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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

Nreis's picture

i agree, but i also think that technology is the best communication mean and it can bring you information about politics that you may not know, and if you are really into politics you can find anything you want to know about anyone, for example the president you're thinking on voting for. however it also bring you a lot of 'fake news'.

UDerry's picture

 

 

Ualbashrawi's picture

Through bright project, there are numerous deliberate reflections that the group came up with. The team has become aware of useful strategies that will deal with various issues and henceforth the goals outlined will lead to commitment.

The idea of putting up exhibition for purposes of rehabilitating abandoned homes is a public participation and deliberations. This has enhanced more understanding and facilitated learning of historical cultures. The team has known that communities facing corruption and high rate of crimes lead to people abandoning their homes and moving out. There is a need for the restoration of such places to return peoples pride.

Blight project incorporates all interested parties and the policy issues championed by community leaders, politicians, and the media involvement to create awareness to the people at large. In order to enhance public participation for sustainable development project, such as Blight, there is need for increased level of commitment to all participants.

The project will improve public understanding as its objective and the impact is aimed towards the goal. The community will have a sense of social responsibility and think they have increased equity in the society. Moreover, improved sustainability and increased effectiveness of the Blight project to meet the necessary need of the community. Government through credibility and its legitimacy will enhance better transparency in terms of decision making for housing projects.

Having reflected on the above stated, issues there are processes to identify with the Blight project. Firstly, inform ideas to the public. This is because there need to be an environment for dialogue in order to have meaningful and clear intent of the project for public participation. The early activities of collecting exhibits are critical for further understanding of the final or intended purpose of this project. Secondly, communication is essential to identify the views and interests that must be listened, to create a fully functional participatory process. There might be other spoken languages and possibly other cultural differences in the community hence the need to build on relationships and opportunities for the success of the project.

In addiction, the community has to be integrated in decision making. This is because they are directly affected and it is their legal right and politically draws elected appointed officials in their jurisdiction. Blight project on a broad range interest is to build houses or rehabilitate property to create safety, health, and jobs for growth of local economy. In summary, Blight project can be best met with established objectives, clear goals, and appropriate tools for the effectiveness of the project to benefit the community.

              The classmates were cooperation about who will attend meetings; gather information, logistical and tactical requirements of the Blight project. The most effective and direct process will involve creation of necessary stakeholders. Their work will be of allocating other venues such as political, legal and media of which will greatly influence the decisions of the undertaken project.

            The classmates were hade a such grate aides about regarding the point the inputs or exhibits will be obtained and its worth after sale. The Blight project is a volunteer work whereby most exhibits will be obtained through donations or buying. After a mega collection of exhibits, the public will be informed and visit the located center and charged at a fee. The revenue collected will go back to the community and fix up the abandoned homes and yards in the city.

 

Haleem

Upool's picture

My group was assigned the issue of drug abuse within the Flint community. My group was a design agency for cedar point. Our ultimate goal was to decrease drug abuse within adults and children. My group outlined a mission to complete the task. We planned to receive donations and sponsors from companies to help create rehabs. Along with other groups we combined to develop a self-sufficient community. Drug abuse, blight, child abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, racism, teen pregnancy, and gang violence were all major issues groups were assigned to help eliminate. Many of these groups were theaters or museums. The final agreement was for all groups to combine and develop a fun educational day to raise awareness of these issues.

The problems we had trying to solve these issues was money and being reasonable. It is very easy to come up with a way to solve a problem but with the lack of money makes it very hard to accomplish. Also, once my group had to come up with a resolution we were struck with another conflict. Combining all the groups together was difficult because everyone needed their problem solve and finding a common ground and a win-win situation for all groups were troublesome. For me the hardest part of this assignment was trusting others with my grade. I would rather take the responsibility that way I know that the work will be done correctly and done on time.

In my group I attributed a lot of ideas. Along with others we generated ideas and kept the group on task. When group members were focused on other classes it distracted them from the project. When group members were absent instead of continuing more ideas we had to take the time to fill them in on the information they missed. Having people from different backgrounds help generate many broad and different ideas.

What I learned from this project is the value of trust. Each class I trusted my group mates to attend and be prepared to help. I trusted our elected council member to represent our group the best way possible. We trusted our council member to elect the best candidate to represent all groups. I've learned how important these issues are within our communities and how hard it is to try to solve them. This assignment definitely taught me the importance of getting involved in the community and showed me that these issues need to be addressed.

Upool's picture

My group was assigned the issue of drug abuse within the Flint community. My group was a design agency for cedar point. Our ultimate goal was to decrease drug abuse within adults and children. My group outlined a mission to complete the task. We planned to receive donations and sponsors from companies to help create rehabs. Along with other groups we combined to develop a self-sufficient community. Drug abuse, blight, child abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, racism, teen pregnancy, and gang violence were all major issues groups were assigned to help eliminate. Many of these groups were theaters or museums. The final agreement was for all groups to combine and develop a fun educational day to raise awareness of these issues.

The problems we had trying to solve these issues was money and being reasonable. It is very easy to come up with a way to solve a problem but with the lack of money makes it very hard to accomplish. Also, once my group had to come up with a resolution we were struck with another conflict. Combining all the groups together was difficult because everyone needed their problem solve and finding a common ground and a win-win situation for all groups were troublesome. For me the hardest part of this assignment was trusting others with my grade. I would rather take the responsibility that way I know that the work will be done correctly and done on time.

In my group I attributed a lot of ideas. Along with others we generated ideas and kept the group on task. When group members were focused on other classes it distracted them from the project. When group members were absent instead of continuing more ideas we had to take the time to fill them in on the information they missed. Having people from different backgrounds help generate many broad and different ideas.

What I learned from this project is the value of trust. Each class I trusted my group mates to attend and be prepared to help. I trusted our elected council member to represent our group the best way possible. We trusted our council member to elect the best candidate to represent all groups. I've learned how important these issues are within our communities and how hard it is to try to solve them. This assignment definitely taught me the importance of getting involved in the community and showed me that these issues need to be addressed.

Ualbashrawi's picture

Drugs are the most common problems in the world and pose a major risk to all society. we urgently need such this project to fight drugs. there must be problems and obstacles facing these projects, but the problem of lack of money is an important problem because without it will be difficult to implement.

Haleem

Ubenjamin's picture

Pool,

I believe many groups struggled with having enough funding for their projects and being reasonable. It may have been difficult to combine all of our issues together into one large project, but having the group directors helped. I agree that having people from different backgrounds broadened our imagination and what could be possible. This project has also taught me the importance of getting involved with the community. There are many issues people are unaware of and we should do our best to stay informed.

Benjamin 

Nebarra's picture

My group also had a problem when it came to funding and having enough money to get are project running. My group had homeless and we raised are own money by doing acutions and donation boxes around town. My group also ran into problems once we figured out one problem their was something else that we then had to figure out like where we were going to get the material to build housing from the homeless. I agree that major issues like homeless, drug abuse, etc, need to be addressed. 

Nkwasny's picture

I feel like the money issue definitely made it more difficult for a lot of the groups, especially those with big projects that needed funding. I know a few groups in my class had movie productions they were going to put on; sacrifices were definitely made when the budget was cut down to one thousand dollars each. My group was fortunate; the way our program worked out was that it was dependent on the funds from our institution and volunteer work, so the budget cuts didn't affect us as much as the others. 

Ulaurin's picture

In my group, I found that it was also very hard for me to trust others in my group and let them take control of parts of the project. I imagine it must have been difficult to organize and combine sound ideas in your group when people weren't always there, and you had to continuously catch them up. When I reflected on my groups project, I too came to the realization that it is okay to trust people in my group, and that this is much like the real world. Communication is key to all group projects, and participating in community projects is important because people should be informed on issues in their community, and ways to solve them. 

Uabueita's picture

Trust is key in projects like these. You must trust everyone within your group to not let you down. If everyone works together and puts their ideas, miracles can happen. I learned this value of trust as well in my group and thought it was very beneficial. As a team, we can accomplish the impossible by putting multiple brains to these issues. Sometimes it's hard to trust someone with everyone's grade, but we will have to face these problems sooner or later and we must know how this can be approached.

Ualbashrawi's picture

Through bright project, there are numerous deliberate reflections that the group came up with. The team has become aware of useful strategies that will deal with various issues and henceforth the goals outlined will lead to commitment.

The idea of putting up exhibition for purposes of rehabilitating abandoned homes is a public participation and deliberations. This has enhanced more understanding and facilitated learning of historical cultures. The team has known that communities facing corruption and high rate of crimes lead to people abandoning their homes and moving out. There is a need for the restoration of such places to return peoples pride.

Blight project incorporates all interested parties and the policy issues championed by community leaders, politicians, and the media involvement to create awareness to the people at large. In order to enhance public participation for sustainable development project, such as Blight, there is need for increased level of commitment to all participants.

The project will improve public understanding as its objective and the impact is aimed towards the goal. The community will have a sense of social responsibility and think they have increased equity in the society. Moreover, improved sustainability and increased effectiveness of the Blight project to meet the necessary need of the community. Government through credibility and its legitimacy will enhance better transparency in terms of decision making for housing projects.

Having reflected on the above stated, issues there are processes to identify with the Blight project. Firstly, inform ideas to the public. This is because there need to be an environment for dialogue in order to have meaningful and clear intent of the project for public participation. The early activities of collecting exhibits are critical for further understanding of the final or intended purpose of this project. Secondly, communication is essential to identify the views and interests that must be listened, to create a fully functional participatory process. There might be other spoken languages and possibly other cultural differences in the community hence the need to build on relationships and opportunities for the success of the project.

In addiction, the community has to be integrated in decision making. This is because they are directly affected and it is their legal right and politically draws elected appointed officials in their jurisdiction. Blight project on a broad range interest is to build houses or rehabilitate property to create safety, health, and jobs for growth of local economy. In summary, Blight project can be best met with established objectives, clear goals, and appropriate tools for the effectiveness of the project to benefit the community.

              The classmates were cooperation about who will attend meetings; gather information, logistical and tactical requirements of the Blight project. The most effective and direct process will involve creation of necessary stakeholders. Their work will be of allocating other venues such as political, legal and media of which will greatly influence the decisions of the undertaken project.

            The classmates were hade a such grate aides about regarding the point the inputs or exhibits will be obtained and its worth after sale. The Blight project is a volunteer work whereby most exhibits will be obtained through donations or buying. After a mega collection of exhibits, the public will be informed and visit the located center and charged at a fee. The revenue collected will go back to the community and fix up the abandoned homes and yards in the city.

 

Haleem

Ubenjamin's picture

Albashrawi,

Blight is big in our community due to the corruption and high crime rates, I agree. Being able to restore the homes would bring more value to the area as long as we continue to care for it. For this to take place it would take multiple participants. If this became possible, the public would be more informed and most likely would want to get involved. This would reduce the amount of money needed because they would be volunteering. 

Benjamin 

Ubenjamin's picture

The reason citizens get involved with the community is to help solve an issue or influence others. In group three, our project was over woman’s domestic violence. We decided that we did not need to use much funding because we plan on getting donations of money or art supplies from the local community. We then focused on finding a bus route for the women to get to and from the museum. To promote an art show featuring pieces by the victims of domestic violence, we will post flyers at local businesses to introduce this issue to the community. At the art gallery we will provide classes for the victims to express their feelings through art while providing a daycare for their children.

A program we would design would be a support group hosted at colleges. The group would be dedicated to art where they are able to express themselves through their medium of choice. On the night we showcase their artwork, they would participate as staff members to explain the meaning of the pieces created. Later in the evening we would auction off the artwork. Throughout the showing there would be short films, theatre performances, and an art gallery all dedicated to domestic violence.

Some struggles we faced in the classroom was the attendance of our group. When a member of the group missed a day, we would have get them up to date on what was going on. Another issue we had was when our professors would throw us for a loop. For an example, they would reduce the money we were given. They also made all the groups combine our projects into one large project to inform the community. I still believe that one large project would not fully inform or affect the community like we want it to.

The projected outcome is helping the victims by providing them jobs and potentially getting them away from their situations at home. Any of the profits made that evening would go towards building another woman’s shelter. The community would be more understanding towards those who face domestic violence.

Nebarra's picture

My group had the homeless and we also came up with an auction at are museum that will have a black-tie event and sell local artist art works. My professor also threw my class when he kept decreasing are money, but we were raising are own money through the auction and we were going to have donation boxes at the museum and around town and local events. My group came up with a similar program as your group, but a little bit different. 

Nkwasny's picture

I'm curious: you seem against the idea of having one large project as opposed to the several little projects we originally planned. I mean, I agree that little projects with their own funding would be able to concentrate more on their own issues, but the little projects still exist in the big project, don't they? I don't recall our groups having to drastically change their ideas when they transitioned over into the big project. Of course, changes were made because of budget cuts, but my personal opinion was that having the groups combine helped their individual ideas. It meant that each problem was given awareness at multiple events or locations, depending on the ideas your class had, not to mention the help from employees and volunteers the groups were able to exchange if need be. Would you have thought it better to use all of the funds toward one project, instead of spreading the resources too thin?

Upool's picture

I completely agree with your statement of attendance being a struggle within groups. In my group we also come across that problem as well. I like your idea of passing out flyers to raise awareness. I also agree with your statement with the large project will not affect the community. I believe that we had some great idea but, we will need to find something that will attract to all age groups to make a difference. 

UHawcroft's picture

Benjamin,

The activity of art is a great outlet for all individuals. So glad that your group is encouraging freedom of expression through art. Herstory Project is a group that supports girls to share their stories though written poems. The project then share them anonymously and includes works by the staff as well. I love that your group is looking to support from the locals before leaning on the government for funding.

 

N alkhadrawi's picture

" Later in the evening we would auction off the artwork. Throughout the showing there would be short films, theatre performances, and an art gallery all dedicated to domestic violence"

I really love what you ware doing i love the action off the atwork and also the idea of having short films it is verey useful and its amizing becouse nowadys people are so into social media and It will be easy to deploy it.and people would love what they sow and we will get more volunteers. 

Nebarra's picture

             For the ecology of democracy project everyone in my class were put into groups and each group received an issue in society today like my group got homeless people and some of the homeless have mental issue, other groups had abuse, racisms within schools, veterans, and abuse and homeless women and children. Each group had to come up with a solution and a plan to help their issue and had to pick what kind of institute they were, like my group we were a museum that had mostly art pieces. We had a problem and we had to come up with a process, program, and projected outcome for are problem, the four P’s.

            The teacher gave us the problem which was homeless, we then had to come up with a process to help the homeless. In my group we talked and discussed ways to help them. We decided that we were a museum, so we would have local artists donate art pieces to the museum and display the pieces for a week and at the end of the week we would have a black-tie event were people can come and buy the art pieces that were on display and all the workers helping at the auction would be volunteers and museum workers. All the money we get from the auction will then go toward the funds to help buy and renovate a building for the homeless. We will also have a donation box at the museum all the time, so people can donate, and we will also put donation boxes at local events and around town, so people can donate. We will advertise what we are doing like the black-tie auction and the donation boxes on local news channels, on the radio, and we will put an ad in the newspaper to get the word out. Homeless is a problem and my group can up with a program to help the homeless.    

            Are program will be once we get enough money we will then buy a building and renovate it by making individual little apartments each with their own little kitchen. We will ask for volunteers and museum workers to help renovate the build. We will also ask business like Home depot and local contractors to donate building materials. Some homeless people have mental problems we will ask a psychiatrist if they are willing to do pro bono work and talk to the homeless to help them out. We are also going to do internships for people who are going into or already in the psychology field. We would like to have someone at the building all time. We are going to help the homeless on their feet’s by helping them fill out applications, social security, and anything else they need help with.

            The projected outcome of the program is to get homeless people off the streets and get them the help they need by talking to a psychiatrist. We will try to help the homeless people get a job and get them back on their feet’s. The most important thing is to get the homeless people off the streets and get a roof over their heads. To help them get back into society and get the help that they need.  

            In chapter six of the ecology of democracy book it discussed decision making, involvement, and how people get involved in something because the person is either directly affected by it or they hold deep concerns for the topic. In my project it was to help the homeless and I really did get into the project because you see it all around you and you cannot help yourself for feeling sad and wanted to help. My group started out with not sure were to start or how to go about helping the homeless. We had a couple of areas where it was hard to find the necessary funding for are project, but we all threw around ideas and come up with the black-tie auction and to auction off the art pieces that we put on display by local artists for the week. My group know it was going to be a hard to renovate a building and keep it running, but people will want to help because everyone sees someone homeless and want to do something to help. I believe people want to help, but they do not know were to start or how to help. So, I believe if you can get the word about it out then people will want to come and help.

            The ecology of democracy project was an eye opener and made me think about problems and how I can help. I allowed me to brainstorm ideas and ways to help the homeless. It was a challenge to do, but I believe my group and I came up with a great idea that I feel could get done in real life. It allowed me to solve a major problem in society and once we finished the project I was proud of what my group and I came up with. I believe there are solutions to major problems, people just have to want to help.                   

 

 

Nkwasny's picture

In my “Let’s Go Arts!” class, we were assigned a group, and a scenario to work out within that group. Including myself, my group was comprised of five members, all with quite different personalities and thought processes. Each group was told to pick an arts institution to represent. My group all exchanged glances before one of our group members, who would later become our “leader,” threw out the idea of a hands-on children’s museum. We all agreed to it. Then each group was given a problem facing our imaginary community, and what we, as arts institutions, could do about it. We were told to come up with a process, program, and a projected outcome for what we could do to solve the problem. Before this project was assigned, however, we were told to read chapter six of the Ecology of Democracy, and think about how we utilized its material in our group project.

Our first step as a group was our problem. Our group was assigned the problem of high rates of veterans who are divorced, suicidal, homeless, have PTSD, etc. in our community. We were given an amount of twenty-five thousand dollars to accomplish this. Like in the chapter, a group of people was presented with a problem, and now we had to figure out what to do about it. I was relieved when we were given our problem; it seemed like it would work well with our chosen arts institution and, as it turned out, I was correct. As soon as our professor gave us our problem, my group began to think.

Immediately, a few in my group, especially our soon-to-be leader, began naming off ideas, many of which we kept. I rather liked our group, and the different ideas we all had. As discussed in chapter six, good decisions are more likely to come about if there is deliberation with others. Our thought process involved a lot of brainstorming, but a few members in our group were particularly skilled at coming up with ideas. We made progress, and before long we had come up with our process that would help our veterans by using our arts institution. Our idea was to take fifteen percent of all profits our museum made and donate said profits to foundations that would help veterans. To add on to it, donation boxes would be put in strategic locations around our museum. Soon, our process to help the veterans evolved into a coherent program.

Our third step was our program that we dubbed “Helping Hand for a Hero.” We hadn’t come up with a name for our museum, but, for some subconscious reason, we put some time into creating a name for our program. However, even the chapter stated that names can help connect people to the problem, and I feel like our name helped do just that. Our first name for the program was even thrown out because one of our group members suggested it might be in poor taste, which, after some consideration, the rest of us agreed that it might be. This just goes to show how two heads are always better than one, and different opinions help one in decision-making. This program encompassed all of the ideas we came up with to help our veterans. Our first idea was for an event called “Story with a Soldier.” Again, the need for a name for the program came up naturally. Our plan was to invite veterans to come to the museum once a month, where children could pick out a book from the gift shop, and the veteran would read it to them. Afterward, the veteran could sign the book, and the child could take it home. All profits on that certain day, instead of just fifteen percent, would go toward our “Helping Hand for a Hero” program. Our second event was a spaghetti benefit dinner. We would host this dinner twice a year, in May and October, and it would be staffed by our employees and volunteers, such as teenagers from the local high school. Our employees would be in charge of bringing side dishes and desserts in.  Admission would be free, but a free-will offering to our program would be provided; one of the members in our group pointed out that people are usually more willing to give if the offering is free-will. It was also mentioned that, should they have the need for one – in the case of being homeless – veterans would be offered a free haircut for this event. There was also talk of using some of our budget to get some guest speakers to come and give a speech at this event. This benefit dinner would help raise awareness to our cause, and hopefully encourage more people to get involved. I believe the benefit dinner was our best idea, and it was certainly the idea we put the most time into; our leader was particularly helpful in coming up with details for this idea. Everybody in our group seemed satisfied by the time we moved on to our last step.

Our fourth and final step was our projected outcome. Overall, our goal was to raise awareness of in-need veterans in our community and to help bigger foundations that help veterans by donating our profits to them. We hoped to spur the people in our community to action by helping to make a connection with them to the problem.  Through this, we hoped to lower the rates at which veterans are homeless, divorced, suicidal, etc. in our community. It was a big goal, but it was an eventuality we hoped to bring to our imaginary community. However, before we could sign, seal, and deliver our idea, our professor threw a few obstacles our way.

Our budget was continually slashed. As we originally had twenty five thousand dollars to work with, this was supposed to throw quite a wrench into our plans. However, I found that while this may have been problematic for other groups, the budget cuts didn’t affect our project too much. By the time our professor had finished cutting our budget, we had only five thousand dollars to work with. I do not believe our program suffered from this. “Helping Hand for a Hero” thrives on our museum profits and volunteer work more so than outside funds. While we certainly weren’t going to turn down outside help, our program seemed to be built more self-sustaining than most. This definitely helped make our project a little easier; I was pleased with how that worked in our favor. Even though we had no idea of the obstacle waiting for us, our decisions helped to work in favor of the consequences of the budget cuts in the end.  After all of the budget-cutting, we were asked to present our finished idea to the class; this was when we officially elected our “leader.”

Overall, I didn’t mind working on the project. I liked working in a group. The whole project definitely helped our class to become more comfortable with one another; and even though our problem was for an imaginary community, I enjoyed deliberating with others to work through all the problems and come up with ideas that would benefit all. Even though all we were doing was working in a classroom toward a grade, it felt like we were working toward a real solution. 

Nhildreth's picture

I think it's really important that we focus on the issues facing veterans today because they aren't talked about enough. There is a stigma around mental health and many soldiers who are experiencing PTSD (like you mentioned) don't walways know how and where to get help. The benefit dinners with guest speakers I think are a really great way to show vets that we care about them and want them to know that they can get help if they need it. And I think our group worked really well together and we came up with some really great ideas to help the vets.

Nreis's picture

I agree, and another aspect of our program is that we didn't only give the veterans food and once a month a book for them to read and interact with kids, we also gave them hope and respect that they need to encourage them to maybe find a job, go back to their families, or get treatment, if so needed. 

Ulaurin's picture

I liked how to made it a point to mention how the budget kept getting cut, and how that affected each group, and the groups as a whole. It was very inconvenient when the budget got cut from $25000 to $5000, and we had to react to the changes. I also like how your group didn't take the budget cut as a negative affect on your project because you already had your plan set up, and it didn't involve a ton of extra needed money from the mayor. I agree that it was enjoyable to work and talk with others in the class, and I agree that this project definitley taught me what it could be like to really be involved in a community decision like this, and some successful ways to move towards a solution. 

N alkhadrawi's picture

i completley see what your saying , and i think that it is really important in the group to focusing in the main idea which is the problem that you are trying to solve however you got 500$ or 5000$ and your group was really good of their ideas and their opinion of solving the problem it was smart and new ideas..

UHawcroft's picture

Nkwasny,

 

I definitely agree that the name of a group or program does have an influence on its success or failure. A creative catchy name is what helps an individual remember and repeat the message. The easier a message to repeat, the more potential it has to be shared, and possibly go viral.

My dad recently shared/repeated a story he viewed with me about a veteran living on the street homeless. The veteran had a job lined up that fell through and he ended up living on the street for almost a year. A lady ran out of gas in the area where the vet ‘lived’. The man came up to her and told her to stay in the car. He went and bought gas for her with the last of his money. The lady who the vet helped, wished to assist him and started a Gofundme page and with an outpouring of support, exceeded the initial goal exponentially. After receiving help, the veteran, was determined to help pay the kindness forward and help other veterans.The total at publication of this story was over $100,000.

 

Nhildreth's picture

For my group’s project we were assigned to take on the challenge of helping the veterans in our community. A lot of them were homeless, unemployed and had mental health issues such as PTSD. We needed to find a way for our community to get involved with them and recognize that they were struggling. Our organization was a hands-on children’s museum, so we needed to find a way to incorporate families and children into helping the veteran community.

    We started brainstorming to come up with ideas on how to tackle this seemly overwhelming problem. Originally our budget for this project was $25,000. We decided that our museum, since we don’t directly deal with veterans, should set up a fund/organization to raise money. We called this “Helping Hand for Heroes”. The proceeds would come from donations, ticket sales, auctions, and benefit dinners (more on that later). The goal in setting up the fund was to raise money so we could give it to veteran’s hospitals, veteran centers, etc so they could get the care they needed and be able to go to places that could provide assistance to them directly. The veteran’s centers can help the vets find jobs, get counseling, and provide necessities. We also wanted to share stories and raise awareness through social media and reminding the community that it’s important to get involved. We also wanted the museum to partner up with services such as; National Center for Post-Traumatic stress Disorder, Wounded Warrior Project, etc so we could get more people involved to show how dedicated we are and to raise more funds for our local vets. We hope to get The Flint Journal and Channel 12 News to report on our programs like our Storytime with a Soldier, benefit dinners, auctions, etc. Our most important goal is to get the community to be aware of the struggles of veterans and that they need to help.

    Our first program is called “Storytime with a Soldier”. During this time (once a month), families can bring in their children and they can meet a real life hero and hear some of their stories. Along with that the veterans can read to the children some books. All the proceeds from the ticket sales, souvenir sales, museum income for that day, will go towards our fund to give to the VA centers. Our other big program was to do a biannual benefit dinner. This would depend entirely on the support of the community and volunteers. It would be hosted in the museum and everyone would bring a dish to share, volunteers would provide tables, chairs, silverware, etc. We would try our best to get sponsors so we could have decorations and maybe get a guest speaker to talk about life for veterans right now. This would be free and open to the public and free for veterans. We would also hold a silent auction and the proceeds from that would go to the VA center.

    Ultimately, we want to bring awareness to the issues that are facing veterans today, especially in our community. We want the community to be more involved and we want to show vets that we care. The money we raise can go towards keeping VA hospitals and centers open and giving them more access to utilities. We want them to be able to get the care they need and also be able to find jobs.

One of the biggest issues we faced in this project was the fact that our budget got slashed from $25,000 to $5,000 by the mayor due to the high amount of projects going on in the community. We needed 25k to do our project in its entirety, so we had to get creative. One of the ways we made ends meet was to hire lots and lots of volunteers to set up our benefit dinners. We thought it would be a good idea for high school students to get involved so they could get their National Honors Society hours. The food also wouldn’t be catered, it would be brought by museum employees and volunteers. We figured the museum workers could pull their money together to hire a guest speaker. Also, we thought that getting sponsors to donate items for the silent auction would be great. We also needed to find ways that veterans would want to come out, so we provided the incentives of a free meal and also donating money towards a fund that would help them. We had some trouble coming up with the name for our fund, “Helping Hand for Heroes”, but we just needed to pull together our ideas.

When all the five groups came together we all were faced with different issues in the community. Some needed to deal with homelessness, racism in schools, battered women, and abused children. This issues are very serious and a lot of times it’s topics that are sensitive to talk about because they can affect some many people in negative ways. Two of the groups wanted to perform plays, the other two groups wanted to create a facility/housing to help their affected groups. The goal was to come together to do a black-tie auction event and perform plays. Our profits would depend of mostly donations and bids (and some sponsorships too). The money from the dinner/auction would go towards creating housing and the money raised from the plays would go to nonprofits. The goal was to help as many groups as possible and create new housing for those that need it.

In chapter six of The Ecology of Democracy, the author talks about how important it is for citizens to be informed and to participate in democracy. This is relevant to my project because with the help of everyone in the community and getting involved, no progress would have been made. The way that ideas turn into action is by making sure that people get involved with the cause and want to promote it and campaign for change. Chapter six points out that we all have values that we hold close to us. Many people value hard work and charity, so it makes sense for citizens to want to get involved with solving issues in our local community. Values are an important factor in determining if we are going to be invested in a problem. Chapter six says that the values we hold are what’s best for the common good. Most people would agree that helping the ones that served our country is beneficial to all of us. We want veterans to know that we appreciate their service and the sacrifices that they have made for us. They deserve to be respected, and we should help them in their time of need, just like they helped us be safe from danger. We use judgement all the time when making a decision, and when citizens want to get involved they are informed of the facts, and then use judgement to make a decision, this is what chapter six wants us to know. Overall, there are many connections between the chapter we read and our projects.

Overall, I think our project turned out to be really great. Our group worked together in a very efficient and polite manner, and we all respected one another’s ideas. What started out as a small idea grew to becoming real ways in which we, a museum, could help vets in our community. The storytime readings and benefit dinners will be crucial in helping support VA hospitals and centers, which is what will most benefit vets. We had some challenges to overcome like our budget getting slashed, but we always found a way to rise back up. The veterans in this country have done some much for us, now it’s time we help them too.

 

UCambri's picture

Your group had a very nice and well-thought out program for assisting veterans in the community. The programs, "Helping Hand for Heroes" and "Storytime with a Soldier" were intriguing names and could be a very useful strategy to invite more people to donate to your cause. Many veterans struggle to find stability in their lives after serving and I think it's nice that you're helping them with that. Also, the idea of integrating children and family members with a hands-on museum was creative as well because it is a good strategy for all ages of  people within the community. 

Nhildreth's picture

Thank you! We all tried hard to bring catchy names to our programs because it's easier for kids to remember and they were fun to come up with. We think it's important that kids and families learn about our veterans and maybe try to help them out. We tried to be as inclusive as possible when coming up with programs. We wanted the kids and the veterans to find something they were interested in.

Nreis's picture

In my Let’s Go Arts’ class, we were split in groups and each group was assigned a task and we were told to find solutions for it. My group’s task was to find a way to help veterans who struggle with PTSD, homelessness, and other medical problems. Each group chose an artistic organization to be and my group was a hands-on children’s museum, and we had to find a way to solve the veteran’s problem with the help of children and families that attend our museum.

First, we had $25.000,00 from the mayor to sponsor our cause, so we had to figure out the problem, process, program and projected outcome. Our original idea was to raise money and with fundraiser, auctions, and donations to fund our two main programs. First one was a “story time with a soldier” where we would have children and families coming to our museum to listen to a real hero (the veterans) reading them a story, and all the income made that day would go to our organization called “Helping Hand for Heroes”, and that would happen once every month. Our second program is a benefit dinner twice a year, one in May and the other one in October. In that event, we would have the help from the community, volunteers and employees to organize a big dinner for all veterans and everyone that wants to come. For our benefit dinner, we would try to get sponsors so we can decorate, bring guest speakers and even famous people, and with that providing a nice and comfortable situation and environment for veterans and doing so, possibly encouraging veterans to find a job, go back to their houses and get help.

After having every idea concrete and ready to start working on it, the mayor announces that our budget was cut from $25.000 to $5.000, not only ours but also everyone else’s. We needed all the $25.000 to fund our organization so we had to find a solution for that. We realized that for both of our programs we didn’t need that much money and we could do everything for free with the help of volunteers and the community, but we also need our organization to make all of that happen so we needed the society’s help. So, all the groups had to work together to get all of ours projects done with the limited income we have. We worked together and came up with solutions for all of our problems all in once. We had the two museums coming together for the benefit dinner and a black-tie auction twice a year, two theater companies working together on a play about both of their issues, racism and child abuse. And movie companies also working together to create plays, films and advertisement of all of our organizations.

Chapter six of Ecology of Democracy talks about how important it is for citizens to help and work with the community, and to take part in the democracy, as the definition says, government by the people, or rule of the majority. This chapter is related with my project because all groups had to come together to solve problems in our society, problems that are not solved by only one individual or organization, and we all need the help of the community to succeed in our tasks, for example our benefit-dinner program, we depend on the citizens for that. Ecology of Democracy is related to our values and ideals, and how we help each other in our community. We know that the veterans are really important for America and they are respected as they should be, so, why not extend a helping hand to ones who saved and served your country.

After discussions and alliances, every group came together to help the community, with all our ideas and programs, all groups got the help they needed: housing facilities are created for the homeless, and plays and movies to bring awareness about racism and children abuse and options to help them. In my opinion, we got the results we all wanted and our organizations and programs would be effective when it comes to the problem in concern.