Video Release: Building the Field of Community Engagement
Monday, October 28th, 2013
By Patricia Moen
Special Projects Mananger
National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families & Communities, A Project of Casa de Esperanza.
Casa de Esperanza participates in a collaborative project funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and led by Nexus Community Partners. This project, called Building the Field of Community Engagement convenes local community-based organizations that have utilized community engagement approaches to forward our respective missions and goals. The purpose of the project is to define, describe and document what community engagement is, and how it works in many different applications. A recently released video (click it below) helps explain the project and gives real faces and language to community engagement as we see it.
Why focus on community engagement? Because we all have a role to play in ending domestic violence. And the more knowledgeable, available and accessible we are to families experiencing violence, the easier it will be to prevent, intervene, support, and to change the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate violence from one generation to the next.
Within our own organization community engagement is woven throughout all of our initiatives. We have an entire work area locally dedicated to community engagement that engages volunteers in increasing knowledge about domestic violence, leadership skills, and community connectedness. In this work area, it’s easy to see or imagine how community engagement strategies are implemented on an ongoing basis.
Within Family Advocacy, our efforts to infuse community engagement strategies may be a little more difficult to discern. In many ways, we see it as “just the way we do things.” Watching the video together helped our staff better articulate how community engagement is integrated into our advocacy efforts with families experiencing domestic violence.
- We develop longer-term relationships with women and between women in the community, encouraging women to be resources for one another.
- We work to build and strengthen social support networks—getting women connected to organizations and individuals who can help them attain their goals.
- We help families that we work with define their own community—which is often not geographically based—but often consists of friends, family and community members who live locally, across the country, or in another country.
- We establish and nurture relationships with other organizations to help strengthen our collective efforts to support families.
The National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities is community engagement on a large scale. We work to engage individuals and organizations across the country to connect, convene, share information and to be resources for one another.
Does your organization utilize community engagement strategies for prevention or intervention related to domestic violence? What do your strategies look like?