Asset-Based Community Building :
Creating Social Capital to Build Neighborhood as Better Places to Live*
1) Understand Asset-Based Community Building
2) Understand how students can become members of their community
3) Understand the importance of social and human capital
1) Web access for online projects and research
2) Surveys and handouts
1) Group Activity 1: "What Are Your Gifts?"
2) Group Activity 2: "The Community Tree: Where do I Belong?"
SUMMARY of the LESSON
When communities face difficult issues such as
poverty and crime, it is easy to talk about them based on their problems
and what they lack. However, we can look at communities like a half
empty or a half full glass, depending which perspective we decide to
take. The goal of asset-based community building is to reverse the perspective
of most community development that looks for problems and needs before
seeing the advantages and solutions already in place. Before we point
out the problems in our communities, we need to look for the resources
that already exist there. Many of the resources we need to improve our
community life are available in our own backyard. The most important
resource in the world is human and social capital: individual skills,
experience, and collective energy to make the world a better place.
We need to search out our neighbors' assets and find out what each person
brings to the community. Every member of our community has a place at
the table and each of us brings different gifts to the feast.
*This unit is largely based on John P. Kretzmann &
John L. McKnight's "A Guide to Capacity Inventories: Mobilizing
the Community Skills of Local Residents" (Chicago: ACTA Publications,