Building Organized Communities and Social Capital
The building of organized communities and social capital is critical to raising poorer neighborhoods and impoverished nations from the dust. Until communities are organized, they are not empowered; they are dependent upon outside support and subject to the many forces that they have no defense for: poverty, starvation, social injustice, lack of education, alienation, and the ravages of disease. Once organized into a community, they are no longer the isolated voices of the oppressed but one unified voice with the combined resources of the others behind it. To achieve this level of empowerment, a community must be organized so that the community itself can meet the needs of the people. However, organization alone cannot accomplish everything that makes a community successful; social capital is the heart and soul of a community. No matter how many programs a community has, it can still fail without social capital. This paper presents an approach for building organized communities with social capitalùcommunities the way they are meant to be.
To begin the process of building an organized community, the first step is to set up a working group that has the responsibility for initiating, monitoring, and facilitating the process. This groupùmost likely a committeeùis the focal entity for catalyzing change, bringing together the people who need to provide assistance, and facilitating decision-making.
The next step is to build a large base of concerned people. Politicians who are interested in relieving poverty and reducing crime, local citizens who have compassion on their less fortunate neighbors, professional city planners and community organizers, and the people of the very community that is about to take shape can all play a part. "Organizing is people working together to get things done" (ôCommunity Organizing,ö 2005). The underlying principle that makes community org...