Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Tool Box

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) builds on the assets that are already found in the community and mobilizes individuals, associations, and institutions to come together to build on their assets - not focus on their needs. An extensive period of time is spent in identifying the assets of individuals, associations, and then institutions before they are mobilized to work together to build on the identified assets of all involved. Then the identified assets from an individual are matched with people or groups who have an interest or need in that asset. The key is to begin to use what is already in the community.

I saw the ABCD model in my community yesterday in the Grand Opening of The Tool Box, a tool lending library.

It formed when a Community Neighborhood Service (CNS) worker with the City of Calgary came in, talked with neighbors, and found what THEIR assets were in the community. Information was gathered and a key issue coming up was tools for their garden and household.

The CNS worker contacted the local church, Bethany Chapel, who's congregation members were able to donate tools to the library.

Calgary Housing Company had an unused building they were able to provide to the community for the space of the library.

A Recreation Program Specialist came to do an orientation session, making this program a volunteer opportunity with the City of Calgary to give residents a chance to meet new neighbors, develop leadership skills and gain valuable experience, become actively involved in the community, learn about basic tools and their functions, etc. This also gives residents an ability to volunteer with other City of Calgary programs, a reference letter for future employers, and job skills, right in their own community!

But the GREATEST, and most IMPORTANT part of this, is the residents who continue to take part in this. Who developed this. Using their ASSETS to benefit their community for a long-term functioning goal of all community members. Funding will never run out, it's resident run, and residents use the skills they already have, and are given the opportunity to develop their skills to further benefit them in life and society.


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