What makes Holistic Neighborhood Development unique?
One of the greatest indicators of one’s life-long economic mobility is the neighborhood in which one lives. HND asserts that place is the most important factor to consider when seeking long-term outcomes, and it is one of the most neglected lenses within traditional poverty alleviation tactics. Place allows us to go deep, work broadly, and invest in the long-haul for real results.
We cannot solve anything from a distance. We have to draw near, enter into relationship, and open ourselves up to the possibility of mutual transformation. Transactional giving between strangers will never end poverty. You cannot serve someone out of poverty. HND leads with neighboring and relationship.
Poverty is neither caused, sustained, or solved by any one thing; it is the dynamic intersection of multiple factors, systems, and circumstances. The “holistic” dimension of HND is about committing to comprehensive engagement that seeks innovative, integrative strategies for long-term outcomes.
Cities, people, opinions, policies, and economies can all change in the blink of an eye. Strategies that worked last year might night work in the next. Work done for months may come up empty and expectations may get upended at a moment’s notice. HND can create real change because it is flexible and adaptive, constantly committed to the best, healthiest approach, even if that means a radical course correction mid-stream. We do not seek the perpetuation of our program; it is always about the thriving of a community and whatever it takes to make that happen.
Results matter. Not activity, not busyness, not arbitrary program numbers, but impact. They may be hard to come by, hard to define, or hard to measure, but they are core to what it means to commit to HND. We want to see lives and communities thriving, not dependent on external support year after year. We do not settle for less than true and lasting change.
Flourishing communities is not just a big vision for us. It is a process we have developed with tools to track and measure the health of a place. This process will define and create the strategies that will lead to long-term, lasting change in your neighborhood.
Proximity, neighboring, and relationships are at the core of what we do at FCS. We think natural, unhurried relationships without an agenda are deeply important. We also believe in the power of structure and intention to move toward collective efficacy. But how do you build collective efficacy? This happens through something called relational organizing, a practice we’ll introduce to you in today’s episode.
So far in this season, we’ve told you a lot about the “why” of neighborhood engagement. In this episode, we want to get into the “what” of neighborhood engagement! We’ll explore the programs FCS is involved in, as well as the partnerships we maintain. We hope this gives you a better understanding of what sorts of things might work in your neighborhood, and who you could try and connect with.
Some of the most significant work that we do at FCS is small, quiet, and often goes unnoticed outside of the neighborhood. One of those crucial works is walking alongside children and teenagers. In this episode, we’ll talk with three people engaged in youth development at FCS: Michelle Witherspoon, Mikayla Santos, and Joel Barber. Their passion for building community among youth in South Atlanta inspires us each day, and we hope it does the same for you.