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Valuable Assets In Englewood

RayThompson, Englewood Resident, pictured at the Conjunction Grove Muriel in Englewood

Photo Credits: By Rashanah Baldwin

Ray Thompson, Managing Director of Thompson Community Relations Group, works to build relationships among Englewood residents in hopes of freeing them from the negative stereotypes portrayed by the media.

Through Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), a set of neighborhood building tools developed by  Northwestern University professors John McKnight and John Kretzmann, Thompson hopes to motivate and ignite strengthened relationships amongst community residents. Thompson suggests, “A lack of fruitful engagement amongst community residents leads to decayed bridges of connection and the social ills we witness on our blocks and in our neighborhoods.”

Perpetual Shift.

Thompson, 35, has been a resident of West Englewood for over 7 years and knows that many of the residents in Englewood hold valuable skills, knowledge and talents that have gone unrecognized and unorganized for far too long. Unfortunately, many of the organizations serving  Englewood focus on “outside-in” initiatives based on the deficits of people, instead of uncovering a wealth of assets (inside–out) that exist within the people, due to their life experiences, natural gifts and talents.

Thompson argues that although government and private agencies have their place and purpose, community-based initiatives should come first and foremost, from within the community, by its own residents.  In the perpetual shift, Thompson goal is to focus on the assets in the community and have more resident based initiatives.

To accomplish the perpetual shift, Thompson believes residents must:

-Highlight the positive occurrences and resources in Englewood
-Build Civic Life
-Establish resident driven networks, organizations and associations
-Rid the community from institutionalized behavior and thinking
-Serve the residents of Englewood

Strategic Planning.

Through ongoing workshops, listening campaigns and forums with residents, Thompson looks strategically at the talents of the residents and how they can benefit one another. Essentially, Thompson says he wants “the community to reinvest in their own community” and have the residents take the lead.

"Human capacity” as Thompson calls it, is needed to fuel the Englewood'S ABCD initiative and without this, there will be limited possibilities for the community. From the ABCD initiative, Thompson wants the community to look at fellow residents as assets, valuable human capacity and as a network of residents full of plentiful resources.

Participation of Residents.

Thompson stresses the importance of having residents on board such as Aysha Butler who is in tune with creating a positive perpetual shift in Englewood.

Butler is an activist, stake holder, wife, mother, community volunteer, blogger and an asset to Englewood.  In combating the negative perception of Englewood, Butler urges residents to become a part of the solution and not the problem.

Butler also follows Thompson’s ABCD, which is to stop the community from relying on non-resident organizations and institutions that only focuses on what Englewood is lacking. 

Instead create programs like Butler’s monthly youth targeted documentary screenings called “So Fresh Saturday’s Presents: "Docs’ and Dialogue,” in which she empowers, educates and uplift Englewood’s youth.

RayThompson, Englewood Resident, pictured at the Conjunction Grove Muriel in Englewood

Photo Credits:Rashanah Baldwin


Residents must be exposed to their options and opportunities in order to realize they are able to accomplish life goals.  “Money is not the currency; information is”, states Thompson.

Thompson indicates that the overall goal is “to strengthen civic life and civic participation in Englewood.”

For more information on the Englewood’s ABCD initiative visit Thompson Community Relations Group.

Keywords: Communtiy Development, Englewood Assets, Englewood Portal, Ray Thompson, Smart People, Thompson Community Relations Group, West Englewood

Posted in Community Organizations

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