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The Ecology of Democracy, Chapter 6 - Your point of view - 2

Hello Everyone,

Our classroom discussions have centered on a chapter you were assigned from The Ecology of Democracy.

This is a gentle reminder that your posts and responses are due by Monday, November 27th by midnight. Keep in mind, you are to write a well thought-out, meaningful reflection paper about your group project  and respond to two of your classmates papers, for a minimum total of three posts.

Remember, we are interested in your original thoughts and ideas! This assignment is designed to get you to think critically and engage in a civil discussion with your classmates about the democratic process of problem solving as it relates to you in the classroom and in the community.

Please do not wait until the last minute; post early and often. Each post will be graded based on the quality of the content. Your post should cover some aspect of the chapter you are reading including the problem, process, program and projected outcome. Please use this link to enter the website http://ecologyofdemocracy.org/.

You will make your posts in the classroom conversations area; under the thread The Ecology of Democracy Your point of View-2. You can also receive up to 20 points extra credit by answering the thread question: How do you understand the role of citizens or the citizenry in a democracy?  If you have not registered, you will need to do so. Feel free to catch me in class or shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Best

Comments

zatavia11's picture

I believe that teen pregnancy is an issue today and is growing as well. But sometimes pregnancy happens through rape which is even sadder.   

abbas alnasser's picture

I think we need a stronge penalty to the poeple who make teen pregnancy. If there a stronge rule for this it will stop.

UJohnson's picture

     Proud and inviting, these homes once stood statuesque with freshly manicured lawns and perfectly maintained facades. Yet today, these same homes sit crumbling into the earth their windows boarded up and lawns over grown. Nothing more than a ghostly remembrance of the beauty they once held.  For the Ecology of Democracy project in the "Let's Go Arts!" course, group seven was given the problem of blight, or deteriorating homes, in the Flint Michigan community. My group decided to use a museum as our facility to tackle this issue. After reading Ecology of Democracy, we knew that becoming involved was only half the battle. Chapter 6 in Ecology of Democracy states, “once involved, people may act together, but it’s no blessing unless they act wisely so society as a whole benefit”. Therefore, we needed to exercise sound judgement to resolve the issue at hand. To do so our group weighed the pros and cons of each idea we came up with by deciding on which ones would be the best way to educate citizens, show them what is right, and get them involved. We decided to have our museum create an exhibit that displayed Flint’s past, present, and future goals. This would allow citizens to remember the cities marvelous past, realize it's alarming present, and show them the positive future it could hold.   

    Next, our group decided on a program that would help solve blight in the community. After much consideration, our group chose to incorporate a volunteer program that the museum would organize. In this program, a project coordinator would choose the blighted homes affecting the community most. Then, the project coordinator would evaluate each of the selected homes and decide whether to renovate or rebuild them. After the deciding, the project coordinator would then call upon volunteers from the community to help with the program.

     Once we decided the program, our group went on to determine the process to make the program and exhibit happen. Since our museum had less than 5,000 to create an exhibit, we decided reaching out to the community to see if they have pieces to donate would be the most cost-effective method. Moreover, our museum could contact other local museums or galleries to see if they had any pieces to borrow for the exhibit as well. Next, we were concerned with raising enough volunteers and money for the home reconstruction process. In order to do so, we decided to inform local businesses about our cause and see if they would donate items to be sold off in a local auction. All the proceeds from this auction would go towards the volunteer program to renovate or rebuild new homes for the community.

     Additionally, we decided contacting local radio and news stations as well as creating social media pages would help us gain awareness, volunteers, and provide links where individuals could donate. Another idea was try and get local construction crews involved in donating their time to the project as well. These local construction crews could ensure each home is renovated to the proper city codes. Lastly, the idea of incorporating a rewards program for the volunteers seemed like the best way to get them to keep coming back. The rewards program would include giving out trophies and featuring certain crews in the local newspaper for the most beautiful homes, fastest made homes, and most homes made. This would also give local construction crews incentive to volunteer since they could gain excellent publicity for their company.

     The projected outcome of this entire program is a significant decrease in the number of abandoned homes in the community. By fixing up each home, our program would encourage people to visit and live in our community. Moreover, we would provide upated and safe homes for individuals to move into. Lastly, the project would bring beauty back to the struggling area and instill a new sense of pride for those living here. 

     On a separate note, I really enjoyed collaborating with fellow students and discussing different ways to solve realistic problems around us. I felt our group did a great job on organizing our ideas and making realistic expectations for our program. The only issue our group ran into was finding practical ways to keep the volunteers coming back. Thankfully, one of our dedicated group members did an outstanding job of researching what fellow volunteer agencies did to keep people interested. Other than this, our group did a great job of brainstorming viable options to fix the obstacles handed to us.  Overall, this project made me realize just how much of an impact each student could make in our community. The programs each group came up with were fairly practical. Any one of these could easily be carried out with the right resources and make a lasting impact on the community.

Nvanvliet's picture

My groups was assigned to create ways that a museum could help the homeless in our area. My group members and I had to think of the four P’s problem, process, program and projected outcome based off the twenty thousand the “mayor” gave us to initially spend to assist our financial needs. Unfortunately the money originally alluded to us was cut again and again. This in return caused all five groups with all five of their problems to come together and form a plan to combine, budget, and raise money for our multiple issues as one. I did not have any issue merging all the companies together. I feel that it allowed us to work together and make our plans bigger and better over time a on large group and not five different groups. All the groups combined and stressed about the short time frame we were given to create our combined plans.

 

Of course the groups did not agree with one another to begin with. Some did not enjoy the realization that they were no longer solely in charge of his or her grades. Eventually over a short discussion between the group leaders a conclusion that made every group happy began to form. All the group leaders exchanged phone numbers and emails to begin our eight paged powerpoint discussing our final decision as to how we had decided to work as one large group instead of ass individuals. We were also in contact with our other group members who wanted to be apart of the powerpoint making process, allowing them make sure they knew exactly what was going on.

 

At the beginning when we were all in small groups and not all combined, most of our final ideas came to light. We were originally tasked with finding ways to help our individual programs, start to finish, meaning that when we came up with an idea we had to think of all the possible outcomes that could sprout as a result of that initial idea and if the outcome was bad then we would go right back to the drawing board and come up with newer, better ideas that would help our situation. By the time the groups combines into one whole the only problem we had was trying to fix all the puzzle pieces to each group in order to make our puzzle complete, even if that meant getting rid of a few non essential ideas.

 

Leading up to the presentation was somewhat of a nightmare to me. Not because of the people I was working with nor due to the task at hand. It was simply related to “who is going to do what when we present?” and so on. None of the group leaders go to discuss who would talk about what slide and when they could or could not add any extra needed information. Thankfully with a short discussion right before the presentation all, if not most, of my questions and fears were answered and the the presentation, I believe overall, ran really smoothly despite our limited access to communicate with one another.

Nvanvliet's picture

My groups was assigned to create ways that a museum could help the homeless in our area. My group members and I had to think of the four P’s problem, process, program and projected outcome based off the twenty thousand the “mayor” gave us to initially spend to assist our financial needs. Unfortunately the money originally alluded to us was cut again and again. This in return caused all five groups with all five of their problems to come together and form a plan to combine, budget, and raise money for our multiple issues as one. I did not have any issue merging all the companies together. I feel that it allowed us to work together and make our plans bigger and better over time a on large group and not five different groups. All the groups combined and stressed about the short time frame we were given to create our combined plans.

 

Of course the groups did not agree with one another to begin with. Some did not enjoy the realization that they were no longer solely in charge of his or her grades. Eventually over a short discussion between the group leaders a conclusion that made every group happy began to form. All the group leaders exchanged phone numbers and emails to begin our eight paged powerpoint discussing our final decision as to how we had decided to work as one large group instead of ass individuals. We were also in contact with our other group members who wanted to be apart of the powerpoint making process, allowing them make sure they knew exactly what was going on.

 

At the beginning when we were all in small groups and not all combined, most of our final ideas came to light. We were originally tasked with finding ways to help our individual programs, start to finish, meaning that when we came up with an idea we had to think of all the possible outcomes that could sprout as a result of that initial idea and if the outcome was bad then we would go right back to the drawing board and come up with newer, better ideas that would help our situation. By the time the groups combines into one whole the only problem we had was trying to fix all the puzzle pieces to each group in order to make our puzzle complete, even if that meant getting rid of a few non essential ideas.

 

Leading up to the presentation was somewhat of a nightmare to me. Not because of the people I was working with nor due to the task at hand. It was simply related to “who is going to do what when we present?” and so on. None of the group leaders go to discuss who would talk about what slide and when they could or could not add any extra needed information. Thankfully with a short discussion right before the presentation all, if not most, of my questions and fears were answered and the the presentation, I believe overall, ran really smoothly despite our limited access to communicate with one another.

Nalhisan's picture

Ecology of democracy discussed a lot of things democracy and how important is it for society. Democracy is very important because it valued people freedom. However, there are some problems with democracy such as what motivate people to get involved? We get involved trying to solve a problem, but what gave us the motivation is when we there are a problem that we are concern about it. When there is something that the society cares about that when they get involved in democracy and try to do something about this problem. We had a hypothetical case in my Let’s Go Art class my group represent a theater company we have been assigned to come up with ideas to help the kids who come to school with bruises. We believe that they have been abused at home, but we are not sure about that. And we cannot accuse the parents of that because the kids we wont talk about it. So we decided to do plays around the school of Flint to raise awareness of child abuse. The plays would be about a child who got abused at home and we will try to inform the kids about all kinds of abuse and how to deal with them and who to call. We will also try to get a speaker who got abused in the past to tell the kids what he felt and what should have he done.  We had giving budget of $25,000 from the mayor to do our project. Then we informed that the budget gone down to $5,000 and not only that but also we had to share it with the other department to do our project. In our case we had to come up with an ideas to reduced our cause to cover the costs of our project so we had to hire volunteers actors to the plays and they had to bring their causal cloths with them to the play because we decided to give our money from the mayor of Flint to the other groups because we came up with ideas to raise money for our project. One of they Ideas that my team came up with is to go to UM-Flint and ask them help us to raise money for the awareness of child abused which would good thing for the University to do something for the society. The other idea was to go to one of Flint banks and ask for the same thing that we asked UM-Flint. The last one was to do a marathon to raise money for child abuse and I think the bank would be happy to be involved in solving a society problem. We also decided to partner up with other group who their company owns a theater and we decided film the play and show it for free in their theater. At the end of the day because the problem was something that we cared about and if we do not do anything about this problem it will affect our future that is something that will motivate people more do what ever they can to solve it.  Just because we were involved in solving the problem dos not mean solved the problem unless we make wide decisions and motivate people to get involved and be apart of the solution. That is exactly what our group has done when we tried to make UM-Flint and the banks to be involved in the solution of the problem.

UGaulin's picture

Chapter 6 in the Ecology of Democracy discussed whether or not most people in a community are informed and involved in social issues. I personally would have to say that sadly most people are not educated on what goes on in our world. It is understandable that we get caught up in our own personal lives and we forget to stop and think about what is going on around us, but it is not an excuse to let these problems get worse and worse while we turn a blind eye. This chapter also touched on some of the reasons why people do get involved in certain issues and the main reason it gave was because of our values, the things that we all hold dear and cherish everyday. We may not all be directly affected by every little thing that happens in our world, but every issue does build and if we do not at least try to fix the issues at hand, we are basically consenting for our world to grow more corrupt and broken.

 

For the Ecology of Democracy project, my group was a filming company and we had the issue of child abuse. I thought this was an extremely important problem, no less important than any of the others, but I do think that this problem is discussed less in large settings of people than a problem such as homelessness or racism. Child abuse is awful issue because many times the children do not even understand that what is going on in their home life is wrong. Even worse, many children do not know how to ask for help or they feel too ashamed to speak up about it to an adult.

 

Our group talked a lot about how we would be able to address this issue and help the “students” at the school that we were working with. Again, this is a very complex issue because it is not like teachers or staff can go around to children or parents at the school and straight up ask them if their is child abuse in their home. We knew that we would have to tackle this issue in a different way and this was a challenge but through bouncing ideas off each other we were able to come up with a great solution. We made a group decision that a good way to reach out to the students would be through a school assembly about child abuse, and then we would talk to all of the teachers at the school about how they could spot signs of an abused child in the classroom. We thought that this process would hopefully help us to find those students so that we could bring them the care they need. We were also very pleased with this solution because we were able to do this without needing any funding for this project. Not only was this beneficial for our project, but when the class needed to combine all of our issues into one big project our group was able to contribute money to other groups for their funding needs. I was not the director of our small group but I was the assistant to the director so that I could help her advocate for our group in the class project. When all of the directors met to discuss what we were going to do and how we would organize this huge group project it was nice to see how well everyone worked together to make sure that every group’s voice was heard and the vision of the project was created equally among us all.

 

My individual group worked really well together to tackle our issue in a way that was efficient. The reason why we did so well was not because one person did the whole project, but because we all listened to each other and built off each other’s ideas. We all cared about this issue and wanted to do something that would help stop the child abuse in an effective, organized way.

 

During our Ecology of Democracy unit I definitely thought about the world in a way that I never really have before. The news on TV makes our world seem chaotic, corrupt, and hopeless. Since our class discussions, though, I am beginning to realize that it is not so much hopeless, instead it just needs for people to care about the issues and take action to stop them. We cannot turn a blind eye and let innocent, helpless people suffer behind our backs.

 

Gabrielle Gaulin

aliciahinojosa's picture

I really like your idea about holding a school assembly and training teachers to spot the signs of child abuse. It is also very true when you say that it isn't very efficient, successful, or sensitive to just go up to someone and ask if they have been abused or are being abused. I think most people believe they are able to spot signs of abuse, but they most likely only know the obvious physical signs not the mental and emotional signs. So with trusted adults, peers, and teachers becoming more educated in the subject could really help others who are in need of help. I agree with you when you said that this project helped change your perception of the world because with my group and our project ideas, I definitely felt more knowledgeable about our issue of drug abuse and also made me more thankful for what I am fortunate to have in my life. 

Ualsalmi's picture

 

            Ecology of democracy project is a group project that each group is assigned to solve a social issue. My group and I were assigned to solve the blight homes problem in Flint, Michigan. We have some instructions and processing to follow and we have little amount of money to use. We decide to make it as an exhibit to show the past, present and future of Flint.

            The processes of this project are problem, process, programs and projected outcome. The problem is the abandoned homes in Flint and what we can do as a group to fix the problem and make the city look better. The process is we come up with some ideas to make the exhibit and some ways to get donations from others. The programs, we would have some volunteer to help us run the exhibit. Also, we have some organizations that can help us like Keep Genesee County Beautiful and Broad, and The Blight Elimination Division. Also, we would ask some exhibits or museums to donate some items that we can use in our exhibit. The projected outcome, our goals are to have better city and more community involvement. We hope also to see improvement environment.

            The chapter six of ecology of democracy was like a guide on how we do in our group project. Also, it discovered and discussed about making decisions and people involvement. When we read this chapter, it helped us to come up with some ideas of how to get people to volunteer. It also helps us to know different kinds of people who like to cooperate and who are not.

            Overall, I enjoyed discussing with my classmates about solving the issue. In addition, our group was cooperative in this project. We all work together to think about the problem and find some ways to solve it.  

 

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

Unorris's picture

I really like the idea for you project. The whole plan of showing the past, present, and future of abandonded buildings in flint is very interesting and done the right way, I think, can make a big impact on the community and it's people. I love anything art because I grew up with it. So showcasing art to present a problem will definetly bring more people in and aware of the issue. Working with different organizations that are already established will up credibility and make the issue even more known and make the project have an even bigger impact. Overall, I really like the solution.

zatavia11's picture

In my experience, it's very hard solving a public problem. People have the different point of views on how the project should be presented. Some people are more motivated to help with cause if its something that they can relate to, such as it said in chapter 6. But some people need an extra push to help with the cause. Although it was going to be difficult to get people involved and willing to support our cause so we sailed out for the task.

My group was faced with the problem of racism within schools.To get the community involved the process was to make a play addressing the issue. We've ran into issues with our funds. We were only granted $1,000 from our mayor, our project that we were trying to pursue cost $15,000. although these problems were brought up that wasn't stopping us we had to get back to the drawing part and figure out a game plan. We were going to hold dodgeball competitions at the high school in order to raise money to support this cause. We also were going to have donation boxes and lots of volunteers. It was very difficult to come up with these ways to raise money. Everyone in our group was so different, had different backgrounds and come from different countries so everybody had their own point of view on how we should do things. So after that, we had to get people informed about the situation such as in chapter 6. so we were going called upon student volunteers to help make flyers to promote our racism is a problem. In efforts to keep the community involved and to also let them know they have a voice, we decided that we were going to let victim speakers come up and share their stories.

Our program was the play. Knowing that we didn't have much money we had to have volunteer actors and stage crew. Hopefully having the community involved in the play would bring them closer together. We were hoping that our play will show students to other students that racism was not okay. We hope that our play would bring positivity to the entire community a 

and not just the schools.

The probable outcome that we wanted to achieve was let people know that racism is not okay. Hopefully bringing the community together, so it can be a positive place, and the kids that are a victim of racism feel comfortable going to school. In chapter 6 it mentions that citizens take pride in their community, we hoped that this will give citizens of the community a chance to take pride in helping to solve a problem within their community as well. What do you guys think do you think that we took the proper approach to the situation?

Uparker's picture

            Hello, I am a student at the University of Michigan-Flint. I am taking the UNV-100 course named Let’s Go Arts. My teachers Dr. May and Dr. Jones had us read chapter 6 of the Ecology of Democracy and do a class project to apply it to real life. They gave us the task of working in small groups of about 5-7 students to find ways to solve major problems in Flint with an arts organization of our choice. The problems that our groups had to solve included Child Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Blight, Teen Pregnancy, Racism, Homelessness, Drug Addiction and a few others.

The first thing that the professors had our groups do is to decide which arts organization your group would represent. My group chose to be a film production team. The professors then went around to each group and assigned them a problem that we face in the Flint community. My group was assigned the problem of child abuse. When I heard that we got child abuse as a topic I was nervous because I knew it was going to be a hard topic to discuss and find a solution to. The parents are the one causing the problem and the children are the victim of the problem. I knew this would be very hard to find a solution to because it involves two completely different demographics. Our professors gave us a very short amount of time and told us that we needed to propose a problem, process, program, and projected outcomes. My group decided to work with the children in schools to provide a program where the students would we would teach them how to use film equipment and they could help us film movies. This program would be held during and after school where any children could come and talk about their issues with us (the program directors). We would be more than willing to talk about their abuse and get them help from professionals if they asked for it. We would want teachers to send students to this program if they saw visual signs of abuse like bruises or blackeyes on students or thinks their might be some mental, emotional, or psychological abuse going on in their home. So our problem was child abuse, our process was to help the kids by counseling them and helping them learn about the arts by being educated about film equipment and film production by our team. Our program was a film production workshop for students who volunteered to come or students that were recommended by teachers to go. Our projected outcomes were that the children felt included and loved and not like outsiders because of their home situation. We want to educate and spread awareness of the problem of child abuse in our community. We will provide counseling services or anything else including reporting incidents if the child would like to do that. We had a budget of $25,000 but then we were cut to $5,000 by our mayor and we were told to collaborate with all of the other groups so we had a program director mix all of our groups ideas into one big proposal and present it to the mayor. He approved our project but lowered our budget to $5,000 total so we reassessed what we needed money for and figured out ways for our groups to work together to save money. Our group didn’t need any funding because our film production team are volunteers and we already had our equipment from filming and are going to continue to film.

This project was very beneficial for me as a student, my group, and the class as a whole. It helped us to think outside the box, work under pressure because we had a short amount of time, and overcome problems like a decreasing budget. I learned to figure out how to contribute when I didn’t have much to say and my group learned how to take everyone’s opinion into consideration and compromise on our final decision of our project. The class learned how to collaborate and bring 8 very different problems into one large program on a small budget. I really enjoyed this project and I think it helped me to understand the importance to being an involved citizen.

Chapter 6 of “The Ecology of Democracy” dives into the topic of social change, politics, and being an involved citizen. The main problem of America’s democracy is that many citizens sit on the sidelines of political conversation so that makes them not get involved or have any interest in changing things and realizing that things don’t have to be the same as they always were. There isn’t a better time to change than now. The chapter discusses that many people’s primary motivation for getting involved is their values. Many American’s only get involved in issues were they have strong values for or against that problem. Not only must a citizen be involved but they must be informed so they can make sound decisions. People have to ask questions of judgment, not questions of fact. Having a sound judgment “is said to be sound if it is consistent with what we consider most valuable in a particular situation” (“Ecology of Democracy” Chapter 6). Americans must learn how to discuss and debate things in a respectful, effective, and progressive way if we ever want to produce change and move towards a better Democracy. This directly relates to our group projects that we did in class because we had to use the many skills of getting informed, involved, listening with sound judgment, and collaborating to create one large group project. That program had the projected outcome of changing the community into a better and safer place for the entire community.

abbas alnasser's picture

in our class, we have problem give to us need to be solved as group. we divided to five groups. each group have four people in it. our problem was women with drugs and children. they are living in street and we need to take care of them. we decide that we are movie company and we will help women and children. the women have a drugs problem and we need to figure out a way to help them
we found some process that will help us to solved the problem. we will start with getting donation from people and, we will look for sponsor to be able to start the business. Also, we think about creating movie talking about this women and children who need to take care of them. we will try to found people who like to help us in our movie. after we found people we will create the movie to help us to get money to help women and children.
when we get money we will start the next step in our project. the next step is to find a facility where the women can work with their kids. then we will use the rest of the money we will use it to create movie and to help the women with their drugs problem.
in chapter 6 of ecology of democracy that we read it in the middle of this project. it is about make some people different than the other group and this is what our group want to do. our goal is making money to help women and children and the people who have money will help more.

UAldahammin's picture

I like how your group solve this problem. Nowadays, a lot of people lost their money and their life to drugs. People must understand that drugs not a solution to their problems. It seems to me that your solution well work and help a lot of people.

ukelsey's picture

Citizens get involved in the community in so many different ways. In group seven, our project was over Blight. We as a team first wanted to fully understand the situation of what we could do with Blight. After doing that we came up with the idea of putting up an exhibition for purposes of restoring abandoned homes with public participation and ideas. In doing this project we expect that many improvements will be made with the both homes and the community to come together more.
With every project, there is always money needed and with saying that we were able to have the government credit us with the money to enhance our chances at making sure this gets done for the housing projects. There are a few things that are important for this Blight project. Those things are our exhibit and especially decision making. Without having these we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere or get anything done. Blight project wants to create a better environment and to give the homes that were abandoned a new look again to create safety, health, and jobs for a local community.
We first would create our exhibit and have the community donate pieces of art work. Then we would auction all of our pieces off to get money to put towards our project. One thing that is good about having this exhibit take place is that we would have high schoolers run it so we wouldn’t have to pay them because they need national honor society hours. So, after all that takes place we would then collect all the profits that we made even including donations and then start our revamping of the abandoned homes in the community.
Some struggles that we as a group faced was the attendance of the group. When a member of the group missed we would either have to fill them in on what happened or do their part to make sure it wasn’t late or marked down. Another issue that we had was when our professors had to make our ideas more challenging and tell us that we had our money reduced. This I feel was the hardest part for my group because who wants to hear their money is reduced.
Overall, what we wanted in the end for the project outcome was for the community to come together and create an exhibit that would in the end make money for creating an environment that had less abandoned homes and more potential.

UHohman's picture

I like the cleverness of having high school students volunteer their time to run the auction so that way you can save as much money as possible for when you want to remodel the houses. I think another thing that might be helpful would not only reach out to the community for artwork but the country or other muasems and look for them to donate as well. The logic thats behind is you never know who will sympathize and help out to your cause. Plus it doesnt hurt to ask!

Usearcy's picture

The ecology of democracy project, gave our classroom an outlook on how hard it actually is to bring about change to problems in our community. This group project allowed each of my group members and I to think about and elaborate on how we could bring about a solution to our problem.  Our project was based off the four P’s, the Problem, the Process, the Program and the Projected Outcome. My groups problem was drug abuse and we had to come up with a plan or a solution to decrease the drug abuse in the flint community. My group and I were a design company and we had built cedar point. Part of our process was the government had first given us a $25,000 amount to work with. Our group had to make sure we had a solution to every problem that could be thrown at us. As we were working and putting together ideas for our problem the government soon cut our budget to only $5,000. Now we have to come up with an plan that fits within our budget. Our initial plan was to build a rehabilitation center and we were going to use the profits from selling Cedar point tickets and we were going to get sponsors and we had other connections, like one of our group members new a well-known football player and he could also get the word out. We were thinking of getting all the connections we could to get the word spread about our rehabilitation center. We were allowed the chance to work with other programs, we chose to work with a film company who were making documentary on homeless people. We were thinking that we could have a few features in their documentary or use there resources to make our own documentary in return we would allow some of the people who were homeless or less fortunate to be in our rehabilitation center under the assumption that a lot of less fortunate people have abused drugs. Now that we had the chance to work with another company our budget was $10,000 but would we still have enough. Our group came up with the plan that we could have volunteers work at the center like retired nurses, then we would have some sort of persons who knew about medicine. The government then allowed each company to work together, so our company director met with the other directors and came up with a plan together to work with one another and use what is now $40,000 for a total of 8 companies. Concerns that I brought up were, what if no progress was made and what if there wasn't enough money. Our solutions were to give them a 2-3 week period final chance to try and get better or they could no longer attend the center also alot of what we did was have alot of volunteers and others to help with the center. Our overall projected outcome was to decrease the amount of drug abuse in the flint community and spread awareness. 

USoukamneuth's picture

I think that using Cedar Point to raise awareness about drug abuse is a great idea. Thousands of people will go in and out of Cedar Point in a day and this would raise so much awareness about the issue. From that, the individuals would be able to contribute in their own way. Showing that such a large business like them is willing to contribute to resolving such a huge problem is amazing. Working with the film group who was addressing homelessness was also a good idea. By collaborating you guys were able to combat multiple issues and spread awareness about both so much more.

aliciahinojosa's picture

For most of our young adult lives, we have grown up to understand that drugs are not good for you and can cause many problems for your body, mind, and life. Many of us have also been trained to not "hang around" the people who incorporate drugs in their daily lives and in their priorites. With this mindset, most of us have become ignorant of people who struggle with drug abuse and actually need to receive help. Many of these drugs abusers who need help either want help but struggle to get back on track with their lives or find help, or may not want help but are in desperate need of someone to support them and show them a new path to a better, healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

In class over the past month or so, our groups have been assigned different issues that many people struggle with in our community and it is our job to brainstorm ways to help solve these issues. I was apart of group eight, who was assigned to help solve the issue of drug abuse in our community. Our group was really ontop of things and did not have too many contrasting ideas, it seemed. We came up with the idea fairly quickly, to be a design team and to create an amusement park to help out as a rehabilitation center. Our idea was to spread the word about our program, by using flyers, websites, radio commercials, TV commercials, and more to let people know about our idea and to help donate to our cause. As our group was given 5,000 dollars to start off with, we also planned to team up with other amusement parks, such as Cedar Point, and for a fundraiser take half of the proceeds from ticket sales and use it towards our rehab program. Now the rehab program would consist of our company creating an amusement park, where we employ the people who enter the program to resolve their drug issues and in return we help them get community service hours by volunteering in the park, help them practice good communication skills, give them a place to stay, and also receive rehab therapy after their volunteering.

Our group also decided to team up with one of the other groups, a filmmaking company, and who was assigned to the issue of homelessness. We thought this would be a good opportunity to document and inform the public of two different issues that can go hand-in-hand with each other. After doing a little research, our two groups found that it is very common for homeless people to have had previous (or have existing) drug addictions or experiences with drugs that impacted their lives very negatively. Coming together in our groups also would help my group spread the word of our rehabilitation program as well, which is an added bonus, along with adding more creative minds to the planning process and the execution of our ideas.

Overall, the planning process was stressful at times, but quite successful in my opinion with my group and with the joined groups together. The only stressful part was trying to fit all our ideas in our budget and also trying to understand what it takes to go into a rehabilitation program as my team members and myself really were not educated in that topic as it is not something we have had to deal with in our lives, fortunately. But this project had opened our eyes a bit about the struggles our community and many other communities face when it comes to issues of drug abuse as well as others, such as homelessness. This project also made me very grateful for my situation and what I am blessed with in my life; I am fortunate enough to not have to worry about whether or not I will find shelter, and not have to spend a night on the streets because I am lucky enough to have a roof over my head, food on the table, clean clothes, a support system, and I don't have any negative addictions like drug use. Realizing this is very important if I were to try and help out someone who has these day-to-day problems as I would want that person to have the same opportunities that I have. This project was also very good for my communication skills when it came to working in group settings and trying to piece together a well thought out agenda/plan. Overall, this project was challenging but a good team-building and thought-provoking experience.

aliciahinojosa's picture

For most of our young adult lives, we have grown up to understand that drugs are not good for you and can cause many problems for your body, mind, and life. Many of us have also been trained to not "hang around" the people who incorporate drugs in their daily lives and in their priorites. With this mindset, most of us have become ignorant of people who struggle with drug abuse and actually need to receive help. Many of these drugs abusers who need help either want help but struggle to get back on track with their lives or find help, or may not want help but are in desperate need of someone to support them and show them a new path to a better, healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

In class over the past month or so, our groups have been assigned different issues that many people struggle with in our community and it is our job to brainstorm ways to help solve these issues. I was apart of group eight, who was assigned to help solve the issue of drug abuse in our community. Our group was really ontop of things and did not have too many contrasting ideas, it seemed. We came up with the idea fairly quickly, to be a design team and to create an amusement park to help out as a rehabilitation center. Our idea was to spread the word about our program, by using flyers, websites, radio commercials, TV commercials, and more to let people know about our idea and to help donate to our cause. As our group was given 5,000 dollars to start off with, we also planned to team up with other amusement parks, such as Cedar Point, and for a fundraiser take half of the proceeds from ticket sales and use it towards our rehab program. Now the rehab program would consist of our company creating an amusement park, where we employ the people who enter the program to resolve their drug issues and in return we help them get community service hours by volunteering in the park, help them practice good communication skills, give them a place to stay, and also receive rehab therapy after their volunteering.

Our group also decided to team up with one of the other groups, a filmmaking company, and who was assigned to the issue of homelessness. We thought this would be a good opportunity to document and inform the public of two different issues that can go hand-in-hand with each other. After doing a little research, our two groups found that it is very common for homeless people to have had previous (or have existing) drug addictions or experiences with drugs that impacted their lives very negatively. Coming together in our groups also would help my group spread the word of our rehabilitation program as well, which is an added bonus, along with adding more creative minds to the planning process and the execution of our ideas.

Overall, the planning process was stressful at times, but quite successful in my opinion with my group and with the joined groups together. The only stressful part was trying to fit all our ideas in our budget and also trying to understand what it takes to go into a rehabilitation program as my team members and myself really were not educated in that topic as it is not something we have had to deal with in our lives, fortunately. But this project had opened our eyes a bit about the struggles our community and many other communities face when it comes to issues of drug abuse as well as others, such as homelessness. This project also made me very grateful for my situation and what I am blessed with in my life; I am fortunate enough to not have to worry about whether or not I will find shelter, and not have to spend a night on the streets because I am lucky enough to have a roof over my head, food on the table, clean clothes, a support system, and I don't have any negative addictions like drug use. Realizing this is very important if I were to try and help out someone who has these day-to-day problems as I would want that person to have the same opportunities that I have. This project was also very good for my communication skills when it came to working in group settings and trying to piece together a well thought out agenda/plan. Overall, this project was challenging but a good team-building and thought-provoking experience.

USoukamneuth's picture

As a group, we were assigned the issue of racism. We decided that we would tackle this issue in an artistic way of film. For this task, we were given a little amount of money and a little amount of guidance of how we could resolve this issue. Creating a short documentary that would highlight the prevalence of racism within our community is what we thought would be the most impactful. We knew that we could not impact such a topic alone, nor did we need to. We wanted to collaborate with production teams, local theatres, businesses, and other activist groups to help us spread our message to combat racism. In our class, we had a movie theatre and film production crew that we would work heavily with. 

The film would include clips of real people giving their opinion about racism and how it has affected them in their own life. Our group wanted to emphasize this aspect in the documentary, because real experiences are what can change individuals. Our intentions were to showcase this film to a younger crowd. If we can change young people's mind to never accept racism, then that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Schools and youth groups would be encouraged to watch this documentary so less people would have to face racism in their lives. 

The projected outcome for our film is tough to figure out. At almost every point in mankind, racism or at least dominance over another race has always been around. At first I thought, how could one film possibly change an issue that has been around for thousands of years? We soon realized that we cannot completely eliminate this issue in the world. However, we knew that this film would spread awareness of the issue and help combat it in our community. If this film could change another person and help them empathize with another human being, slowly but surely this issue of racism will resolve itself. Empathy is the quickest and most human way to understand how another person feels. Seeing how real people are hurt by racism can quickly change someone's perspective on the issue. That is what our goal of the film would have been. To help people connect with one another to bring us peace and to become closer as a community. I also believe that this is a focal point in Chapter 6 of The Ecology of Democracy. To solve the problems in our world by making real human connections with each other. 

UParsian's picture

I think that your group made a good choice by choosing to collaborate with other groups to raise awareness for your topic. I think having people share their personal stories is a great idea. I agree that racism probably won't go away, but I the raising awareness will help reduce it. I agree it is good to teach kids at a young age to not engage in racism. I think this project was good for all of us to collaborate and share our ideas. Great post!

UHohman's picture

I like how you saw that you cannot have a tangible goal when trying to fight against racism. Just by using empathy to even open the door for discussion is a step in the right direction. I think a great follow up to the film would be having a discussion after several showings possibly at a town hall or something simaliar, to bring people together to have that discussion about race and racism. That way you might be able to see more tangible results.