Project Title

Listening Sessions: A Bridge to Trust and Change

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

WCHHS - Social Work and Human Services

Faculty Sponsor Name

Darlene Xiomara Rodriguez

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Constituent relationships, both beneficiaries and contributors alike, are integral for nonprofit success. When these relationships do not occur within the area of service, organizations are built upon fragile foundations and therefore lack the ability to develop trust with established residents and community members. A way to create trust and community participation is to gain an understanding of what potential clients need or desire. A technique that is often used is Listening Sessions. Listening Sessions are a type of public forum that allow a safe space for open dialogue where community members are able to use their voices and unique perspectives to reveal positive and negative aspects within the community and in turn help pilot positive change.

Bartow Family Resources Kingston branch implemented Listening Sessions to bridge the gap between foundational community involvement and the perceived need of services. Research from a literature review concluded that community development does not exclusively depend on the knowledge of resources and services that are available, but “more in the development of concrete capabilities and positive freedoms” that allow community members an avenue of participation in “social, economic, and political transactions”. By providing this space for individuals to state their own priorities and values, it would “lead to their increased ownership of the process of change, making it more sustainable and relevant to their realities” (Moreno, Noguchi, & Harder, 2017).

This project reports on the pilot Listening Session produced by Bartow Family Resources Kingston branch before it was formally introduced to the community in April. To inform this project, data was retrieved and analyzed from surveys given to the organization beneficiaries, a Kingston Community Leaders meeting, and the Listening Sessions. By recognizing the community members as the experts, empowering their voices, and learning each of their unique passions and capabilities, this will produce essential and fundamental relationships in the community, while determining what kind of programs and resources Bartow Family Resources Kingston branch should offer.

Project Type

Poster

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Listening Sessions: A Bridge to Trust and Change

Constituent relationships, both beneficiaries and contributors alike, are integral for nonprofit success. When these relationships do not occur within the area of service, organizations are built upon fragile foundations and therefore lack the ability to develop trust with established residents and community members. A way to create trust and community participation is to gain an understanding of what potential clients need or desire. A technique that is often used is Listening Sessions. Listening Sessions are a type of public forum that allow a safe space for open dialogue where community members are able to use their voices and unique perspectives to reveal positive and negative aspects within the community and in turn help pilot positive change.

Bartow Family Resources Kingston branch implemented Listening Sessions to bridge the gap between foundational community involvement and the perceived need of services. Research from a literature review concluded that community development does not exclusively depend on the knowledge of resources and services that are available, but “more in the development of concrete capabilities and positive freedoms” that allow community members an avenue of participation in “social, economic, and political transactions”. By providing this space for individuals to state their own priorities and values, it would “lead to their increased ownership of the process of change, making it more sustainable and relevant to their realities” (Moreno, Noguchi, & Harder, 2017).

This project reports on the pilot Listening Session produced by Bartow Family Resources Kingston branch before it was formally introduced to the community in April. To inform this project, data was retrieved and analyzed from surveys given to the organization beneficiaries, a Kingston Community Leaders meeting, and the Listening Sessions. By recognizing the community members as the experts, empowering their voices, and learning each of their unique passions and capabilities, this will produce essential and fundamental relationships in the community, while determining what kind of programs and resources Bartow Family Resources Kingston branch should offer.