When Issues Become Assets

With the South Sherman Hub we are learning about Asset-Based Community Development and the work of John McKnight. The idea here is that you engage residents to focus on the good things in the neighbourhood. I imagine that ultimately, all these good things and people being engaged around some central principles makes it a lot easier to tackle the hard things when need arises.

The South Sherman Hub, like several other Hubs in the Hamilton area, has received support from the Hamilton Community Foundation and part of our communication with them about the results of that support involves filling out an annual report.

We have had an interesting evaluation process whereby the foundation engaged the Hub members in creating a suitable forum for feedback. Hopefully this will ensure that we are measuring what we are actually trying to accomplish and not some standard goals that have nothing to do with our activities.

My favourite question, of course, was “Do you have a favourite Hub story that you’d like to share?” Here’s mine:

Attitudes Change When Issues Become Assets
While setting up for the neighbourhood street sale and BBQ, I spied an empty driveway that would be perfect for the BBQs. “How about there?” I asked a neighbour, “do you know them?”

“Forget it, they are renters,” was the reply. For a minute I wondered if that meant that they were not allowed to use the driveway. Then I realized that what it meant. I have been trying to bust a few stereotypes whenever this comes up by reminding people that “I am a renter!” but we had too much to do for one morning so I left the neighbour to get her own things done. Later that day in the thick of the fray, we spoke again and she said to me, “ I met those people after all – they are really cool!”

I think that this would not have happened without conscientious community-building efforts, and a casual, low-stakes environment like a neighbourhood fair.

Kudos to you ABCD people!


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