Imagining our Dream Community

Objectives

  • To visualize your group’s ideal community
  • To let music and art inspire your group

Materials

  • Music player with songs preloaded (see Warm Up)
  • Butcher paper/flip chart paper (6 pieces)
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • 8.5 x 11 paper
  • “Community Worksheet” handouts (1 per every 3-6 participants)

Prepare Before

Make sure the participants have completed the “Coping Strategies: Getting Together” lesson (which is in Get Started > Community Support) prior to this lesson. You may remind them of the description of Getting Together: “This is the ONLY strategy that really helps us, our family and our communities move forward in creating change.  People have always made gains by GETTING TOGETHER through organized struggles.”

Set up Carousel for the Experience activity.  On butcher paper, write the following questions: (one question per paper)

  1. What physical things do you see in this community?
  2. How does it feel to live in this community?
  3. What sounds do you hear?
  4. What does it smell like?
  5. What kinds of things happen in this community?
  6. What does a typical day look like?

Warm Up

Play one of the following songs:

  • “Get By” by Talib Kweli
  • “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  • “Imagine” by John Lennon

What does this song say about community?

Experience

We’re going to create a vision of a new and vibrant school community where everyone’s needs are addressed and met. This community includes all of the school members, parents and relatives of school members, children yet to be born and elders. In this community everyone receives the support they need to grow, learn, and flourish. You can also use a neighborhood as the frame for your community if not doing your YPAR project in a school setting.

Post the flip chart papers around the room.  Divide the group into 6 teams.  Teams will rotate around the room to each paper.  Participants can write words or images on the paper.  After all the teams have rotated to each station, participants will read to the rest of the class what is on the flip chart paper.

Reflect

Were there any contrasting answers on the papers? What were they?

Do these ideas represent Getting Together?  Why or why not?

Was it hard or easy for you to imagine a dream community?

Why is it sometimes hard to imagine something different?

Summarize

Part of building a community that works for everyone is having a dream.  Sometimes it’s hard to dream because we don’t see how the dream could really happen.  We get stuck looking at things from the way they are rather than envisioning how they COULD be.

In order to effectively Get Together, we have to make sure that everyone’s needs are met, and everyone is supported in the community.  As our community Gets Together there is no longer a need for the other GET strategies.

Demonstrate

Next, we are going to take these dreams a few steps further into reality by adding details and more ideas.  Your assignment is to further describe what this community is like.

Divide the group into teams of 3-6 people (if you can, divide them into writing teams and drawing teams). Each team will create either a large detailed picture or writing (essay, poem, letter) of several paragraphs. Each team should get a “Community Worksheet.”  Team members should discuss and take notes on their answers before they create their picture or writing.

Allow time for each team to create their community and to share their work with the rest of the class.