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Building Community Connections
December 21, 2021
When times are easy and there’s plenty to go around, individual species can go it alone. But when conditions are harsh and life is tenuous, it takes a team sworn to reciprocity to keep life going forward...So say the lichens.
-Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

An NEA policy brief on Parent, Family, and Community Involvement in Education reminds us, "The whole community has an essential role to play in the growth and development of its young people. In addition to the vital role that parents and family members play in a child’s education, the broader community too has a responsibility to assure high-quality education for all students." Most educators realize this, and seek ways to forge connections not only with families, but also with other local service agencies and programs.

"Learning about other agencies in the community can be rewarding and a lot of fun. Collaboratively and collectively, many innovative ideas can arise from building upon these interdisciplinary, interagency partnerships, a vital component to organizational development." So says Lisa Ann Haesler in the chapter, "Becoming Community Centric," in The Art of Leadership: Leading Early Childhood Organizations.

Haesler goes on to remind us, "Neighborhood-driven initiatives call for creativity, cooperation, problem-solving, critical thinking and a commitment to ongoing communication." She recommends seeking out all the various organizations serving the families in your community – local mental health organizations, family clinics, your chamber of commerce, businesses and organizations that offer goods or services on a sliding scale, public health department, insurance providers, organizations providing emergency services, and more. And when you meet with these organizations, to ask the question, "Who do you know who helps families with ____?"

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