New COMM-ORG paper: A Collective Recruitment Plan is Needed for Community Organizers

colist at colist at
Fri Dec 30 16:19:35 CST 2005

[ed:  the paper mentioned by Cheryl is not up yet, but will be soon.]

From: "Cheryl Honey" <wecare at>

I appreciate Joe's thought provoking paper and agree with many of his
observations. I've been working in the field of transformative community
building for the past decade at the grassroots level. I pioneered Community
Weaving over the past decade to address many of the issues Joe brings to

Community Weaving is a social change methodology gives form to the
grassroots to enable interdependent functioning among individuals and
systems, unfettered by bureaucracy, politics, religious doctrine, racism, or
socioeconomic status. This transformative community building approach weaves
a multi-cultural community tapestry through social networking,
transformative leadership, service learning, asset-based community
development and participatory democracy practices resulting in a village
effect. The methodology transforms communities into highly productive living
democracies that thrive based on cooperation, trust, equity, respect, shared
values and a common purpose.

As citizens engage in activities they are passionate about, they
self-organize and engage in activities to leverage change. They learn
valuable community organizing skills in the process. The technology we use
enables citizens to connect to one another to create a system of support and
spearhead community organizing initiatives in their neighborhoods,
communities and workplaces. This system of support is an important aspect of
Community Organizing that no one has addressed.

John Dewey, a leader of democratic practices said, "Unless local communal
life can be restored, the public cannot adequately resolve its most urgent
problem, to find and identify itself."

I recently wrote a paper on Community Organizing: Past, Present and Future.
It might be on the comm-org website somewhere. There are diverse approaches
to Community Organizing. Saul Alinski's approach leverages change through
the use of power; John McKnight, Asset-Based Community Development,
leverages change through assessment and mobilization of strengths and assets
to foster change; Jim Diers, Seattle's ex-Director of Neighborhoods created
a Neighborhood matching fund to engage citizens in organizing their own
neighborhood improvement projects and providing funding and staff to help
them succeed. What I focus on is mobilization of citizens in a collective
effort to be the change they want to be on many different levels. (Ghandi
originated the idea and we incorporated technology to make it feasible for
people to connect, organize and engage).

Community organizing has a myriad of objectives and purposes. It impacts
lives and communities in many different ways and on many different levels.
By enabling people to connect with others who have organized successful
campaigns around similar issues is a great way to mentor others. Creating
the means for them to share materials/resources, in lieu of wasting
resources by recreating the wheel is what we are creating on our the new
Community Weaving website that will be launched February, 2006.

The Family Support Network is the organization that was born out of
Community Weaving practices. You can view the website at (This site is being upgraded and some pages are still
under construction.)

What is needed is access to a pool of experienced organizers that can be
searched via location, skill set and experience. Is there a website that
exists to access Community Organizers? I live in the Seattle area. It's rich
with activists or organizers. It is challenging however, locating organizers
and matching them to citizen groups who want to spearhead change projects.

Anyone have any ideas about the best way to locate organizers in communities
around the country who would mentor them?

We might want to address this topic in a series of steps. Let's find out
who's out there that has experience and pool all these resources. Then make
these folks easily accessible to everyone. Then allow them to self-organize
and create learning opportunities to pass on their skills and mentor others.

Just some ideas to through into the pot.

Cheryl Honey, C.P.P.
Community Weaver
Family Support Network

Note: Community Weaving is being published in the new Change Handbook,
published by Barrett-Koehler, San Francisco. The Change Handbook has over 60
methodologies to instigate change. It's a great resource!

>> I am very pleased to announce the availability of:
>> "A Collective Recruitment Plan is Needed for Community Organizers"
>>     by Joe Szakos
>> Having worked with both national organizing networks and local 
>> community organizing groups, I know how difficult it is to recruit 
>> organizers for this vey difficult work.  Joe's paper takes on this 
>> difficult issue, exploring both the problem of organizer recruitment 
>> and some options for confronting it.
>> You can find Joe's work at the COMM-ORG "Papers" page, in the 2005 
>> section:
>> I hope that this work inspires some discussion.  Authors contribute 
>> writing to COMM-ORG in the hopes of getting comments, so please feel 
>> welcomed to contact Joe directly, or discuss his work through the list.
>> Thanks so much to Joe for contributing this work.
>> Randy Stoecker
>> moderator/editor, COMM-ORG

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