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JULY 2019


A great group of community connectors, from a diversity of sectors, gathered for Monday's workshop with Jonathan Massimi, the second in a series of 2019 Community 101 events supported by Northumberland United Way. When it comes to citizen-led community organizing, there's no sheet music to follow. This work is much more like jazz than a symphony, Some players show up, one offers a melody and each player joins in with their unique part adding to the whole and making some exciting new music together. At Green Wood Coalition, we've been looking at ways to organize our community activities and learning about community building models. That quest led us to Asset-Based Community Development or ABCD, a way of organizing that’s inclusive of all community members.

Jonathan Massimi

Workshop presenter, Jonathan Massimi shares our passion for connecting and resourcing those who desire to build healthy and vibrant communities. He's worked more than 20 years in grassroots community development work. He just completed his PhD and currently works as Community Centres Supervisor for the City of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Jonathan explains that ABCD is a more sustainable model of community development than needs-based community development, because needs-based approaches may perpetuate community problems by emphasizing deficiencies and the necessity for reliance on outside assistance. By contrast, ABCD aims to build capacity within communities by using the gifts of ordinary people. He doesn't claim that this is always easy to accomplish but advises, "You have to move at the speed of trust."


​During his talk, Jonathan referred to a couple of resources that would be ideal next steps for anyone interesting in learning more about ABCD or strengths-based community organizing. The first is a TED Talk by Cormac Russell, ​ Director of Nurture Development, the leading Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) organisation in Europe.

The other helpful introduction is the very accessible book by Jonathan's mentor, John McKnight, and Peter Block, ​The Abundant Community.

A couple of other useful links would be: The Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University, in Chicago is the centre for this movement. In Canada, Tamarack Institute, in Waterloo is leading on ABCD education and engagement. If you'd like to stay connected with developments in community organizing through Green Wood Coalition, just follow this link to our Facebook page called Community 101 (you don't need to be a member of Facebook to access this page).


We had an amazing time celebrating Summer Solstice Eve with a Garden Blessing at our new community garden (now at 4 Centennial Dr., Port Hope). Thanks to each person who brought something special to the evening, especially Rick Beaver, Brooke Stewart, Cale Crowe and Chris Hill.

Thanks to Grace Church for sharing their space to shelter us from the rain. We appreciate the donation of bedding plants from Tina Bastas at The Humble Herb, Erin and Tyler at Foragers Farms and Felisa Shizgal.

A special note of thanks to Doug and Tiffany Wolters of Ganaraska Animal Clinic for sharing their Peter St. property with us over the past years. It was a beautiful location to call home.

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