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.  Continue reading