On the afternoon of May 4th, the Doorway Project hosted a community-based workshop, titled 'Framing the Doorway Project, A Define-and-Design Workshop for a Welcoming Neighborhood Space'. We took this opportunity to not just look back on the history of how we've gotten here, but to look ahead by building on the strengths of the U District community, and Seattle as a whole. Over sixty community members attended the event, including service providers, university members, as well as leaders in faith and politics. (To catch a glimpse of some workshop moments, click the 'Event Photos' button at the bottom of the post!)
The following reflections on the 'Define-and-Design' workshop are written by the Doorway Project's 'Undergraduate Community Based Intern', Sam Fredman. Since January, Sam has been an energetic and effective member of the Doorway Project through her placement by the Carlson Center, a University service learning center that develops young leaders by giving them first-hand experience in the community.
Community Alliances, Assets, and Aspirations:
What Our Define and Design Workshop Meant for the Service Provision Community
The Doorway Project aims to create a space where everyone is welcome. We aim to create a space where communities can converge and collaborate. And on May 4th, with the presence and aid of numerous service providers, community members, and stakeholders, we did.
We began with asking our stakeholders to share what they thought that our community needed. Armed with Post-It notes and shared visions, they produced many ideas that will guide us in planning the next stages of the Doorway Project.
We were then welcomed into the space by Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp. He is invested in the development of this space as a resource for young adults experiencing homelessness. Speaker Chopp appealed to the collective creativity of the stakeholders to collaborate in making something innovative, exciting, and resourceful. We were then taken back in history by Sinan Demirel, who explained the history of service provision in the University District, where community members noticed a need and acted accordingly. Undergraduate Community Based Internship (UCBI) interns Mika Phillips and Sam Fredman ended this with a discussion of what the community is experiencing now through socioeconomic banishment from businesses, trespass orders from the police, and a lack of low barrier service provision times. Sally Clark, UW Director of Community Relations, discussed University involvement with the unstably housed population in the University District, promising more collaboration of and collaboration with the populations who also call the University District home. Finally, Melinda Giovengo, CEO of Youth Care, called to service providers to share resources in pursuit of our common goal of ending youth and young adult homelessness. These speakers and presentations provided the framework upon which the rest of the day rested.
After a brief snack break, Community Planner Jim Diers guided the group through Community Asset Mapping, asking each person what assets they bring personally, what resources their communities can offer, and what possibilities lie in store for intensive collaborations.
We ended the day with an open space for interest groups to collaborate together on certain goals: Collaboration of Healthcare Services, Education Services (UW Collaboration), Music / Art / Etc, Mapping Seattle Resources, Space, and Community Involvement and Integration (Neighbors). These groups intend to connect and collaborate while we pursue the next phase of the project.
In sum, our Community Workshop: Define and Design the Doorway Project event provided a much needed space for community members, service providers, and stakeholders to engage with the possibilities of alliance, the existing assets of the community, and aspirations for a future space. These invaluable moments will guide and propel us as we move forward into the creation of a space where everyone is welcome.