Monday, June 13, 2011

Glimspe of the Future By Looking at the Past

Recently, I had the opportunity to check out a long standing community partnership/coalition in the Bronx as saw firsthand where many of the new group want to end up.  On a sunny and warm afternoon in a quiet and very unassuming building, close to twenty people representing a wide variety of community interests and institutions attended their last coalition meeting before summer break.  Surrounded by shelves filled with materials from several Evidence Based Practices they have implemented in the community, the members of the Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership (TNCAP)  brainstormed ideas on where to conduct a community survey around underage drinking; listened to the local precinct representative report on staff changes that could affect their crackdown on C-summons distributed in the area, and recounted some of the great work that had been accomplished over the winter months such as a Bottle Tagging Campaign during the Holiday season.

As a partnership with more than a decade working together, I was amazed by the genuine enthusiasm shown by its members, many of whom were involved since its formation in 1999.  Despite working independently in local schools, organizations, and civic areas, the members still shared a sense of camaraderie in sharing information and thoughts about how they could make a difference in the community.  As members shared a list of upcoming events, others offered their help and support, saying they would try their best to attend.  It was the air of true friendships and relationships that comes from individuals working towards a common goal.

As I travel across the city and observe new partnerships struggling with the challenges that are natural when trying to figure out the benefits of working with others, it can be a little disheartening to new communities to stay the course as they seek out others to join their cause.  The ability to understand and inspire is a difficult skill and takes time and each person looks for their own reasons to be a part of a partnership.  After all, nobody said this process was easy.  It is a marathon that goes through a lot of hills and valleys and its easy to get turned around on the way.   For the partnerships to have something like TNCAP to model themselves after is a bright spot for everyone.  I applaud TNCAP for everything they have done and the oaths blazed along the way and encourage the new groups to reach out and say hello to the pioneers in the Bronx.

Until next time,


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