In order to have each individual understand community organizing, it must begin with the understanding of those people that live in that community. Our introduction into the lives of the San Miguel community began this week. We read many articles that encouraged us to have discussions about community outreach and our involvement in this program. Each article, a little different from the one before, expressed ways to look at both the assets of the community, and the individual skills that each person can provide.
There is a trend that focuses on listening to the citizens in the community and immersing yourself in their culture. Suzie Boss discusses in the article, Amplifying Local Voices, that one important factor is the “micro-narrative.” These are the conversations that are found in line at a local store, or around a campfire at night. These small “stories” provide valid information about the community and what are the issues on peoples’ minds. Since San Miguel is such a small community, these conversations, whether it is with you or other people in the community, are important in order to interpret their views on our progress with the Kalu Yala outreach/education programs.
The progress is not only with the adults but also shown through the reactions of the children in San Miguel. John E. Walker wrote an article discussing how focusing on community assets and building on those is useful. My focus for the Education program is to take over the program that Lily Binner began in the summer. She was able to find an activity, soccer, which the children were interested in and gave them an incentive to finish their studies before practice. Soccer allowed the children to be involved in an organized after-school activity while focusing on a skill that they enjoyed and can use in the future. The success of the program allows for future planning and expansion to other neighboring communities.
This expansion of the after school soccer program will create a greater sense of community with surrounding towns. This can help expand the ideas of Kalu Yala and allow our program to begin to listen to the people that are not just in San Miguel. This aspect will create a better understanding of a greater number of individuals which can only help our mission for the outreach program.