I am a long time community builder and I am afraid to walk up and talk to a stranger on the streets. It is only human to feel afraid. What if the person ignores me or even worse, gets angry at me? What if the person needs something I cannot provide? What does this person think about people of my color and age and gender? What will they think when they find out that I do not live in this community?
This summer, Trusted Space Partners had the privilege of supporting an amazing team at Boston Rising, an innovative new foundation which seeks to eradicate poverty in the Boston area, in designing and implementing a campaign to engage the residents of the Grove Hall neighborhood. Check out a description of the campaign and it's purpose : http://bostonrising.org/what-we-do/q/.
As we approached the first day of guiding a team of staff and summer interns on the streets, I felt the same old fears creeping back in - and my role on this team is to help quell the fears. Of course, five minutes into the first conversation with a new person (along with my Q campaign teammate) I was reminded that most people love to share their thoughts, be listened to and feel connected to others, even as they are rushing to accomplish their daily tasks. I was also reminded that we (the Boston Rising Team) did a good job in providing the core ingredients needed for authentic and successful conversations on the street - ingredients needed to help overcome the fears of the person reaching out and the fears of the newly engaged person. We will be continuing to reflect and share our learnings from the Q campaign with you, but here is an initial list of these core ingredients:
Frankie Blackburn, Trusted Space Partners
Trusted Space Partners is a team of experienced community developers and designers who are supporting collaborative community change initiatives all over the United States.