What is the most challenging part of working within community development?
Where do most of the frustrations lie when considering the work done within community development and community services? #community-management #community-development #community-outreach #familyservices #urbanplanning #careers
It is often a challenge to be heard among the many competing voices. To combat this, start by attending local meetings like school boards, library boards, or city/village board meetings. Also churches, League of Women Voters, etc. Most are open to the public and it is a great way to get to meet like-minded people and so that you can start to network. It will also identify anyone that is already working on a project you are interested in to see if you can join them!
Also, try researching some existing projects to see what has worked (or not) and why. Financial Health Network is a good example of a group that is doing some interesting work. https://finhealthnetwork.org/ You can avoid and overcome many challenges by learning from others who have failed and/or succeeded.
Finally, you should be prepared to understand how state and local government policy impacts any initiatives you are considering. Getting permission and/or funding for projects can be a big challenge, but on the plus side, there is private and government grant money to help.
Best of luck! I'd love you hear back from you as you begin your journey.
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And then there are those who come along with plans to employ and educate people, who, quite honestly, are content to live the way they do. They may suffer from mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, etc., but, they ARE getting by just fine, in their opinion.
Don't let this scare you off, but just be prepared as to how you will address it. Outsiders with grand plans will not be welcomed, no matter how you present it. I recommend you read up on how other cities address these problems.
I work inside companies managing the way the company impacts the community. It's a different take on the work I think you're interested in, but I bet there are a lot of the same challenges.
One of the biggest challenges in these types of roles is that there are a never ending set of things that you can get done and problems you can try to tackle. Staying focused and pick the area you want to make an impact on can be a helpful tool to feel like you're making progress.
It's also important to listen to those who live in or know about the communities you want to impact - too often folks come in trying to make things better, without realizing they are making things worse by not addressing the issues that the residents of that community care about. I would encourage you to show up - be it at community meetings, nonprofits, school board meetings and hear from the community about their needs before deciding how you want to help.
You'll always have critics, it's important to hear them out, but try not to let them derail your focus and your passion. Find peers who are engaged in the same work so you can support one another on the tough and frustrating days and hold each other up to celebrate the successes!