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Question:
I have a 12-year-old nephew living in Haverhill mass who would like to be part of an organization on changing the school system. He feels the school system is outdated, and kids are not being taught skills that would be beneficial to real life situations/jobs, as well as the teaching skills of teachers and children, not being taught in the way they are able to learn well. He would like information on who to write to regarding this and what actions he could take as a 12-year-old kid be it organizations to join, etc..
Answer:

             Some time ago you wrote to us about your young nephew and his desire to change the local school system.  For some reason, this question slipped through the cracks,  and our apologies for that.  But we hope we can partially make up for our delay by offering some comments now.
            We think it’s to your nephew’s credit that he is thinking critically about the school system – or any social institution for that matter.  And it’s possible for many kinds of people to create positive change, definitely including 12-year-olds. If we had more time and space, we could tell you some stories….
           How to do it? Your nephew has options. He can contact his local school committee, meaning that he could write them and/or ask to speak before them at a public meeting. Perhaps he or someone in his family knows a sympathetic school committee member, in which case he could meet with that member one-on-one to get advice before contacting the school committee as a whole.  Or he could make his views known through both print and social media in Haverhill.  Or he could back certain candidates for school committee office. These options are not mutually exclusive.
            In his presentations, it will help your nephew to have very clear, concrete, and feasible suggestions for implementation – he wants to say more than  “the system is outdated”; instead, he wants to say very specifically what needs to be done, and what specific actions (X, Y, and Z) should be taken, ideally supported by factual evidence. And if he’s talking to the school personnel, he wants to ask for a specific response, to guard against his ideas being left to wither over time.
          But his best single option, though, may be to organize.  From a decision maker’s point of view, it’s one thing if a single kid stands up to complain. But if that same complaint is made by a persistent group of students, planning and acting together, who won’t take “No” for an answer, that’s harder to ignore. In community work, there really is strength in numbers.
         If there’s already an active school-reform organization where your nephew lives, great. If not, he might reach out and talk to his age-peers who feel like him, and share ideas and strategies and possible tactics they could engage in, beginnIng in the fall.  Actually, the summer will give him time to do this. It’s not how most kids would plan to spend their summer vacations; but in some ways it might actually turn out to be fun.
             Not to say that any of this is necessarily easy. Creating change often takes real work, and success is not guaranteed; you may fall short.  But if you feel strongly about something, you might nevertheless decide to stand up and speak out rather than remain  silent.
            In addition to these points, some sections in the Community Tool Box may be useful for general ideas on creating change; your nephew (and you) might want to browse through some of these, which can be found through our table of contents.
            We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you.  Thank you for writing to us, and all best wishes for a wonderful summer – and a great school year ahead!

Question Date: اثنين, 03/27/2023
Question:
Hi Community Toolbox! We are planning a piece of action research in relation to sexual gender based violence in Bangladesh and want to include different community representatives on a steering/monitoring/oversight committee and wondered if you have any suggestions on recruiting people to such a committee since the number of potential stakeholders will be quite large?
Thank you.
Best,
Patrick
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box, and please excuse our unforeseen delay in responding to your important and challenging question.   
            From our distance, your recruiting procedures would typically be guided by (1) what resources (people, money, and especially time)   your group or organization has available for recruiting activities; (2) what specific role(s) you would like committee members to play; and (3) how long the project is going to last (will it be a one-time action research study, or do you envision a longer-lasting presence?)
            There are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions; your own answers will depend on what’s going to work best for you in your particular setting; so it will be good for you to be clear on these points before you get in too deeply.
             A possibly useful approach, however, might be to consider a structure or structures where anyone who wants to participate can do so.  You’d have multiple channels, and multiple opportunities for involvement.   
            For example, you could create a bona fide planning or steering committee, with real authority.  (How those people would be chosen is a challenging question in itself.)  And this could co-exist with a larger and possibly more diverse advisory committee/ board, which could reflect the views of more people.  Since Bangladesh is a very big country, you could also help establish regional or even local councils to set local priorities and monitor their implementation.  You could sponsor a series of public hearings in different parts of Bangladesh as well, which could attract still-larger numbers.
            In addition, you could help facilitate ongoing structures where individual Bangladeshi residents could make their feelings known through texts, e-mails, and/or short videos. By so doing you could increase the number of perceived stakeholders, which seems entirely appropriate in that sexual gender-based violence is an issue that should properly concern everyone.  
 
            In other words, by adopting a layered, multi-level, and decentralized approach, you could maximize stakeholder opportunities to participate as well as participation itself.  And the longer-run impact of your project might be greater as well.
 
            What you do with all of that participatory input – how you deal with it respectfully, responsively, and effectively – is of course another story.  A bittersweet irony of community work is that success creates  its own costs.  But that is a question for another day.  For the moment, though, we think you are on the right track.
 
            Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for success as your work unfolds.    
 
 

Question Date: ثلاثاء, 04/04/2023
Question:
Hi crew! I'm a civics coordinator with an environmental nonprofit and we have been working with the office of the Senator that introduced a PFAS regulation bill. We are trying to whip up support through letters of testimony, and I'm hoping to reach out to community members that are affected by PFAS to ask for their supportive testimony. The problem that I am running into is that we want testimony to not sound like it is all coming from the same source. I was thinking about including talking points, but if those are recycled in each testimony, we can risk the quality of testimony, but I also want to make written testimony as easy and enticing as possible. One of my questions is do you all have any resources that I can share with our community on how to best give written testimony, and do you have any best practices as well? Additionally, do you know of any way that we can use AI as a method to create unique testimony - I have been using chat GPT and it works pretty well! Thank you so much y'all.
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box, and please excuse our unforeseen delay in responding to your important question.   
            In general, both our reading of the literature and our experience suggest that testimony, especially written testimony, is more effective when it is (1) short, (2) specific, (3) suggests a specific action, and (4)  asks for feedback.
      The “short and simple” guideline may be good news for you and your supporters, for it means that written testimony need not be difficult to generate.  And this may be even more true in the case of PFAS, since adverse results of PFAS are likely to be long-term, and it may be hard to demonstrate specific and targeted adverse effects, as well as causal linkages. 
            What that means is that supporters needn’t limit their communications to scientific evidence (which, in our understanding, is somewhat mixed). They can instead emphasize the unknowns and the potential risks of PFAS, and suggest that in the presence of doubt it’s best for now to adopt some precautionary standards (i.e., regulations)
and to monitor new evidence as it comes in.
            Beyond that, you can:

  •     Give your target population a long list of talking points, and have them pick one or two to focus on.
  •     Encourage those writing not to avoid feeling and controlled emotion– it’s okay to be frightened about your child’s welfare, for example.
  •    … And also to write in their own words. It doesn’t have to be entirely grammatical, or in Pulitzer-prize-winning prose.  
  •     Spread out your advocacy campaign over time if needed, so that your desired letters will not all come in at once.  

      In addition, if you can find people who can make a credible case that they personally experienced negative effects from PFAS – people who have a compelling personal story – their testimony is likely to be particularly impactful.
            Of course, the effectiveness of your communications will also depend on your audience, in this case the decision-makers who will be reading your testimony.  By now, we’d imagine that you have researched who your audience will be, and have planned accordingly.
 
            Over and above these points, the Community Tool Box offers different resources that may be useful to you as your work continues.  For example, you might look atChapter 33, Section 6, on Using Personal Testimony, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/advocacy/direct-action.The neighboring sections on Advocacy might be helpful as well, as might be Chapter 6, Section 2, on Using Principles of Persuasion.  You can access these by browsing the Tool Box table of contents.
            You can also find multiple other sources on writing effective testimony through a simple online search. One of the better ones we’ve seen comes out of rural Montana, athttp://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.edu/www/wp-content/uploads/Guide-LettersDecisionMakers_FINAL-1.pdf.  This might be a bit too formal for your particular circumstance, but you could adapt it for your own audience.
            As for Chat GPT, we are not experienced enough in its use to make application suggestions here.  But if you have such suggestions of your own, or results to report, we’d certainly like to hear about them!
         We hope these comments might be useful to you. Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for success as your work continues.

Question Date: ثلاثاء, 04/04/2023
Question:
We have formed a group and picked a name and are meeting with the officials advocating for capacity building at our local animal shelter. Do we need to form a legal entity like a non-profit or can we can continue as a group of people just doing stuff?
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box, and please excuse our unforeseen delay in responding to your question.
            It’s excellent that you and your group would like to improve operations at your local animal shelter. Under normal circumstances, there’s no legal requirement that you form a legal entity. But that leads to a different question: Would you be better off doing so? In other words, forming a legal entity might not be necessary, but it might (or might not) be desirable.
            Forming a legal entity can create certain tax advantages for your group.  It can sometimes give your group more community credibility.  And it enables you to apply for federal tax-exempt status, which may be helpful if at some point your group wants to apply for grants.  (Note that not all nonprofits are tax-exempt; that requires a separate application process.)
            The details of how a group like yours would form a legal entity are usually handled on the state level, usually by the Secretary of State’s office in your state’s government. That’s often the best place to find out what your state’s requirements and procedures are, as well as to get some advice that’s particular to your situation.  The officials you are meeting with, depending on who they are, may be able to advise you as well.
             “Just doing stuff” can be excellent, and may certainly be sufficient in itself for you.  Becoming a legal entity might give you some added advantages. Once you’ve learned more, then you’ll likely be better able to make decisions that seem best for you now.  
            Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for success as your work proceeds.

Question Date: اثنين, 04/10/2023
Question:
I am trying to develop an Integrated Prevention Program in a military setting, frames after the public health model of tier 1 prevention. We are trying to assess the current state and build as needed our prevention system - the people, the relationships and infrastructure (specifically data, current policies, current prevention efforts, etc.) I am looking for a structured or semi structured interview tool or assessment tool that our working group can use to capture the information needed to understand our current system and the gaps. We are not even close to a needs assessment. This is literally building our framework system to then build our processes.
Answer:

             Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box, and please excuse our unforeseen delay in responding to your very thoughtful question.
            While we are not able to point you to the particular tool you mention, one general source that may be useful to you is SAMHSA, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, at www.samhsa.gov.  
            See especially their strategic prevention framework, at https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/20190620-samhsa-strategic-prevention-framework-guide.pdf. That guide (A Guide to Samsa’s Strategic Prevention Framework) describes five core components of prevention planning – assessment, capacity, evaluation, implementation, and planning – all of which taken together are believed to lead to sustainability and cultural  competence.
            Samosa may have other useful reports as well, available through searching their main site. Your search there may also lead you to in-house contacts with expertise on your particular assessment-tool question.
           Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for the success of your project as your work unfolds.
 
 

Question Date: أربعاء, 04/12/2023
Question:
Hello,
I am a foster parent of 2 and I would like to open up a Group home "Safe Haven for the children here in MEMPHIS,TN.
I'm looking for advice/support on where to start? Im looking for help with funding as well with licenses/permits
etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box with your valuable question, and please excuse our unforeseen delay in responding to you.  
            We applaud your goal, and the efforts you are making to reach it. And when you ask about how to get started, we would say that you have started already, for one of the first steps in community work is identifying a need you want to fill. You’ve done this.
            But to respond to some of the other points you raise:  
*          Licensing and permitting issues around group homes are usually dealt with on a local basis.  This means it should help you to learn about the Memphis city departments who are responsible for reviewing and approving licensing and permitting applications.  You can find a friendly city official who can explain the local regulations to you, and/or you can find other housing operators in Memphis who have dealt with the same situation, and learn from their experience.
 
*         Many of your potential funding sources will be local as well. Some questions to ask yourself: What does the city budget look like?  What part of the city budget deals with housing, and the type of housing you envision?  Has the city funded projects like yours before?  How can you emulate their success?  How have other group homes in the city created their funding?  Are there special aspects of your project that would make it unique and distinctive from others? Also, what other local sources of funding might there be outside of city government? Can you locate some private philanthropy sources?
            That’s a lot of questions. But again, if you or any of your supporters can develop a personal relationship with a well-placed city official or other potential funder, he or she may help you with these questions, and that can be so worthwhile.
            It would be good to investigate state and federal sources as well. On a federal level, one place to start might be by researching the resources of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in particular its service called HUD USER. Check it out at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/firsttimevisit.html.  For a newcomer to do this may take some persistence, but it may pay off in the long run.
 
*          More generally, it should definitely be helpful to get support and advice from others who have established group homes and safe havens in the city. Seek them out, talk to them, and learn from them.  You may well find that they welcome your interest, because there is plenty of need to go around.
 
*          And it will also be valuable to find others who could work together  with you on the project, to provide both support, ideas, and concrete help. You don’t have to do all the work alone – it’s often more enjoyable and more effective when the work is shared.  Your supporters could become your unofficial advisors, and maybe later serve on your Board of Directors!
 
            In addition, the Community Tool Box offers some general background materials that might be helpful to you.  In particular, you might want to look at Chapter 18, which is called Deciding Where to Start. See especially Section 1 in that chapter, on Designing Community Interventions, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/analyze/where-to-start
            The various sections within Chapter 19, on Choosing and Adapting Community Interventions, should also be helpful, See  https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/analyze/choose-and-adapt-community-interventions.  All of this material – including other Tool Box chapters and sections on funding – can be freely viewed and downloaded from the Community Tool Box table of contents.
            We hope these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for great success in creating a secure and loving home for the many children who need it.
 
 

Question Date: أحد, 04/16/2023
Question:
Hi,
I live in a community-driven neighborhood in San Diego and wanted to contribute to the community building efforts. I was thinking of building a collective problem tree (and subsequently solution tree) to tackle community needs and identify assets and resources by interviewing individuals of this community. I would be posting this community needs assessment online, to raise awareness and try to promote meaningful actionable path to tackle those needs. I want to bring light to needs identified by community members, promote community ownership and mobilization of resources to eventually act upon those needs. I am still working on the questionnaire, do you have any advice by any chance? Thank you
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box, and please excuse our unforeseen delay in responding to your very thoughtful and well-articulated question.
            It’s excellent to hear about your activities and your plans to strengthen neighborhood life where you live. We surely support your goals.   There are many good ideas in what you write, and many of them may work out very  well.
            But you might want to take a step back and a second look at the methods you describe. What stands out most is that you seem to be doing this work all by yourself, where it could instead be more of a community effort. Engaging community members in the design (and, later on, implementation) can be empowering for them, and increase their future buy-in – not to mention that it can take much of the burden off of you!
            Also, when you say you would be posting this needs assessment online, do you mean that the posting would be of the results of the assessment, or rather that the posting would be the needs assessment itself.  If the latter, note that it’s quite hard to get people to answer surveys online, especially those taking more than a minute or two. 
            So we would like to describe an alternative approach, simply for your consideration.
            Rather than start with pre-conceived ideas, such as a Collective Problem Tree.  You could meet with small groups of neighbors, simply to talk about what’s going on the neighborhood and hear what’s on their mind. How do they see the needs (and assets) of the community?  What are they liking, what are they not liking, what issues are most important to them, how should those issues best be addressed, and what might they want to work on together?   Questions like that.
            You’d listen carefully to what they have to say.  And from those discussions, your interventions will emerge.  Maybe what emerges will be connected with your collective problem tree, or maybe not. The key point is that choices will be made by those most affected by them.  This is more of a bottom-up approach, rather than one which seeks to implement a concept from the outside.  It will draw on neighbor participation and contribution from the get-go. It will be more personal. And it may work out better for you and everyone in the long run. Your longer-run goals would not change, but the pathway for achieving them would be different.
            Just something to think about.
            In addition, you may find some useful background materials in the Community Tool Box. For example, you might look at Chapter 3, Section 13, Conducting Surveys, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/conduct-surveys/main, as well as at other topics that may interest you, which you can find by  browsing the Tool Box’s table of contents.
            We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for the success of your project as your work unfolds.
 
 

Question Date: جمعة, 04/21/2023
Question:
Hello,
The Y has been a part of many grass roots coalitions and served as a fiscal agent in cases. Recently we've been asked by two orgs about how we can oversee a local coalition. I'd like to find tools, legal info about what this might look like. We have attorneys who are great at dissecting agreements but I want more general knowledge. Thanks so much, Kim
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box. and please excuse our delay in getting back to you. It’s good that you are interested in tools that may help you and your local coalition, and many such tools do exist.
            The tools that are most appropriate for you will depend on what you mean by “overseeing” a coalition – for example, do you mean direct it (such as by an administrative director), consult to it, advise it, handle its finances, or some combination of these things, or something else? (The legal issues you might best leave to your attorneys.)
             If you are looking for more general information about coalitions, you might consult Chapter 5, Section 5 in the Tool Box table of contents, which deals with on Starting a Coalition. You can find this at  https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/promotion-strategies/start-a-coaltion/main.  Chapter 5, Section 6, on Maintaining a Coalition, may be helpful as well, as may be Toolkit 1, on coalitions, as well.
            We hope these thoughts may be useful to you.  Thanks again for writing to us, and all best wishes for success as your work continues.
 
            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box. and please excuse our delay in getting back to you. It’s good that you are interested in tools that may help you and your local coalition, and many such tools do exist.
            The tools that are most appropriate for you will depend on what you mean by “overseeing” a coalition – for example, do you mean direct it (such as by an administrative director), consult to it, advise it, handle its finances, or some combination of these things, or something else? (The legal issues you might best leave to your attorneys.)
             If you are looking for more general information about coalitions, you might consult Chapter 5, Section 5 in the Tool Box table of contents, which deals with on Starting a Coalition. You can find this at  https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/promotion-strategies/start-a-coaltion/main.  Chapter 5, Section 6, on Maintaining a Coalition, may be helpful as well, as may be Toolkit 1, on coalitions, as well.
            We hope these thoughts may be useful to you.  Thanks again for writing to us, and all best wishes for success as your work continues.
 
            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box. and please excuse our delay in getting back to you. It’s good that you are interested in tools that may help you and your local coalition, and many such tools do exist.
            The tools that are most appropriate for you will depend on what you mean by “overseeing” a coalition – for example, do you mean direct it (such as by an administrative director), consult to it, advise it, handle its finances, or some combination of these things, or something else? (The legal issues you might best leave to your attorneys.)
             If you are looking for more general information about coalitions, you might consult Chapter 5, Section 5 in the Tool Box table of contents, which deals with on Starting a Coalition. You can find this at  https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/promotion-strategies/start-a-coaltion/main.  Chapter 5, Section 6, on Maintaining a Coalition, may be helpful as well, as may be Toolkit 1, on coalitions, as well.
            We hope these thoughts may be useful to you.  Thanks again for writing to us, and all best wishes for success as your work continues.
 
            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box. and please excuse our delay in getting back to you. It’s good that you are interested in tools that may help you and your local coalition, and many such tools do exist.
            The tools that are most appropriate for you will depend on what you mean by “overseeing” a coalition – for example, do you mean direct it (such as by an administrative director), consult to it, advise it, handle its finances, or some combination of these things, or something else? (The legal issues you might best leave to your attorneys.)   Many options are possible and justifiable, so it will help you to first clarify this point for yourself.
             If you are looking for more general information about coalitions, you might consult Chapter 5, Section 5 in the Tool Box table of contents, which deals with on Starting a Coalition. You can find this at  https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/promotion-strategies/start-a-coaltion/main.  Chapter 5, Section 6, on Maintaining a Coalition, may be helpful as well, as may be Toolkit 1, on coalitions, as well.
            We hope these thoughts may be useful to you.  Thanks again for writing to us, and all best wishes for success as your work continues.
 
 

Question Date: خميس, 05/04/2023
Question:
where to find sources in the communities to assist with different needs and maintenance
Answer:

            This is certainly a very big and broad question. There are many such sources, but to get started it might help you to look over the different sections in the Community Tool Box.  You can find these in our Table of Contents, at  https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/promotion-strategies/start-a-coaltion/mainsite, These are all available to you to read and down load without charge.
            The Table of Contents will give you a general idea of what sources might be available; you could then pick out those which are most connected with your own needs and interests.  We wish you much success in finding what you are looking for.

Question Date: ثلاثاء, 05/09/2023
Question:
My research topic is the assessment of practice of social marketing campaign strategy in Ethiopian national blood bank service. What is your advice for me especially the theoretical and conceptual models. And also,the research questions and approaches.
Thanks in advance,
Answer:

          Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box with your important question, and please excuse our delay in getting back to you.
           Your question is of course very specific, and many details of a response would be unique to Ethiopia. But you can find some general information about social marketing in the Table of Contents of the  Community Tool Box, such as in Chapter 45, Section 1, on Understanding Social Marketing, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/sustain/social-marketing/overview/main and in other nearby sections in Chapter 45 as well.  This might be a useful place for you to start; we hope so.  
         Many best wishes for success as your important work proceeds.

Question Date: سبت, 05/13/2023
Question:
Hello, I am looking at using your toolbox in my college course. I was curious when the last time the toolbox was updated? Thanks, Suzanne
Answer:

 
 
            Thank you for writing to us with your question.  Most of the Community Tool Box was written in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We have not engaged in a comprehensive overhaul since then, partly because we have been engaged in other Tool Box projects, and partly because we believe that the general principles of community building and community development hold up well over time.
            On the other hand, we do make updates on a case-by-case basis when we find that a point made in one of our sections is either wrong, misleading, or has been superseded by newer information, as with, for example, social media. Soon we may well need to be writing a module on community applications of artificial intelligence.
            Many instructors like yourself, and myself included, have used parts of the Community Tool Box for college courses. There are also two other options you could consider. One is a Training Curriculum, available in 16 separate modules,  which you can learn more about at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/training-curriculumBut also, just this year we have released a new online training program called   Building Healthy Communities, explicitly designed for college classes, perhaps like your own.  We invite you to take a look at https://training.ctb.ku.edu/wp-content/uploads/CTB-Online-Training.pdf and to see if it might work for you.
            Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for great success in your essential work.

Question Date: خميس, 05/18/2023
Question:
Your website is wonderful ( I have accidentally but fortunately stumbled on)

I work with a century-old global organization, Zonta International (Zonta.org) We aim to build a better world for women and girls.

I am currently looking to expand in Chile and wonder if you have any advisors in that country?

Thank you!
Answer:

            Thank you for your question, Theresa. We have some familiarity with Zonta International, and applaud your efforts. We don’t have advisors physically present  in Chile at the moment (we wish we did), but we will keep our eyes and ears open for contacts that might be useful to you.
        In the meantime, it is always possible for you or colleagues to take advantage of Tool Box materials, most of which are available in Spanish (see the upper right corner of our home page), or to continue to write to us as needed.  
          All best wishes for continued success as your work proceeds.

Question Date: خميس, 05/25/2023
Question:
Hi!

I hope you can enlighten me about the neighborhood beautification project process like to start it. My boss is planning to give back to the community by offering free house exterior painting. He will be fully funding the first project and if everything goes well we will look for a non-profit org to help us out for the future project. I would like to know where to start, what papers/ permits we need, basically the process on how to do it. I hope someone can answer and I would highly appreciate it.

Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!
Answer:

Thank you for writing to us with your very interesting and challenging question. We certainly appreciate and applaud your boss’s generosity in this planned initiative, and applaud your own involvement in it as well.
In response to your questions more specifically:
* Looking for a nonprofit organization that could assume program leadership later on is an excellent idea, and it is never too early to begin looking.
* Any required papers or permits are likely to be issued and governed by your own locality, and may vary somewhat from community to community; so it would be wise to inquire in the appropriate offices in your local city or town hall. You might also talk informally with any local officials you might know who might have locally-based suggestions for you, and be guided by their advice.
* As for where to start, the Community Tool Box offers some general background materials that might be helpful to you, in particular
the different sections in Chapter 19, on Choosing and Adapting Community Interventions, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/analyze/choose-and-a
dapt-community-interventions.) You might take a few moments to review this section, as well as similar nearby sections you can find in our table of contents
In your case, a question that stands out for us is how the program you envision could sustain itself financially into the future. Free exterior housepainting over any period of time would usually be a significant expense; How would you deal with it?
We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thank you again for being in touch with us, and all best wishes for success as your work continues.

Question Date: خميس, 05/25/2023
Question: What kind of community work one can do?
Answer:

 
 
            What kind of community work can one do?  How many stars are in the sky?
          Your question is an important one, because it points to the very wide range of community work that can be done. And the short answer to it  is “many kinds.” 
          Community work starts with a problem, or issue, or simple concern or question you have about your community, or communities in general.  (Perhaps you can already see how wide-ranging the work can be, even at the beginning.)
          The work itself involves finding an answer to your initial concern, that question, and often applying your findings to the community in question, so that you create better outcomes for that community. -   Those outcomes might take different forms, such as improvements in health conditions, better education, more economic opportunities, or a more equitable distribution of resources.   
          In doing community work, a variety of methods are available to you – for example, interviews, questionnaires, observation, experiments, advocacy, and direct action. Specialized training in using these methods and in understanding community life may be helpful to you, depending on your particular interests. Community workers can and do come from many different backgrounds, and can and do pursue many different kinds of training to improve their work -- even though it is still possible to be a very effective community worker with no specialized training at all.  
          Since community concerns vary widely from person to person and from community to community, “community work” takes in a very wide territory. And that means there is an enormous amount of work that can be done to help bring about the world most of us would like to see -- one where everyone’s basic needs are met, where peace and justice prevail, and where everyone has the opportunity to reach one’s full potential.   If you choose a path that involves community work, the chances are you will never be bored!
      When we were starting our own career, we came across this quote from an American social reformer of the 19th century, who said,  “In a world where there so much to be done, there must be something for me to do.”  Do you agree? We believed that then, we still believe it now, and we hope that you will come to believe it for yourself.
          We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box, and all best wishes for success in whatever work you choose to do.

Question Date: سبت, 06/24/2023
Question:
Hi,
My name is Laura and I am currently the coordinator for a sexual assault nurse examiner program. Although the program has been around for numerous years in the community, the number of victims we have attending the hospital for evaluation is very minimal comparatively to the number of sexually violent crimes that occurring in the community.
I am currently struggling to have nurses interested in the program due to the on call portion, and I also struggle to maintain the nurses I have trained because they are not seeing cases often enough to feel confident in this area of practice. Sadly, this has led to victims not receiving the care they deserve because of the lack of on call coverage.
I also feel there is a disconnect between the hospital SANE program and receiving support in the community. I feel that I need to give all resources and counselling in that first initial appointment, because the likelihood of being able to follow up with the victim is minimal. I worry that there is community based services that could be offered, but the patient would have to make the effort to reach out themselves, and they may not be in the place to do so after a traumatic event. And most likely, they will not remember much of the education because these individuals are still in shock from the event that occurred to them.
Lastly, sometimes there is a duplication of services. So for example, if an individual was assaulted and seen by a sane nurse, but also disclosed that they have no where to live that is safe- the sane nurse may try to tackle this instead of social work in the hospital, which is part of their service.
As a fairly new nurse and new to a coordinator role- I want to build a program that is most effective for the community, while not breaching on others job roles, and hoping address some of the services that are missing completely in the community.
Where do I start? How do I become a better leader?
Answer:

 
 
          Thanks for writing to us with your important and challenging question. Of course, we don’t know the details of your community situation, but from our outside perspective we can offer some general comments for your consideration.
           You ask “Where do I start?”, but we would suggest that you have already started, simply by identifying the problem and asking questions about it.  That much in itself is good; so please take credit for that.
          As we see it, much of the problem you identify seems to be a community systems problem, involving not only you but also other service agencies in your community. (E.g., the small percentage of victims you evaluate, the disconnect between your program and receiving support in the community, the duplication of services.)  This suggests that solutions are not likely to come simply from yourself, nor should they. They are more likely to come from these agencies working better together.
            How can that happen?   We don’t know to what extent service agencies in your community have attempted to work together, or what the outcomes have been,  or to what extent they are working together now.  But if  the answers resemble “not very much,” or “not very well,” or “not as much as they could, ” one scenario could go something like this:
       You discuss the situation with your own supervisor, to get his/her perspective on the situation, and the backing to make some inter-agency contacts. Then you talk to a few confidantes in other agencies about the challenges you face – much as you are talking to us – and ask if it would be a good idea if the different parties concerned met to talk about these issues together.
            If they are supportive, even mildly supportive, you then expand the circle to include a larger network of players, with small, informal, one-on-one dialogues on the same topic. By doing so, you aim to get  buy-in for a larger meeting and to lay the groundwork for it.      
        After following this procedure for a while, you decide at some point you are ready to call an inter-agency meeting. You propose an agenda in advance, saying in effect to the group: ”These are the challenges I see; do you see things the same way?; how do you feel about them?: and what can we do about them?  This might be a two-part meeting, the first part focusing on spelling out the problems, and the second on changes you as a group could make to deal more effectively with them.
             That’s the basic framework, which you can adapt to your own setting depending on your community history, your current status, and the idiosyncrasies of your particular situation.   Do you think this might be worth a try?
 
            All that said, a number of improvements could also come about in-house. Some examples: expanded in-service training for your team members;  printed handouts for clients on community resources; establishment of in-house protocols for follow-up.
            There may also be ways to strengthen your own program’s recruiting and retention.  Part of that involves the reward structure, which can be changed though additional salary or bonuses, or payments for on-call contacts – all of course easier said than done. Part of it, though, could involve reframing:  Would it be possible to frame being on-call as more of an honor rather than as an added burden, where only the best get to be chosen as a member of an elite team?  At first blush, this may seem fanciful; but at second thought we wonder… Part of being a coordinator Is to be creative!  
 
            Finally for now, you ask how you can become a better leader -- as if we could add something useful beyond the millions of words that have  already been spilled on this topic. But since you ask, we will try.
            In your situation, to be a better leader may not so much mean  doing anything really differently, but rather more a matter of permitting the full expression of your natural self.  
            That is, in your coordinator role you can allow yourself to be a full person, to let your own uncertainties and vulnerabilities and limitations show.  You communicate, both explicitly and implicitly, that you care deeply about your team, both individually and collectively, and that you are doing the best you can.  You have an inherently difficult job, even though you chose it, and if everything you do is not done with brilliant competence or accompanied by perfect sensitivity, that’s okay.   
            Going a step further, your job not only allows you to put your full self on display, but also your best self, the kind of self you would like to be in any case – a kind, trustworthy, and compassionate person of great integrity, one who models the spirit they’d like to convey, one with high devotion to your team as a whole and to your broader cause.  
            Not all jobs make that possible; in that sense, your job is a privilege. So why not take advantage of it? 
           We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thanks again for writing to us, and all best wishes for success as your work continues.

Question Date: ثلاثاء, 06/27/2023
Question:
My name is Maddie Krause and I am reaching out regarding a research project I am doing for my Nursing Master's program. I am looking into e-cigarette usage within the pediatric population (ages 18 and below) within the St. Louis area. I was wondering if I could be put in touch with someone to conduct an email interview with some questions around this topic. Thank you in advance for your help!
Answer:

 
               Thank you for writing to us. As we are not based in the St. Louis area, we are not personally familiar with the local scene. But we have been in touch with a colleague who does live there, and who is a pediatric health professional; she would be glad to hear from you.  We will send you her contact information in a separate e-mail, offline. 
            In the meantime, FYI, the Community Tool Box does contain information on how to conduct interviews that might be of interest to you. Specifically, you might benefit from reviewing Chapter 3, Section 12, on conducting interviews, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/conduct-interviews/main, as well as other sections in Chapter 3; you can find these in the Community Tool Box table of contents.
            Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for successful completion  of your research project, and beyond.

Question Date: خميس, 06/29/2023
Question:
Is your toolkit for module 7, Developing an Intervention, the same as the project management cycle? For example, if I want to help increase transportation access for low-income immigrants in my community so they can get to the clinic, should I start with module 7?
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us with your question. The Community Tool Box does contain many resources that may be helpful in addressing the issues you are dealing with.  One of them, as you mention, is Toolkit #7, and this is a reasonable place to start.
            There are other options too. For example, you mention the project management cycle, and the Tool Box resource that comes closest to that is found in Chapter 2, Section 13, on Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships. But we think you might also benefit from reviewing Chapter 17, Section 3, on Defining and Analyzing the Problem,  as well as Chapter 24, Section 7, on Developing and Increasing Access to Health and Community Services, which may speak more specifically to your particular concern. You can find links to these and other sections in the Community Tool Box table of contents.  We encourage you to take a look and focus on that material that speaks most directly to you.
            The basic procedure for addressing issues such as yours is not difficult to state. At its bare-bones essence, you want to describe the situation as it is now (A), describe your desired outcome (B), identify the available options for getting from A to B, and choose that option (or options) with the greatest likelihood of success. Of course, those who are most affected by the issue (in your case, the immigrants you mention) must be closely involved in this process throughout.
            Easy enough to say. The difficulty often arises because advocates (such as yourself) don’t take sufficient time to problem-solve in a logical and systematic way. Taking the time to think, to sketch out ideas, to share them with colleagues, and to revise and refine before acting is usually time well spent.  We recommend you follow this procedure, over and above any sources you might read, including our own.
       Which is not to say we don’t also recommend our own Tool Box materials!  We hope you find these thoughts to be useful, and wish you every success as your work continues.

Question Date: سبت, 07/15/2023
Question: how to solve shortage of water in the community
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box.   As you probably know, there will rarely be simple or easy solutions to this kind of problem. Our lives are shaped by natural forces, and there are limits to the control we have over nature.
            In addition, water policy is largely determined on a national level, rather than by each individual community.  But in community work our focus is on what we can do, not what we can’t. And we are not powerless, even on a local level, and even in the face of life-threatening problems such as water supply.
            To the extent you have not done so already, it will first help to gain clarity on the specific source or sources of the problem, through research, inquiry, and/or reflection.   A next step is to identify the options available for addressing it.   Then one chooses that option or options which seem the most likely to succeed, given the resources that you and your community have available.  After that, one plans a strategy to achieve chosen options. Finally, one acts to implement the plan.  It’s best to do this analysis together with colleagues, because your analysis will be then strengthened by incorporating the perspectives of others.
            In other words, we advocate a logical and systematic analysis of the situation as a prelude to action in many problem situations, even if that analysis may require research, thought, and time. This is one way to use the power we already have. And in the long run, we believe this type of approach is well worth the effort.
            Even then, though, there is of course no guarantee that the solutions agreed upon will be effective, or that they will solve the problem on their own. But more often than not they should help. And by adopting this approach, other possible solutions may appear.   
            Because we must limit the length of our response, what we’ve said so far is simplified and does not cover all details. But you can learn more from the various materials available in the Community Tool Box. For example, you might benefit from reviewing the different sections in Chapter 17, on  Analyzing Community Problems and Solutions, which can be found at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/analyze/analyze-community-problems-and-solutions. See especially Section 3, on Defining and Analyzing the Problem.  
            Another helpful source is Toolkit #7, on Developing an Intervention, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/developing-intervention. You can find links to these and other sections in the Community Tool Box table of contents.  We encourage you to consult them, to browse the Community Tool Box table of contents, and to utilize or adapt those materials that seem most useful to you.  
            We hope these thoughts may be helpful. Thank you again for being in touch, and we send best wishes as you and your community continue to work on this challenging problem.

Question Date: خميس, 07/20/2023
Question:
Hello,
my Name is Hanna and I'm currently writing my master thesis about facade greening at schools. The main part will be a constellation analysis to identify actors, their interdependencies and aspects/ obstacles which curretly interfere a wider implementation. After conducting expertinterviews with all actors I would like to diskuss the finalizes draft of the constellation analysis with the actors and at the same time create a closer understanding for one another and their perspective. There will be an action day from another project where all actors will be invited, but i only have a small timeframe to discuss my draft. So im struggeling with the choice of the right participation format/ discussion method. I was already considering a fishbowl, but it might be not the best choise as there are different dominances of actors like for example employees and their superiors, Due to the time shortage i also thought about a whiteboard to present the draft and collect feedback via an online tool, but in this case the discussion between the actors and the exchange will be lost. I would be very greatful for any kind of advise! Best regards, hanna
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box with your question.  We think we understand the choices you need to make, and in this case we agree that your choice may not be an easy one.
            Normally, we do believe in the great value of in-person discussion, because that is where the impact of your research is likely to be generated and felt. That is, you probably want the actors to incorporate  what they have learned into their everyday work after you have left the scene, and it helps if when they can collectively agree, face to face, to adopt or re-affirm certain practices, standards, or values.
          But we also understand your point about different dominances of the actors.  Are these strong enough to seriously inhibit the open discussion you want?  On that point, you would know better than we do. We can’t judge this from here.
           If you do use an open discussion method like the fishbowl, would it help if people were prepared and encouraged in advance to speak freely on this occasion, to accept any critical comments that might be made as part of the process, and to set the stage in advance for an open discussion?  We’re not sure. In any case, creating a climate for open discussion is a good idea.
       On the other hand, if you feel the effect of different dominances would be so strong as to significantly prevent open discussion, that would be a reason for using an online data collection method such as the whiteboard you mention, even though, as you say, the open discussion would be lost.
       But is there another option?  We also wonder if you might find a way to  combine your methods, such as by presenting the whiteboard material first, collecting online reactions, and then sharing the results of that data collection in an open in-person discussion. Would that be possible within the time frame you have?
            We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thanks again for being in touch, and we send all best wishes for success with your project work and thesis.

Question Date: أربعاء, 08/09/2023
Question:
I'm working on a research project thru the Black Researchers Collective in Chicago. I've been assigned the Chicago-based neighborhood of South Chicago and need an Assest Map for it.
Does one exisist already? How does one find existing asset maps for various neighborhoods in America? I'd assume that they exist already as they are important, necessary and take time to complete. So do you know where I can find an Asset Map of the South Chicago neighborhood in Chicago,Illinois?
Answer:

            Thank you for writing to the Community Tool Box with your question, and congratulations on your assignment.
            We are not aware of an existing general asset map for South Chicago, or of any general source for neighborhood asset maps across the country. But since we are based in Kansas rather than Chicago, it’s possible that there might be one we don’t know about. Probably the best way to find out is to check with local neighborhood  leaders and other neighborhood sources directly.
            There are also two Chicago-area organizations that might well know more than we do about this, since they are closer to the situation. One is the Asset-Building Community Development Institute, based at DePaul, which promotes asset-based programs in general.   See https://resources.depaul.edu/abcd-institute/Pages/default.aspx  The other is MAPS Corps, which emphasizes training youth as data collectors throughout a neighborhood. See https://mapscorps.org/
            These organizations might be able to help you in other ways as well.  Of course, you could also try a simple web search for “South Chicago asset maps”  and see what you come up with.
            If you can’t find the map you want, then you have the option – and the opportunity – to create a map of your own. As you suggest, these can take time to complete. And we don’t know how that would fit with the agenda of the Black Researchers Collective.
            But on the other hand, creating your own map could be an excellent experience for the neighborhood, as well for you personally.  If neighborhood residents were to participate with you in the mapping process (as we think they should) that could empower them to think about the strengths of their own neighborhood  in ways they might not have thought of before, and to trigger actions building on those assets that will improve their neighborhood quality of life.  
            In other words, map development can be a community building process in itself.  (And it can also be a fun thing to do!)
            If you head in that direction, there are many sources you could consult.  One source is the Community Tool Box itself, in Chapter 3, Section 8 of our Table of Contents, on Identifying Community Assets and Resources, at  https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/identify-community-assets/main.
            And here are some other how-to-do-it sources you could examine, going from simple to more complex:
            From the Center for Justice Innovation:   https://www.innovatingjustice.org/sites/default/files/documents/asset_mapping.pdf
             From a health policy center at UCLA:   https://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/2023-08/tw_cba20.pdf
            From Palm Beach. Florida:    https://discover.pbcgov.org/ocr/PDF/REP/Module_5-Asset_Mapping_and_Neghborhood_Plans.pdf
            Take a look if you are able, and adapt what you like to your own neighborhood setting.
            We hope this much might be helpful to you.  Thanks again for being in touch -- and all best wishes for great success in your project.

Question Date: أربعاء, 09/13/2023

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