Why Are We Doing One-On-One’s?

    This summer, each member of our summer team is expected to have at least fifteen one-on-one meetings with community members during the month of July. They are asked to choose individuals from three categories: 1. a list of individuals who have agreed to participate in the relational meetings, 2. an Illuminated team member, and 3. an individual from a faith community or an organization of their choice. The following excerpt has been taken from our training on relational work.

  IMG_3001After modeling two one-on-one’s (both, effective and ineffective), we asked everyone to do them!
 
          In  2008,  Illuminated  Cities  was  a  just  an  idea  and  it  began  with  the  intention  of taking  young  student  leaders  from  metropolitan  Detroit  for  a  community  service project  to  build  houses  in  India.  The  idea  came  with  a  disregard  for  the  opinions  of  and  assumptions  about  the  community  in  New  Delhi.  The  original  project  idea  never  took  place,  but  one  critical  component  it  lacked  was  needs-­‐assessment.  As  we  prepare  Illuminated  fellows  to  think  about  change  in  their  local  communities,  one­‐on‐one’s  are  a  crucial  component  of  the  needs  assessment  process  for  their  Action Plans.  They  also  lend  themselves  to  exposing  participants  to  multiple  viewpoints  within  a  given  community.
          As  we  were  preparing  for  the  Mexico  City  pilot  project,  one  of  our  Illuminated fellows  wanted  to  create  an  Action  Plan  to  address  violence.  Our  team  assumed  she wanted  to  address  violence  in  her  community  on  the  south  side  of  Chicago.  Upon  further  discussion,  we  discovered  that  she  wanted  to  create  programming  to address  emotional  and  physical  violence  in  relationships.  Her  Action  Plan  did  not match  up  with  our  assumptions  about  her  project.  We  had  to  first  acknowledge  and respect  this  difference  in  order  to  be  able  to  provide  any  assistance  with  her  project design.
          One-­on‐one’s  can  serve  as  the  difference  between  bringing  a  program into a community  as  an  outsider,  and  having a community-led movement with  ideas  that  have  buy‐in  from  that  community.  They  are the  difference  between  imposing  one’s  own  ideas  onto  a  community  and  working in solidarity with community-members  who  can  serve  as  change­‐agents in ways that make sense to them in order to  catalyze reforms  towards  a  more  just  and  sustainable  world.

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