Community Circles: Part One

"The reason there will be no change is because the people who stand to lose from change have all the power. And the people who stand to gain from change have none of the power." - Machiavelli

Many of you are familiar with our community gatherings. Our hope at these gatherings is to heal divisions between class and factions of our city and to create opportunity for people of diverse identities to meet, relate, and experience moments of life together that will be remembered. 

In a series of posts, I'd like to start introducing a concept that I think will help us realize the potential within our existing community gatherings and to deepen our existing Advocate/Partner relationships. 

In the above quote, Machiavelli helps us to see why people and families affected disability feel isolated and stuck. People with disabilities usually only have a few people in their lives they can call on when they need help. In most cases, these people are professionals that are paid to be there. There are many reasons for this, including the person’s lack of opportunity for work, access to social or religious groups, or connections with people who share their interests. See our post on Circles of Support. 

There is a chasm between two basic groups of people: those who are walking on "thick ice" and those who are walking on "thin ice." Initiating or joining a Community Circle is a great first step for you to make social change by being social. 

 

What Are Community Circles? 

Community Circles are self-designed collectives made up of Do For One participants. They are organized – based on location, or similar interests, for example – by Advocates, Partners, family, friends, and likeminded people. They focus their time, talents, and resources on connecting vulnerable persons with people who are ready, willing, and able to befriend and support them.

Community Circles are started by thoughtfully recruiting and assembling a balanced guest list of people with and without disabilities, this provides a safe, comfortable environment for networks to form and strengthen. Movie and game nights, karaoke nights, picnics, planning meetings, and special occasions such as birthday or graduation parties are some of their events. Community Circles determine the content, direction, and social character of their efforts, which is essential for their sustainability and efficacy. Community Circles exist within neighborhoods and are encouraged to in influence their community by inclusion. 

Interested in visiting one? CLICK HERE to see where gatherings are held near you. 

Click here for part two on how a Community is started. 

- Andrew