Denton Neighborhood Empowerment Summit

Learn more about POP Dallas.

On October 27, 2012, bcWORKSHOP supported the City of Denton Neighborhood Planning Program's efforts to provide residents with tools to affect positive change in their neighborhoods by engaging them with the POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas Toolkit at the fourth annual Neighborhood Empowerment Summit.

Local advocates first learned about the Toolkit as a common language that guides people in understanding their physical and social environments, as well as provides them with tools to position themselves as effective advocates for change.  Next, the participants had to critically reflect on what they had done and were already doing in their neighborhood, allowing them to develop an informed strategy for advancing their interests.

The Toolkit requires active engagement, so bcWORKSHOP challenged participants to critically reflect on their daily behavior through several high-energy activities.  They were first given cards on which they wrote stories of what they have done in their communities related to a specific tool, and shared these stories in small groups.  In the same groups, they collectively chose one tool for a reflection exercise.  Group members were responsible for dissecting the story using the Toolkit’s four-step process by identifying the scale, naming the method used, and evaluating the tool's success.  The exercise generated productive dialogue, as groups discussed other tools that could be more effective and how their relationship with the physical environment influenced their actions.

To emphasize that sharing ideas and stories is an integral part of the Toolkit, bcW concluded the session by having each group not only present their discussion, but also defend the reasons their tool was appropriate for discovering, sharing, or making.