Full Circle

Full CircleMy FIT Team colleagues and I recently facilitated a quarterly meeting of the Community Services Section for Lutheran Family Services.  I remember looking around the room and observing the participants’ reactions as we ran the icebreaker and other group activities.  There was rolling of the eyes, confusion, disinterest, etc.  I was worried.  Would they get anything out of this process?  As I let go of this worry, I reflected back on my first meeting to learn about facilitation.  I too rolled my eyes, was somewhat disinterested, AND inserted my opinion often!  I changed. More

I Carry Blue Painter’s Tape in My Bag

Blue Painter's TapeHow has the FIT Team experience helped you in your personal and professional life?

Ah, let me count the ways.

Personally

First, the ground rules had great influence in my life.  Second, I made some incredible personal connections through this experience.  Third, I learned things that have been useful in all aspects of my life.  Fourth, I connected with my kids through the games and activities we have done.

I previously wrote a few posts about how the ground rules became part of my personal life.  The one that has had, and continues to have, the most impact, is Everything is an Offer.  That attitude of gratitude and acceptance is very powerful.  I need to keep it in mind more often – especially as my kids become teenagers. More

Becoming an Omaha Citizen via the FIT Team

Self ConfidenceMy invitation to be part of the FIT Team came as I was transitioning into a brand new job at the library.  As I was learning the ins and outs of a new branch and a new role that was further outside my comfort zone than any previous job, I was asked to train in something called facilitation.  If I were better at saying no, I might have at that point.  I would have really missed out on being part of something that was so terrifying and so special. More

The FIT Team Impact on My Life

Conflict ResolutionParticipation in the FIT Team has impacted my life in unanticipated ways.  This experience provided benefits for my navigation of the world.  When this project began, the number one most terrifying thing was the possibility of conflict resolution during facilitation.  I’ve shied away from conflict as long as I can remember.  I just want everyone to be happy, healthy, and respectful to each other all the time.  This should be an easy thing, right?  Just thinking I might hurt someone’s feelings, pride, and/or cause offense can be nearly unbearable.  While the FIT Team experience equipped me with tools to defuse a touchy situation, it also taught me to just be okay with conflict.  More

Prisoner Reentry – Family and Friends of Inmates

Prisoner Reentry 4Purpose

Nebraska state prisons are 53% over capacity.  Proposed legislation to lessen this overcrowding would result in more former convicts reentering the community.  While many groups are working to address the impact and needs of ex-inmates, there is no nexus for reentry information and services.  Uniform awareness of and access to services and increased communication between service providers would allow these groups to strengthen their services.  Stronger services would lead to more positive reentry outcomes.  The Omaha community would grow stronger by reducing unemployment and recidivism and fortifying families. More

Talent Drain (Outmigration of Young Professionals in Omaha)

Talent Drain 2Purpose Statement

Omaha is facing a loss of talented employees and a mis-match of education versus job needs that is affecting our employment market.   Omaha is not attracting or retaining employees for a variety of reasons.  This issue is causing both short and long-term concerns from key organizations such as the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Heartland 2050 project, and the Greater Omaha Young Professionals.  Local organizations recognize that a meeting needs to be dedicated to this topic, key players identified, and action items designated. More

Neighborhood Engagement through Health Impact Assessments

City PlanningNancy and I were given the opportunity to approach our final pilot project a bit differently. During our project process, we developed our own vision for the possible future of OPL (Omaha Public Library) facilitation. We were aware that the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) was about to embark upon a community engagement initiative of their own because of previous FIT (Facilitator-in-Training) Team developments. Various FIT Team members sensed that facilitation could really help the health department overcome some of their challenges. Happily, our DCHD contact welcomed our unsolicited offer and was grateful for the assistance. We worked closely with Andy Wessel, DCHD’s Community Health Planner, throughout this process. The DCHD received a two-year grant to examine and experiment with their current public input processes. Since the workshop we participated in was the first step, its goal was to define desired outcomes for successful neighborhood engagement. This success definition was a collaborative effort with the meeting’s stakeholders including city planners, community leaders, developers, neighborhood alliance leaders, and architects. More

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