Starting to download a bunch more literature on the concept of community empowerment. Thinking about on Evan et al paper from SSSP, I wonder when does individual transformation lead to community change? What are the mechanism that turn individual interests into community goals. This brings in some of the reading I was doing on individual motivation which talks about linking individual interests to collective ones. This is also supported by political theorists like Rousseau.
Each of the youth I’ve interviewed thus far have been able to envision an issue that they care about and envision making change. The two youth at DERC, talked about the space as helping them appreciate diverse people more and building strong bonds to others. What does the literature say about that? In the case of the one youth at FBP who had a more advanced sense of engagement, he had a family history of community service, was connected to the park prior to being a worker, and had spent more years involved in the neighborhood.
I think with the FBP group, the major lesson learned is that the organization provided a positive work environment. I’m not convinced that they created a stronger sense of change or possibility of change than any other type of work environment. They did create a greater awareness of park conservation and brought new skills to the group (i.e. using tools, working with others, identifying plants). The team building activities created a a positive work environment.
So the challenge now is to figure out how the social justice organization youth come to understand their roles, etc.