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

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

Building Community, Building Citizenship

Citizenship 1Data from the most recent U.S. Census tells us that ten percent of Omaha’s total population is foreign-born.  71.6% of these individuals are not United States citizens.  Since this figure emerged as a bit of a surprise, Deirdre Routt and I decided to explore the relationship between citizenship and community.  Does a higher percentage of citizenship equal a more inclusive community?  Is there something happening in Omaha that functions as a barrier to citizenship?  Are these issues as intertwined as we suspect or are we assuming a relationship that isn’t valid?  Does citizenship matter? More