15 Participants Explore Real-Life, Academic Experiences in Community Development

on November 23 | in Celebrate Clarkston, Community Engagement, Events, News/Updates | by | with No Comments

The pulse of a community involves numerous people working together in synchronicity.  This working together involves many intricate systems that are part of the whole, but such systems often follow their own mysterious cadence.
On November 18, a group of 15 people embarked upon a 5 day journey to explore these systems that are woven into the fabric of our communities.  Sessions covered the economy, the environment, government, and community. Local Clarkston residents participated and shared their experiences with people from as far away as Kentucky and Arkansas.
A highlight of the Academy was a day spent in the field at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, where food bank employees gave Academy participants a real-life look into food systems and how they affect community.  Food Bank Founder and Executive Director, Bill Bolling, shared real-life experiences with participants.
Sushma Barakoti facilitates a discussion on Participatory Action Research.

Sushma Barakoti facilitates a discussion on Participatory Action Research.

In addition to discussing tangible systems, participants dove into some hard-hitting social systems that deeply affect community.  On Thursday, the group explored discrimination.  On participant said, “I’ve been to a lot of conversations on discrimination, but this one was just …wow. This was it. Normally we’re just pussyfooting around trying not to hurt each other, but we just addressed that and kept right on going. Wow.”

A series of 16 practitioners and community development professionals facilitated these sessions through the week.  In addition to CDF staff, the facilitators included:

  • Jon Abercrombie, Director of Common Focus
  •  Sushma Barakoti, Research Marketing Analyst
  • Keith Barker, Clarkston City Manager
  • Bill Bolling, Founding Director of Atlanta Community Food Bank
  • Caitlin Childs, Community Organizing Director of GA Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Johanna Reed Adams, Community Development Leadership State Specialist
  • Janice Giddens, Nutrition and Wellness Program Manager of ACFB
  • Chris Morris, Director of Dekalb County Community Development
  • Michael Rich,Emory Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies
  • Jon West, Community Building Manger of ACFB
  • McKenzie Wren, Director of the Clarkston Community Center
Participants discuss community visions.

Participants discuss community visions.

CDF is grateful to have partnered with the University of Missouri to offer the Community Academy curriculum.  Many thanks go to the facilitators of the course for sharing their knowledge and learning with the participants.

Look for the next Academy in June 2014!
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