COMMUNITY BUILDING PROCESS
An essential aspect of Rebuild Potrero is a community building program aimed at increasing the internal capacity of Potrero Terrace and Annex residents to improve their quality of life and effect positive change in their community. Increasing the community’s capacity will allow it to collectively identify opportunities for change and create structures to implement them. Additionally, the community building program seeks to build relationships and create channels of communication to ensure awareness of and participation in the ongoing Rebuild Potrero process.
The overall goals of the community building program are as follows:
- Increase community awareness and participation in the Rebuild Potrero project;
- Develop the community’s capacity to work together to solve collective problems and develop institutions to implement projects and activities;
- Strengthen existing organizations’ and institutions’ ability to meet the needs of the community by reducing barriers and increasing access and connections to existing programs and services; and
- Provide community leaders with formal and informal leadership opportunities and develop the potential of future community leaders and leadership structures
To date, hundreds of community members have participated in Rebuild Potrero activities, workshops and meetings. The most committed formed the Community Building Group that meets regularly to plan for community building activities. The group is made up of approximately 30 people representing a cross section of the neighborhood. The Community Building Group serves as the umbrella organization for the Rebuild Potrero community building program. The group meets every other month to (1) get updates about the Rebuild Potrero project, (2) hear about the continued efforts, updates and needs of community action teams, (3) plan future Community Building events, and (4) provide a social space for continued interaction between community members from all sides of the Hill.
Action Teams arose out of a process that engaged hundreds of community members in a facilitated discussion about the future of their community and what they want it to look like. Called “get-togethers”, and starting with small groups of Potrero Terrace and Annex residents, these discussions created an environment of trust, modeled a new form of community participation and left residents with a greater feeling of empowerment and a desire to effect change in their community.