Green, Moore, and O’Brien (2009) discuss the essentials to community development through their own strategy known as Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), which they describe as a strategy, which uses resources already available within a community, by connecting motivated and gifted community members with one another and then encouraging these community members to take charge of community development in a more hands-off leadership approach.
The concept of “asset based community development” presented by Green, Moore and O’Brien, (2011), abruptly and profoundly redefined for me what it means to be a strong, effective leader. Asset based community development necessitates leading by facilitating the mobilization of resources and assets by connecting community members and facilitating communities in discovering their own power, rather than imposing power and leadership onto others. Green, Moore, and O’Brien, (2011), discuss growing community by connecting citizens and discovering what collective gifts and assets community members have to offer the enrichment of their community.
Utilizing asset mapping in favor of needs mapping has completely changed my view of service and how to create change within a community. Motivating oneself and others to turn their care into action is very important and not an easy task. I think the concept of caring not being enough to matter is important, and it also leads to prioritizing. When we live in a society where there is so much to do, it becomes important on a personal level to ask ourselves, what we care about, and what we care enough about that we are compelled to act. As community leaders, there is a responsibility to help facilitate this self-discovery discussion with other people as well. At one point in chapter three of the book, Green, et al advise not to impose solutions onto others, a difficult yet revolutionary concept when put into practice. It is within human nature to prescribe solutions to problems, but if we desire to live in a more civically engaged society we as leaders cannot tell others what to do or how to do it. We can only help to facilitate the uncovering of assets and solutions that were hiding in plain site the whole time.
*Image sourced from the ABCD project