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Community Conversations

Spring 2022

What are Community Conversations?

An opportunity to connect with fellow community members to identify issues of common concern and generate ideas for how to make life better for everyone living in Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County.

  • Participants will gather for about one hour in groups of 10 or 12 people.
  • Conversations will take place either virtually or in-person - depending on weather, covid, and preference of participants.
  • We'll start the conversation, take notes, and share what we learn with United Way, Faith in Action, community partners, and anyone who wishes to be part of the ongoing conversation.

Each Community Conversation will seek answers to these two questions:

“If you could change one thing that would make life better for you, your family, or our community as a whole, where would you start?”

“Who should we invite to the next Community Conversation?”

What are the goals of Community Conversations?

How does United Way plan to achieve these goals?

Connect with FORMAL & INFORMAL LEADERS in our local community. 
Our plan is to start with leaders of local nonprofit organizations serving individuals and families living below the ALICE Threshold. At the end of each community conversation, we will ask for suggestions of people to invite for the next round of Community Conversations. We will use these connections to expand our circles and engage in dialogue with a broader cross-section of community members.

Build and strengthen RELATIONSHIPS within and across our community.
We believe intentionally including the voice of the community is an essential part of working towards building a more equitable community. We look to nurture strong and trusting relationships and build credibility with members of the community. We will look for opportunities to co-create solutions together that will benefit all community members.

Identify ISSUES of common concern that are widely and deeply felt. 
Are the priorities we've established in alignment with current community concerns? We wonder what community concerns have come to the forefront since the start of the covid pandemic? What makes life harder now than before the pandemic? What, if anything, has gotten easier?

Collect STORIES that will help to guide our work in the community. 
We value the lived experience and expertise of individuals and families living in Harrisonburg City & Rockingham County. These conversations will help United Way better understand the concerns felt by members of our community and help us make better informed decisions to guide our work today and tomorrow.  

What will happen with the stories and ideas gathered through Community Conversations?

The information gathered through Community Conversations will be used to inform the ongoing work of United Way of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County and our partners in the community.  What does our work entail?

ADVOCATING. We continually advocate for decision-makers to keep the needs of ALICE in mind when making important choices that impact our community.

CONNECTING. We connect with partners in nonprofit, education, government, business and the broader community to work together for the benefit of our community.

INVESTING. We strategically invest funds raised locally in local nonprofit organizations working to provide resources and support to members of our community.

ENGAGING. We regularly engage with the local community to ensure our work continues to remain relevant and responsive to our community’s greatest concerns.

COMMITTING. We commit to always work toward creating a more equitable community where all of us have the chance to thrive.

How will United Way ensure Community Conversations include the diverse voices of our community?

We will consider barriers to participation and work to ensure access for anyone and everyone who wants to join in on the conversation. We will offer conversations at various times, in accessible spaces, in multiple languages, both virtually and in-person. We ask all participants to complete a Demographic Survey to ensure the voices we hear and the stories we collect are intentionally reflective of the diversity of our local community. Every step of the way, we will ask ourselves who is missing from these conversations and increase our outreach efforts to extend invitations to more attendees as needed. 

How can community members participate in Community Conversations?

Community members from Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County are welcome and encouraged to attend a Community Conversation in person or virtually. RSVP to our next Community Conversation! 

If you can't attend for any reason, but would still like to give input to the conversation, fill out our Community Input Form.

Questions?

Contact Jo Benjamin, Director of Community Impact, jo@uwhr.org, 540-434-6639 x 8.

Links to Community Conversations Forms