“GO THE THE PEOPLE LIVE AMONG THEM
We value people! We believe that every person is created uniquely and has gifts and abilities, dreams and passions that will shape them and the neighborhood around them.
We value people over programs and relationships over systems. We will collaborate and work as bridge-builders within our cities realizing that we are more effective together than independently.
We value the whole person and want to see them wholly transformed - physically, emotionally, mentally, economically and spiritually.
We value place. We believe that every neighborhood is unique has a special place in the bigger picture of the city. Neighborhoods have most, if not all resources they need to bring about transformation.
We value relationships. We believe that major transformation happens when people care about each other and help each other grow.
We value collaboration to create something more powerful and beautiful together.
COMMUNITIES CULTIVATING AND CELEBRATING THEIR ASSETS.
EMPOWERING IMPOVERISHED NEIGHBORHOODS TO THRIVE
We believe the skills of local residents, the power of local resources, and the supportive functions of local institutions are the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Our vision is to see communities discover, cultivate, and celebrate their assets.
What does a changed community look like?
We see signs of increasing ownership in the community
- We see evidence of a growing sense of community
- We see and hear about shared vision among residents in the community
- We see evidence of increased knowledge, skills, and resources working for shared benefit
- We see individuals taking on leadership roles in the community
- We see individuals growing personally, professional, and spiritually
- We see people living out their values, and working together to crease a sense of peace and joy (Shalom)
To accomplish this we follow these principles:
We believe that healthy relationships are central to all successful community development
We believe that every community, organization, institution are relationships. resources and capabilities that can yield self-transformation
We believe we should never do "for" others what they can do for themselves
Mercy and charity is sometimes necessary for short-term stabilization of people and circumstances but should never result in long-term aid
Development and Justice work yields long-term, transformative results
Power (economic, social, physical, political and spiritual) but be shared for community well-being.
Linking people who are of good will and their collective assets creates opportunities for existing and creative successes
Mapping assets helps individuals, communities, congregations, organizations determine how they are uniquely gifted and participate in the transformation process
Small groups of committed individuals can change their communities and the world.
How do you transform a community filled with hopelessness, despair, and violence? Where do you start in addressing homelessness, drugs, gangs, incarceration, broken families, and abuse? Do you bring in the cavalry and try to "save" the community?
Most community development efforts and social programs tend to "bring the solutions to the community," as opposed to looking from within. What worked in another town or state gets quickly replicated here. What the government agency targets and wants to measure becomes the vision and the expectation.
LifeLine believes that the most important way to begin is with the people in the community, asking questions and listening for answers. We ask community members:
- "What do you love about your neighborhood?"
- "If you could wave a magic wand and change any one thing about your community, what would it be?"
Answers to these questions help shape a unique vision that can transform the entire community and its people. Action plans that engage and invigorate a community emerge from questions and answers like these, not from external sources.
LifeLine holds to the maxim that "we cannot help individuals permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves." Instead, we focus on those things they cannot do alone, functioning as a lattice upon which individuals in a community can thrive together.
This type of community transformation is a slow and labor-intensive process, but it's the very best way to begin. We talk to a lot of people before a shared vision starts to emerge. And once it bubbles up, we have to resist from letting external agencies come in and take over, implementing a vision that is intended to benefit everyone, but not involve anyone.
Community development means nurturing a shared vision of the community and its people, its gifts and its needs, pulling together, and thereby raising new capacities, and empowering new leaders.
Imagine a neighborhood where people care for each other, where they appreciate their own gifts and those of each other, where they help each other out, and where they know each other's names. Imagine a neighborhood where people trust each other, where children are safe, and where youth can explore their dreams and passions. Is that still possible? Or have those times gone by?
At LifeLine, we believe such a neighborhood is still possible; we believe that everyone, no matter how rich, has a need, and that everyone, no matter how poor, has a gift. We believe it is through this combination that community is built and celebrated.
The concept is called "Asset Based Community Development" or ABCD for short.
We work in neighborhoods to empower community members, help them rediscover their unique qualities, and celebrate together when they make their communities safer and healthier places again.
There are two parts to LifeLine CDC
- We equip individuals, churches and groups in the basic principles and practices of ABCD.
- We practice it by actively being involved in various neighborhoods and communities.