United Way of Hancock County and The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation are currently training facilitators and note takers as well as scheduling groups to participate in community conversations. This effort is a part of a community assessment process. The information gathered at the community conversations will be used to determine potential areas of focus for United Way of Hancock County and The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation.
Community conversation facilitators will guide the small group conversations. Facilitators will be trained one-on-one or in small groups. Facilitators should be able to work with diverse groups, be comfortable with small groups of people in non-traditional locations and be able to create an open, nonjudgmental environment. Facilitators will be trained on the Hardwood Institute community conversation process. Initial community conversation questions will be provided to the facilitators. Meetings will be scheduled based on agreed upon times between the facilitator and the group. Conversations will last up to 90 minutes. Facilitators will be accompanied by note takers in order to allow the conversation to flow uninhibited. United Way or Community Foundation staff may also be in attendance to facilitate or take notes.
The goal is to hear from 1,000 Hancock County residents by late summer of 2017. City and county neighborhoods, county villages and rural residents are encouraged to host conversations. The last time community conversations were held was in 2014.
“Although we regularly reach out to individuals and groups to learn about what works and what doesn’t in our community, the goal of the community conversations is to talk to as many people as possible, in many different settings and locations, to learn as much as we can about the Findlay-Hancock County community,” said John Urbanski, president and CEO of United Way.
These conversations are “kitchen table” style, meaning they are informal and encourage openness to all opinions. Participants are welcome to offer their personal experiences and concerns, covering both the challenges they face and the aspirations they hold.
“It is important for us to understand the issues facing our community,” Katherine Kreuchauf, president and CEO of The Community Foundation said. “By gathering small groups of people who represent various groups of the community, we facilitate conversations that allow individuals to share their thoughts on where the community is and where it should be going. These informal gatherings, similar to small focus groups, will allow us to meet face to face with groups of city and county residents, on their turf, and allows residents to share their perspectives on various topics and issues.”
Community conversations can be held at a location chosen by the group. United Way meeting rooms are also available. Community conversations should include a space for 10 – 12 people to gather and face each other.
If interested in scheduling a community conversation, or signing up to volunteer, visit http://liveunitedhancockcounty.org/community-conversations or contact Beverly Phillips, United Way’s community services director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-423-1432. Volunteers who want to serve as facilitators or note takers should also contact Phillips.
For more information about the community conversations project, contact:
Kathy Kreuchauf, President and CEO of The Community Foundation
John Urbanski, President and CEO of United Way of Hancock County
Tamera Rooney, Communications Director, United Way of Hancock County