Listening to the Community

Summer of Solutions Ithaca continues to be hard at work with both fundraising and program development. It’s been a busy month for us… we’ve spent late nights furiously typing away on google docs for a grant application, spent hours on conference calls figuring out programming and application criteria, and tossed emails back and forth about housing decisions.

After spending many hours together trying to articulate our personal visions of program outcomes, key learnings, and goals for the project, we realized that our program and our community could benefit from a youth listening project. A listening project is a powerful organizing tool for nonviolent social change. A listening project builds trust and channels of communication within a community. It is a positive and sustainable form of community engagement that strengthens the ties people have to each other. It makes our communities more resistant and resilient to threats and injustices. By conducing a listening project and training for it in conjunction with our training institute, we can lay the groundwork for young people to engage in our community for future projects, actions, and communications around hydraulic fracturing, race, class, and other difficult topics. 

We’re continuing our process of action and reflection- turning to each other and our program partners for advice, coaching and reflection of our goals and ideas.  We’re also beginning to see our own limitations and the limitations our collective capacity and assessing what is a priority. This conversation is starting and we believe that it is important in combating the stress and sense of being overwhelmed that many of us are feeling as summer quickly approaches.

1A few things we’re working hard on this month are: housing for summer, recruitment and applications, promoting our indiegogo (, and finalizing the details for our programming.

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