That perspectives change and people will consider the meaning of community in a different light using the language of asset-based engagement rather than deficit: this is but a sampling of Wayne Puckett’s hope as the Engaging Community Narrating Change event draws near.
With little more than a week to go before the long-planned conversation gets underway at Memphis’ Rhodes College with thought-leaders Walter Brueggemann, John McKnight and Peter Block, Wayne is feeling excitement, expectation, and a little pressure as the final logistical details are worked out.
As chair of the Center for Transforming Communities (CTC) board of directors, and member of the planning committee organizing the Nov. 14 event, Wayne has been involved since Day 1. Her hope is that participants will act on a clearer understanding of the parts they can play in creating their ideal community, knowing that those parts need not be overwhelming or insurmountable.
“It’s like the individual thousands of drops that go into a bucket to fill it up,” Wayne says.“I would like for people to walk away feeling inspired and connected through the conversations, through the possibilities.”
They might also find inspiration in knowing they are not alone in working to catalyze change in the neighborhoods where they live and the city they love. Between full-time work, evening teaching commitments, volunteering, and raising two grandchildren, Wayne understands the propensity among busy people to zero in on their work and life, possibly missing what others are doing as a complement. Holding a space for people of all walks of life to come together might offer new insights into just how expansive the dedication to this shift in community understanding really is.
“I think people might find it surprising that there is so much of an entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to people trying to be in-service and to do something that makes a difference,” Wayne says.
Drawing these sprits together in the service of each other is what the Nov. 14 event is all about, and making sure the momentum sparked there carries forward will be the ongoing mission of the CTC.