Building Bridges in our Community

  • Mar. 9, 2011 5:00 p.m.

Building Bridges in our Community, an all-day event this Friday hosted by the Golden Early Childhood Development Coalition (ECDC), is all about building community capacity. At its core, it’s about developing skills, strengthening partnerships and perhaps most importantly, reducing what is known as the “silo effect”.

Joanne McCullough, Golden’s ECDC Co-ordinator, explained that the silo effect is when different organizations in a community are not working together as much as they could be; not sharing resources, knowledge and expertise that could push the community forward in a healthy way.

“Golden has a huge number of people who see growth and opportunity and are consistently working towards a better future,” said McCullough, explaining that much of the community is not collaborating as much as it could be.

Building Bridges in our Community, then, is an opportunity for any community members to recognize this drawback and work on how intersecting initiatives can work together more cohesively.

The event is facilitated by Cheryl Hewitt, Executive Director of PeerNetBC and Jim Sands, Project Co-ordinator for SPARC BC—a non-profit society and registered charity that focuses on research, public education and advocacy regarding issues of community development, accessibility and income security.

“These organizations are both well-known and very highly respected,” said McCullough.

In the morning session, Hewitt will explore new tools for participatory decision-making and examine how power dynamics affect decision-making in collaborative ventures. The afternoon session with Sands will focus on the elements of successful and effective partnerships. The final part of the day will allow people to participate in discussion tables to address specific community issues.

Members of the Golden ECDC have been working with the event’s sponsor —Learning Initiatives for Rural and Northern Communities (whom the ECDC received a unique grant from to host Building Bridges) — for six months and want to stress that any community member who is interested in learning more about building community capacity is welcome to participate.

“Of course we want to see the regular players at the event, that’s so important,” said McCullough. “But we want to see the unfamiliar faces too.”

Building Bridges in our Community will take place on Friday, March 11th from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm at the College of the Rockies, Golden Campus. Free child-minding is available. To register email: ecdcoalition@uniserve.com