other to be the best each can be. When we can do that we've got a revolution our hand.

3 Practicing democracy-- letting everybody have a say -- coalitions meet in a circle. Mayor and residents get same equal treatment

4 use ecological approach that looks at people's strengths
old model is to look at the deficits not strength

Understand indvidual in context of whole environment.
5 Take action and work for social change.
Engaging your spirituality as your compass for social change.

There are very books out on the helping world and spirituality.

6- We never tap into the spiritual purpose and commitment...

Paolo Freiri
The Right Question Project based on Freiri's work.
Lawrence MA, people said, "we don't even know the right question to ask." Taught parents question asking skills."
Every opportunity between a resident and an institution is an opportunity for micro-democracy and questions play a key role.

The community toolbox-- 7000 pages of free, downloadable material, powerpoints.
It's very how-to, written in very basic language
Now, 30-40% of usage is global-- Africa, Asia. has lots of resources.

Society for Community Research In Action

Public Health-- aspects

Community Organizing folks.

Community Development Society.

Community organizing listserve

Some communities are over-coalitioned-- state agencies fund different groups to fund disparate groups-- different coalitions and partnerships-- and they are not often aware of each other.

Siloed-- The way we divide up issues and problems in different "tubes" and separate them from each other.
Silo of domestic violence
Silo of child abuse prevention
Silo of youth services
Those three silos don't talk to each other even though everyone in the community know that the Jones family is a violent family.

Healthy COmmunities-- World health Organization Concept.

Are there ways to get siloed services together.

neal Pierce writes about this.

Obama is tying housing and transportation
Not going to build housing without considering how people get to work, grocery store education, and entertainment.

Asthma team had to be not just medical but housing, education, city planning-- talking about how.

Using internet for collaborative work.

Look up global prize at the toolbox.

Set up wiki system for agency.
google maps.
If you're looking jobs and you're a young person you go there.
There are a couple of dozen sites where people come together to create community change.

Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice e-journal

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Rob Kall is the host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360, where he discusses how the bottom up mind and bottom up revolution are reaching different areas of the world, of life, of politics, business, society and anywhere else.

Rob is founder and site architect of (more...)

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