Downtown Olympia Homeless Youth Engagement Project

From 2014 to 2016, Adam conducted strategic planning, program planning and project management for the City of Olympia and Capital Recovery Center. Working with City staff, nonprofit partners and business owners in the downtown area, Adam facilitated homeless youth outreach forums, community planning events and key informant interviews, developing responsive programs and outreach activities with city staff and others.

 

North Carolina Rural Economic Development Forum Next Generation Initiative
The 2016 Youth Forum was a project Adam led for this consultancy.
Olympia All Youth Forum flyer
The 2015 Youth Forum was a project Adam facilitated for this consultancy.

 

 


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City of Lincoln American Jobs Center

In 2015, City of Lincoln workforce development staff approached me about more successfully reaching the youth they served. Committed to enriching their youth engagement strategies, the City contracted with me to deliver a variety of services.

Between 2015 and 2016, Adam facilitated evaluation and training events for city staff and nonprofit partners, and worked with City staff to redesign and implement a dynamic strategy to engage young people under 25 in workforce development activities. Focusing on client voice, Adam’s strategy created responsive, interactive opportunities for youth and adults to partner together for continuous improvement and extensive community engagement. Activities including program assessment, event facilitation and staff consultation. 

 


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Banner for Student Voice Revolution by Adam Fletcher

Unboxing “Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook”

Yesterday, I got a great package in the mail. Clocking in at 374-pages, Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook is filled with tools, research, examples and more resources for educators, advocates and others who want to foster student/adult partnerships throughout the education system.

Here’s my unboxing of the book. Let me know what you think?

 

 

Order your copy of Student Voice Revolution!

 


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Adam Fletcher Consulting Clients

Adam Fletcher Project Database

This is an abbreviated database of consulting projects Adam has worked on from 1997 through present, listed alphabetically. For more information, contact Adam Fletcher.

 

Past Project Database

  1. National Action For Healthy Kids
    Chicago, Illinois (2008-2010)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Professional Development
  2. Alberta Ministry of Education Student Engagement Office
    Edmonton, Alberta (2010-2012)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Consulting and Speaking
  3. Catalyst Miami/Human Services Coalition of Miami-Dade County
    Miami, Florida (2011-2014)
    Focus: Student Engagement and Education Reform
    Activities: Consulting, Professional Development, Project Development, Evaluation
  4. Center for Studies and Research in Education, Culture and Community Action (CENPEC)
    São Paulo, Brazil (2014)
    Focus: Student Empowerment and Education Reform
    Activities: Consulting and Professional Development
  5. City of Cheney Parks and Recreation Department
    Cheney, Washington (2011)
    Focus: Public Health and Community Engagement
    Activities: Project Planning, Professional Development, Facilitation, Evaluation, Writing
  6. City of Lincoln (NE) American Jobs Center
    Lincoln, Nebraska (2015-2016)
    Focus: Workforce Development and Community Engagement
    Activities: Project Planning, Professional Development and Event Facilitation
  7. City of Olympia Parks and Recreation Department and Capitol Recovery Center
    Olympia, Washington (2014-2016)
    Focus: Community Engagement and Homelessness
    Activities: Project Planning, Event Facilitation, Professional Development and Evaluation
  8. Educational School District 123 21st Century Learning Centers
    Pasco, Washington (2010-2013)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Consulting, Professional Development
  9. Educational Service District 113 The Youth Alliance of Southwest Washington
    Tumwater, Washington (2012-2015)
    Focus: Collective Impact and Student Engagement
    Activities: Project Management and Facilitation
  10. HumanLinks Foundation
    Bothell, Washington (2004-2008)
    Focus: Student Engagement and Education Reform
    Activities: Project Management, Evaluation, Professional Development, Writing
  11. Imagine Miami
    Miami, Florida (2011)
    (Focus: Youth Engagement
    Activities: Professional Development
  12. New York State Student Support Services Center
    LeRoy, New York (2006-2008)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Consulting and Professional Development
  13. North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, Inc.
    Raleigh, North Carolina (2011-2012)
    Focus: Workforce Development
    Activities: Professional Development, Writing and Consulting
  14. Seattle Public Schools Office of Equity and Race Relations
    Seattle, Washington (2006-2008)
    Focus: Diversity and Student Engagement
    Activities: Project Management and Professional Development
  15. Seattle Public Schools Service Learning Seattle
    Seattle, Washington (2006-2015)
    Focus: Student Engagement and Service Learning
    Activities: Project Management, Education Consulting, Professional Development, Student Training
  16. Seattle Public Schools Youth Engagement Zone
    Seattle, Washington (2013-2015)
    Focus: Youth Engagement and Education Reform
    Activities: Project Management, Professional Development, Student Training
  17. Seattle Youth Media Camp
    Seattle, Washington (2012)
    Focus: Youth Empowerment
    Activities: Project Management
  18. Seattle Youth Engagement Practitioners Cadre 1
    Seattle, Washington (2011-2012)
    Focus: Youth Engagement and Nonprofit Management
    Activities: Project Management, Professional Development
  19. Seattle Youth Engagement Practitioners Cadre 3
    Seattle, Washington (2013-2014)
    Focus: Youth Engagement and Nonprofit Management
    Activities: Project Management
  20. Secondary Academy for Success
    Bothell, Washington (2003-2006)
    Focus: Student Engagement and School Reform
    Activities: Project Management, Student Training
  21. Small Schools Project
    Seattle, Washington (2004-2007)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Consulting, Writing and Professional Development
  22. University of Washington GEAR UP Program
    Seattle, Washington (2005-2007; 2016)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Professional Development and Student Training
  23. Village Family Support Services Bureau
    Caroline, Alberta, Canada (1997-2000)
    Focus: Youth Empowerment and Community Service
    Activities: Student Training
  24. Washington State Action For Healthy Kids Coordination
    Chicago, Illinois (2008-2010)
    Focus: Student Engagement and Service Learning
    Activities: Project Management, Student Training
  25. Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction 21st Century Community Learning Centers
    Olympia, Washington (2009-2012)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Professional Development and Consultation
  26. Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Learn and Serve America Program
    Olympia, Washington (2002-2006)
    Focus: Student Engagement and Service Learning; Activities: Education Consulting, Professional Development, Student Training, Writing, and Project Management
  27. Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction School Improvement Program
    Olympia, Washington (2003-2005)
    Focus: Student Engagement and School Reform
    Activities: Project Management, Student Training and Professional Development
  28. Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Title V and Innovative Programs
    Olympia, Washington (2006)
    Focus: Student Engagement and Service Learning
    Activities: Project Management, Student Training, Professional Development and Writing
  29. Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together (YATST)
    Hardwick, Vermont (2009)
    Focus: Student Engagement
    Activities: Consulting, Professional Development, Student Training

 


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Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook by Adam Fletcher

Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook by Adam Fletcher

New for 2017!

Student Voice ​Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook is the brand-new master​y​ book ​focused on student voice, student engagement, student/adult partnerships, and more. 

Containing tons of details, this book is focused on engaging all students in every school as partners in every facet of education for the purpose of strengthening their commitment to learning, community, and democracy. ​There are more than 75 examples from the author’s ​experience and research, as well as literature from throughout education. Never before published tools, new models and useful tips are included, along with more than 300 citations, dozens of recent and historic anecdotes, and ​more.  The book also highlights unique ​approaches, detailed assessments and critical examinations of everyday school activities make this publication ​un​like ​any other available today. This book should be read by teachers, college students, other educators and school leaders and others focused on education transformation. 

Student Voice Revolution is an optimistic, realistic and pragmatic clarion call for the future of public schools in democratic societies. Are YOU ready for this revolution?
 

About the Author

An internationally-recognized consultant and speaker focused on student voice​,​ author​ Adam Fletcher has worked with schools, education agencies, and other organizations across the United States and Canada. ​He is the author the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum, The Practice of Youth Engagement and The Guide to Student Voice. His writing has also been published in education journals and magazines around the world.
 

Title Information


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Purpose, Empowerment and the Experience of Volunteerism in Community

“Volunteerism isn’t right! Matter of fact, it is not good at all.”

With that, the preacher ended his speech, complete with “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” coming from the crowd gathered. I was a 19-year-old at a neighborhood meeting in the mid-sized Midwestern city where I grew up, and my ears were burning. Throughout the meeting I heard several perspectives from my friends and neighbors on the volunteers and missionaries who had come to rehabilitate houses, tutor kids and work at the food bank in my neighborhood.

This preacher was alluding to a belief that I hear repeated in many of the discussions I’ve been in where community volunteerism was addressed: that similar to other “isms” in our society, volunteerism has become an addiction that serves to reinforce the social, attitudinal and structural barriers facing “others” in American society – children and youth, homeless, LGBTQ, differently-abled, people of color. These barriers limit the recipients of said volunteerism in their ability to experience authentic self-driven change in the situations they occupy.

However, my experience has also shown me that there is hope for volunteerism. For the last three years The Freechild Project has operated under the motto of “By, not to; With, not for.” This motto is strengthened by our mission to build active democracy by engaging young people in social change, particularly those who have been historically denied participation.

When the purpose of service and volunteerism is to strengthen democratic participation and community empowerment, volunteerism can be wholly beneficial. As Ivan Illich once observed about international volunteerism, “[Volunteers] frequently wind up alleviating the damage done by money and weapons…” When conducted as part of a deliberately revelatory cycle, volunteerism can become a process for empowerment, as long as it is not at the expense of others’ self-determination.

 


Experience

After growing up occasionally homeless, then in a low-income community where my family and friends were the subject of much volunteerism, I served three terms in the AmeriCorps national service program. I developed a tutoring and mentoring program for Kurdish and Iraqi kids in the Midwest, ran a ropes challenge course for low-income youth in the Northwest, and assisted in the leadership of a service learning program in the Southwest. I know service work, and I promoted volunteerism to all kinds of people. However, my most riveting experience came when I worked for a larger national foundation where I was responsible for teaching young people about volunteering. I discovered that the language of “service” covered an attitude that was pious at best; at worst, it perpetuated a sense of noblesse oblige, the royalty taking pity on the peasants and giving them alms.

My own concern was coupled with others who I met in this volunteering. After several years, I worked with a group of people from across the United States to develop a teaching practice called Activist Learning. After exploring the benefits and faults of service learning, we defined Activist Learning as community learning characterized by people taking action to realize a society based on just relationships by seeking to change unequal power structures throughout our communities. However, after promoting Activist Learning for several years I discovered that there is another need that extends beyond schools and into communities. I see that need as a re-visioning of experience of volunteers.

 


Examination

Below is a model through which volunteerism can start to become emancipatory for ALL of its participants, including the volunteer and the community, the “giver” and the “receiver.” The Freechild Project believes that this model represents the most radical and powerful possibilities for people’s participation throughout our society. One of the goals of The Freechild Project is to realize the full participation of all people throughout society as equal members in decision-making and action. We have developed this model in order to represent our vision of democratic, community-oriented participation for ALL people. Individuals and organizations can use this model to start thinking about how volunteers of all ages can be integrated as empowered, purposeful participants throughout society.

I have re-envisioned sociologist Roger Hart’s Ladder of Children’s Participation for this model. According to Hart, he developed the Ladder to introduce community workers to the practice of children’s participation, and its importance for developing democracy and sustainable communities. The model presented here is done in the same context, except for the purpose of sharing the goal with a broader audience. I believe that the importance of developing democracy and sustainable communities must be spread to all people, including the homeless, the impoverished, and all those regarded as “others” in American society.

 


Ladder of Volunteer Participation

Following is the Ladder of Volunteer Participation, including a brief explanation and examination. In this Ladder, Community Members are “insiders” from any community of people who have been historically been “others” in the United States. Volunteers are “outsiders” who have traditionally come into communities to provide “service.” They may include non-profit staff, AmeriCorps Members, teachers and others.

 

2017 Ladder of Volunteerism
This is the Ladder of Volunteerism, © 2005-2017 by Adam Fletcher.

 

8) Equitable Partnerships with volunteers happen when projects or programs are initiated by community members and decision-making is shared among community members and volunteers. These projects empower community members while at the same time enabling them to access and learn from the experience volunteers.

7) Self-Led Partnerships with volunteers happen awhen community members initiate and direct a project or program, and volunteers are involved in supportive roles only.

6) Equal Partnerships with community members happens when projects or programs are initiated by volunteers but the decision-making is shared 50/50 with community members

5) Community Consultation happens when community members give advice on projects or programs designed and run by volunteers. The community members are informed about how their input will be used and the outcomes of the decisions made by volunteers.

4) Community Assignments happen when someone else creates projects and community members are assigned specific roles and told about how and why they are being involved.

3) Tokenism happens when community members appear to be given a voice, but in fact have little or no choice about what they do or how they participate.

2) Decoration happens community members are used to help or “bolster” a cause in a relatively indirect way, although volunteer do not pretend that the cause is inspired by community members.

1) Manipulation happens when volunteers use community members to support causes and pretend that the causes are inspired by community members.

 

This Ladder isn’t a static tool meant to describe whole programs or the entire experience of individuals. Instead, it is meant to help individuals identify where they are at any given point of their volunteering, and where they can aspire to. People can occupy many spots on the Ladder at the same time; organizations can engage different volunteers differently in order to meet their needs. The Ladder isn’t static.

 


Exploration

While many community organizations seek to “fix” or “heal” the wounds in our society, it has been often noted that rarely are these works more than band-aids. The after school basketball program I ran for young people in my neighborhood when I was 21 did help keep kids off the streets. However, it didn’t help their parents get better jobs so they didn’t have to work two shifts; it didn’t help their grandparents strengthen their parenting skills so they didn’t feel so frustrated; ultimately, it didn’t help the young people learn more skills or become more involved in their community so they felt a sense of hope and purpose.

Volunteerism oftentimes serves to perpetuate the worst of these characterizations, often with negative effects on both the volunteers and the community members themselves. Instead of engaging community members on the top rungs of the Ladder, at most some organizations relegate them to the bottom rungs. How many homeless shelters do you know of that are operated by homeless people? How many afterschool programs for young people do you know of that are operated by young people? In some programs, when the recipients of rehabilitated homes help carry out the framing, plumbing and painting of their homes, are they actually learning about places the water lines and helping to choose the colors, or are they just finishing the nailing?

The challenge of reaching higher rungs on the Ladder of Community Participation is one that faces all individuals and organizations committed to validating and uplifting the skills and abilities of the people who are served, whether they are young people, people of color, or others. However, the reality is that all organizations cannot all be at the top rungs. Sadly enough, when reliant on dysfunctional trends to justify their existence, some groups actually work to keep communities from being on the Ladder at all. That is reality.

 


Conclusion

When considering community members’ empowerment in Brazil, Paulo Freire once wrote “those invaded became convinced of their intrinsic inferiority.” The implication that volunteerism is an engine for a degrading, delineating social design is not new, but the challenge that faces us is: to make volunteerism a relevant, purposeful engine for democracy and sustainable communities today, and by doing so, to create a vibrant, purposeful society tomorrow.
In his book, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community,” published a year before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about what he called the world house. “This is the great new problem of mankind,” he wrote. “We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together — black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu — a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

“All inhabitants of the globe are now neighbors,” King continued, predicting a time in which not only African Americans would be fully free, but peoples suffering discrimination everywhere. “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever,” he wrote. “The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.”

The challenge we face as responsible community workers, educators and other social providers is to build Dr. King’s world house, where he proposed a revolution of values. That is why we must aspire to lift volunteerism towards the poignancy which it could have. That is one where the community and the volunteer work with intention in unity for the common good. That is where I want to live.

 


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Elsewhere Online

  • To Hell With Good Intentions – A 1968 speech by Ivan Illich focusing on the injustice perpetuated by American volunteers working in Mexico, and when contextualized in the light of modern “service” work, offers a startling analysis of the volunteer movement in America.
  • Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? – In 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King laid out a clear analysis of the painful divide facing activists and community organizers. The problem is that we’ve fulfilled his worst fears. 1960s Connections he drew between Black Power, affirmative action and American segregation provide a clear glimpse into modern American apartheid; his prescriptions for community building, nonviolence and unity offer a roadmap for a different America.
  • Mentoring the Mentor – This book is a written conversation between Paulo Freire and a number of promoters, practitioners and detractors who have beef with his analysis. “The fundamental task of the mentor is a liberatory task. It is not to encourage the mentor’s goals and aspirations and dreams to be reproduced in the mentees, the students, but to give rise to the possibility that the students become the owners of their own history. This is how I understand the need that teachers have to transcend their merely instructive task and to assume the ethical posture of a mentor who truly believes in the total autonomy, freedom, and development of those he or she mentors.” (from Chapter Sixteen: “A Response” by Paulo Freire).
  • In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning – In 1994 a pair of university faculty wrote an academic analysis of service learning. They provided a basis for a lot of the modern criticism underway today, and allowed the service learning movement to breathe enough to allow critical thinking within its ranks. While that movement seems to have exhaled lately, Kahn and Westhiemer’s analysis is just as applicable today, and provides a great construct to learn from.
  • Learning Through Activism – The Freechild Project’s action plan for powerful, purposeful learning through social change.  Includes guiding principles and resources for young people, educators and activists.
Definition of youth voice engagement by Adam Fletcher

The Language of Youth Engagement

Its important to remember that words have power. Whether we’re talking with children, youth or adults, we should carefully consider the meanings, definitions and outcomes of the language we’re using. This is especially true of youth engagement.

While teaching schools and nonprofits about youth engagement over the years, I’ve found its especially important to make sure people understand the definitions of three terms in particular: Youth engagement, Youth voice, and Youth/adult partnerships.

  • Youth Voice—Any expression of any young person about anything, anywhere, ever.
  • Youth Engagement—The sustain connections in the lives of young people.
  • Youth/Adult Partnerships—Intentional relationships that embody mutual respect, trust, communication and meaningful involvement.

I wrote these definitions after years of research and practice in communities across the US, Canada and beyond. They matter because they can set a baseline expectation for the experiences of young people and adults who are involved in activities meant to reflect them, and to the community beyond.

You might notice that each definition is vague or ambiguous. That’s intentional. In so much of this work, adults carve out the space, activities and outcomes that are meant to reflect these terms. I find that ironic, if only because each term relates to personal agency; how can we promote personal agency when we’re doing things for youth, like telling them how to express their voices, what to connect with and whether they are in partnerships? I believe its essential for there to be a lot of room on the bottom for the activities, issues and outcomes youth find important. As responsible and responsive adults, there is a time and place to step aside, and defining the implementation of youth voice, the parameters of youth engagement and the look of youth/adult partnerships may be that essential time and place.

I hope you’ll leave me a note in the comments section below and let me know what YOU think!

 

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Order The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher today!
Order The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher today!
This is Adam Fletcher Sasse in 1992 at Omaha North High School.

My Fragmented Youth

In desperate times, people who wanted to serve young people had to name the reasons why children and youth needed their help. It began more than 100 years ago, and continues today: Why should we help these kids? Grant applications, news stories, political campaigns and desperate parents anxiously label, diagnose and otherwise fragment young people.

 

Fixating on Separating

It seems like we’re fixated on fragmented youth. Nonprofits, education and public health have secured billions of dollars over painting children and youth as alternately missing, lacking, avoiding or incapable of being whole, healthy happy people right now.

Instead, these sectors throw young people under the bus everyday in grant applications, media interviews and in briefings to politicians and other decision-makers.

  • Police often believe anyone under 21 can be criminal;
  • Teachers think they’re potential dropouts
  • Public health officials variate from calling them suicidal to smokers to vessels for STDs, and;
  • Nonprofits often paint young people as bored, apathetic and neglected.

Gone are the days when “youth are the future.” Instead, these are the days when youth are hopeless without adult interventions. The ways we’re using these labels makes fragmented youth sound like an eternal reality facing almost every young person, everywhere, all the time.

By portraying children and youth as fragmented, these organizations secure money to serve young people. They earn the largesse of foundations, government agencies and private donors who are anxious about the future, nervous about the present and uncertain about their own kids.

Appealing to the lowest common denominator has an effect on young people. Growing up in special programs for low achievers in school; unsafe car drivers; drug prevention; and other portraits painted by their schools, youth workers and others, children and youth learn to see themselves how adults see them.

 

My Fragmented Youth

When I was growing up, I learned to identify myself as a fragmented youth. Over time, I accumulated these identities:

  • The child of a Vietnam veteran with generational PTSD
  • A border-crosser between Canada and the States
  • An occasionally homeless kid who was very familiar with motels
  • A former country kid
  • A city kid
  • A white kid in a Black neighborhood
  • A Canadian in the U.S.
  • A low achiever in school
  • Someone “who could do whatever they wanted if they just applied themselves”
  • A slacker
  • Busy
  • A low achiever
  • An overachiever
  • Helpful
  • A brother
  • Talented

There were other identities, too. They came from others’ mouths, including my parents, the parents of my friends, teachers, youth workers, pastors, friends, and others I got involved with in different ways. These titles formed my identity, became the messages I told myself and reinforced assumptions I had. Sometimes they startled me, and other times I expected them.

What are the identities you accumulated as a child or youth?

 

Fragmented Youth?

What’s the alternative to fragmenting youth? At a recent national conference, I suggested we can begin by moving toward HOLISTIC YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. In my conception, this approach sees the whole child and the whole youth as being the most important way to position young people. It means no more portraying children as incapable because of their age or youth as needy because of their dreams.

Instead, it means teaching whole young people, everywhere and all of the time. Some of the things we can do include:

  • Enhancing young peoples’ skills of self-engagement
  • Developing their life skills early on
  • Enabling their functional resourcing abilities
  • Fostering substantive decision-making opportunities
  • Increasing the capacity of their economic power, and;
  • Constantly emphasizing family engagement

These steps can allow us to change the world through youth engagement by allowing whole youth development to drive out perceptions. What do you think are the ways to move away from treating young people as fragmented youth?

 

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Adam Fletcher ENGAGE OR DIE! 2016

Engage or Die

Its cliche to say we live in trying times. But suffering is never cliche, and social justice isn’t a fad.

The Challenge

More than ever, people need to connect and make meaning of their own life. If we were merely passive recipients of a pre-made society, we wouldn’t need connections beyond those that are obviously beneficial to us, and any meaning in our lives could be dictated to us from a form.

We’re not just consumers though. Despite what some schools, business leaders and elected officials tell us, our society is not a product for anyone to consume. Instead, we are all actively making our lives right now – no matter what the rat race looks like for any of us.

Unfortunately, that idea of people-as-consumers may be winning right now. We eat food that’s pre-made; memorize lessons from curriculum that’s mass manufactured; follow regulations intended to standardize our everyday lives; and buy things that weren’t made for individuals, but for consumers.

 

Transformation Is Required

More than ever, its become obvious that things have to change. We must engage or die. Over the last decade, I’ve researched engagement throughout our society to learn that the places with the most meaningful, most sustainable connections are the most engaged. I believe we must take action to engage as many people as possible everywhere we can, as often as we can, or we face individual, cultural, and ultimately, social death. The end of our society. The end of our communities. The end of our lives.

Our communities, classrooms, cultures and homes have to be places of active, meaningful and authentic engagement. Our souls must be lifted and our hearts connected through determination and intention, and our volitions need to be called to a higher place. Instead of working from a place of crass consumerism, we should acknowledge the place of movement calling our hands and feet beyond apathy and into action. All of this must be sustained throughout the future of our species.

If we don’t do something different, our hearts will rot on the vine, our muscles will wither from atrophy, and our minds will shrink from starvation. For some people that’s already happened; for others its happening right now. We have to intervene, prevent and empower people to do things differently right now.

Three Crises

There are countless areas where we must connect in our world. Neighborhoods require our attention; governments need us. Faith communities rely on engagement; social change is sacrosanct in my book.

Here are three crises in particular where we face the ultimatum to ENGAGE OR DIE.

  1. Education: If we don’t activate everyoneeverywhere as active learners right now, we face the whole system decimation of education throughout our society. While a lot of attention is given to public schools right now, the reality is that higher education, community centers and nonprofits are suffering right now, and things will only get worse. We must engage in education or we will die.
  2. Family: Our families are suffering for many reasons. A lot of people are talking about the elimination of the middle class and the effects that’s having on families. However, we must also acknowledge the roles of the human family; our larger communities; and the need to acknowledge nontraditional families. We must engage with the notion of family or we will die.
  3. Health: I don’t work out enough. Sure, I walk a lot and eat healthy, stay away from drinking and staying out too late. Our health is a lot more than any of that though: instead, its the ecology that surrounds each of us. Food, water, shelter, sleep and oxygen are essential. The rhythms, cultures, thoughts, emotions and abilities around us are part of our health, too. If we don’t engage in health, we will die.

If you’re interested in having a conversation about what we can do about this, get in touch with me. I would like to facilitate workshops with all kinds of nonprofits, give talks at a variety of conferences, and reach into the hearts and minds of people everywhere who want to engage or die. Contact me for more details.

 

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