Journey to Engagement

A First-Person Reflection on How to Engage Residents

Posted January 1, 2005
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
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AECF Journeyto Engagement


Garland Yates went from a 17-year-old high-school dropout with few prospects to a respected community leader at 25. In this report, Yates provides a firsthand account of his observations on engaging community, developed through his experience as a senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, working with the Making Connections community in Denver. This report is part of “The Diarist Project” series of stories and reflections about the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections Initiative.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

Engaged residents can transform communities

Creating meaningful, transformative community change requires that residents are engaged both in identifying problems and developing realistic solutions. Effective resident engagement means:

  • Learning about the culture and history of the community.
  • Involving the people who are affected by the types of problems to be addressed.
  • Focusing on the neighborhood's assets, not just its deficits.
  • Sharing information to raise residents' consciousness and start conversations.
  • Developing strong communications that reflect the voices of the community.
  • Documenting data and assessing outcomes.