True community change has to come from within the communities themselves. This guide documents some of the research, lessons and best practices from Casey’s work in its Making Connections initiative. What follows is a description of the crucial role neighborhood residents played in the community change effort; ways to cultivate, support and measure resident involvement and leadership; and examples of Authentic Demand strategies from Making Connections sites.
Authentic Demand is Essential to Successful Community Change
Findings & Stats
Residents themselves, along with their allies, must be the drivers of change: they have to own it, demand it, and work for it.
When community members are authentically engaged in civic participation, social network, community mobilization and leadership opportunities, they are able to influence a broad range of efforts,
Authentic Demand strategies can develop and expand the range of skills and capacities within communities to learn what’s working and what isn’t.
What matters most is the accessibility and range of opportunities and choices available for residents to shape and participate in a powerful and transformative community change agenda.
Because they are very participatory, the Making Connections programs create many opportunities for residents to get to know each other and build connections and social networks.
Statements & Quotations
Authentic Demand is not separate or different from the Making Connections work that creates sustainable workforce results, ensures that children are ready for school, and helps families accumulate assets. Authentic Demand gives that work power and sustainability, and embeds it in a framework of support that ensures that it is utilized and has impact.
Authentic Demand seeks to change the community environment by creating a wide range of opportunities for those who live, work, and worship there. It seeks to develop ties among residents, to encourage active participation in efforts to achieve individual and collective goals, and to leverage external resources.
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