It starts simply by asking members of a community:
1) what do you need us to know?
2) what do you want to know from us?
3) what might you as a community do to stay safe, resolve the issue at hand?
This beings a conversation between equals and transforms what will happen next. The community members are the experts and we are their guests, even in the most dire of circumstance. And, we acknowledge that we must respect the community members’ unique knowledge of their own resources and expertise.
This is true everywhere we have worked. A community invites us in and asks for some help from us. Its about listening, actively and out-loud, without our own agendas getting in the way. For those of us who use the Focusing technique, we recognize that a community, like an individual, heals when it has been fully listened to. Community members know the pain they have struggled with and someone in their midst has already found appropriate and healthy solutions. It becomes our job to help them locate these people and resources.
So each member of the Focusing Initiatives team starts each community project with the questions noted above.
That begins the conversation. Each community takes positive and healthy actions.
From experience, we know that communities can respond practically and quickly to major crises and, with minimal training and maximum respect, when they can connect with their inner sources of resilience. Our programs illustrate the importance of community-based approaches that are locally initiated and honor local norms and values.
And in the end, we always learn from them as they share their experiences and their successes.