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Section 6. Some Core Principles, Assumptions, and Values to Guide the Work

What do we mean by values, principles, and assumptions?

___Values are the deeply held beliefs about how the world should be that provide our guidelines for living and behavior.

___Principles are the fundamental scientific, logical, or moral/ethical “truths,” arising from experience, knowledge, and (often) values, on which we base our actions and thinking.

___Assumptions are the next level of truths, the ones we feel we can take for granted, given the principles we have accepted.

Core values of the Community Tool Box

___Everyone in a community has a right to a decent quality of life.

___Everyone is worthy of respect and equal consideration.

___Any community work or research should have the ultimate aim of being useful in improving people’s lives, particularly the lives of those most in need and/or least powerful.

___Racism and bias – because of religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, etc. – have no place in a civil society.

___Fairness demands that everyone affected by research or by an issue – all stakeholders – should have the opportunity for either direct participation or representation in planning, implementing, and analyzing the resulting research or intervention.

___This work isn’t about power or turf, but about the public good.

Core principles of the Community Tool Box

___“Fair” doesn’t mean that everyone gets the same thing; it means that everyone gets what she needs.

___Community work is far more likely to be successful if it involves all stakeholders from the very beginning.

___Leadership from within the community should be encouraged and nurtured.

___Community work takes careful planning at every stage of the process.

___Evaluation is absolutely necessary, and useful in many ways, although probably most useful as a tool for improving your effort.

___Outcomes matter.

___Time is of the essence.

___Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

___Make sure that your funding and other resources are adequate for what you’re trying to do.

___Community action should take place at the level and time to make it most effective.

___Community intervention should be replicable and sustainable.

___Community work is never done.

___Don’t lose sight of your vision, your principles, and your values in the struggle to get things done.

___The real goal of community work is positive social change.

Assumptions of the Community Tool Box

___Just about everyone wants what’s best for the community.

___Once people understand others’ circumstances, they’re usually willing to help.

___If people are treated with respect, they usually respond the same way.

___Coalitions, partnerships, and collaborations are built one relationship at a time.

___People have to believe something is possible before they’ll work to make it happen.

___People working together are better off and more successful than people working alone.

___The world isn’t perfect; this work is necessary to create positive social change and make it a better place for everyone.

Phil Rabinowitz