Imagine a community that is caring and compassionate. Is that your community? If not, could it be? And what would that community look like to you? What kind of children live in that community?
The answers to these questions are out there and the Dalai Lama Center, in partnership with Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House
, is undertaking an exciting initiative that aims to find these answers with participation at all levels of a community.
It’s called the “Compassionate Children, Caring Communities Inquiry” and it’s designed to engage parents, grandparents, children youth and key stakeholders in a change process focusing on the social and emotional learning and development of young people in their families and community.
It’s appreciative inquiry (AI), a tried and tested cultural change methodology of finding creative solutions by asking the questions, “what are the strengths within the system?” and “What do we want more of?” The Compassionate Children, Caring Communities Inquiry is unique in its ability to reach a wide cross-section in a community by spreading the process out over several months to engage lots of people and creating several points of entry into the process.
The initiative has been designed and implemented in consultation with appreciative inquiry expert Dr Gervase Bushe
, Professor of Leadership and Organization Development at Simon Fraser University.
The central, affirmative question we ask is, “what can people and communities do to encourage compassion, cooperation and confidence in children?”
There are four stages to the Compassionate Children, Caring Communities Inquiry.
What’s working well? Where is a community finding success? Through the “Discover” phase, we unearth the assets within your community that are already modeling the positive action you seek. This is a collaborative process.
What could a compassionate community look like? Who are the people that you would meet in that community? How are children learning to be compassionate, caring and cooperative?” “Dream” is a highly creative phase takes the lessons learned and new ideas that surfaced during discovery and imagines how they could be implemented in the future.
What processes would allow us to actualize our dreams? How do you get to our compassionate community? The “Design” phase is a co-creative process, identifying strategies and developing a plan to create the compassionate community you imagine.
An ongoing process, the “Destiny” phase is the implementation of the plans created by the community – for the community.
We’re currently entering the “Design” phase of our pilot project in an East Vancouver neighbourhood. Learn more about the inquiry with the links below.