Village P.r.o.j.e.c.t.s Mission:
To create environments in which persons from diverse circumstances and experiences can come together and co-learn with each other in a way that bridges the opportunity gaps, retains the respective cultures, and ultimately benefits society.
Who are we?
We are community members, businesspersons, activists, educators, nurses, students, administrators, cooks, beauticians, barbers, retired persons, etc.
We are people who quietly make a positive difference everyday! We are members of many different organizations.
We are all volunteers!
How did we start?
1. We discussed the structures and systems that create opportunities for leadership, policymaking, and services.
2. We tried to determine the access of persons from underrepresented groups and underprivileged communities to those systems and structures.
3. We explored health, education, and other disparities evident in underprivileged communities.
4. We shared our own life stories
What did we learn from our conversations?
1. We learned that the issue of disparities in underserved communities includes all realms of life.
2. We learned that persons in underserved communities often do not have the "pick up the phone" connections necessary to maneuver competitively through various systems (health, education, jobs, finance, elected offices, etc.)
3.We learned that our knowledge seldom returns to the community as a natural course of events
4. We learned that we seldom consulted with the community to determine the relevance of what we were being taught to community concerns and needs.
5. We learned that we were becoming "representatives" of the traditional mainstream, while our communities remained underrepresented, underserved, and underprivileged.
6. We learned that we were not informing the traditional mainstream as to the relevance/non-relevance of our education to the needs of the underprivileged communities.
7. We learned that our education may have prepared us to provide services necessary to keep the traditional mainstream population well and growing, to the neglect of the underprivileged.
8. We learned that as a "collective whole," as a "village," we may be guilty of an unintentional neglect of our communities.
9. We learned that we wanted to do more, and to make a difference in our communities.
How do we make a difference?
1. We provide a place where others can come together in ‘open dialogue’ with and about underprivileged communities, and what we can do to contribute to the empowerment thereof.
2. We create forums in which thoughts, ideas, and experiences can be freely discussed and engaged, meaningful collaborative projects, and proactive activities can emerge and make a difference.
3. We compile the ideas from each forum meeting and group them into one or more of our three Project categories i.e. “The Village of Mentors,” “Standing in the Gap,” and/or “The Scholars Within.”
4. We assist in creating the networks to support additional forums necessary to move ideas into fruition.
5. We connect with the communities.
Ideas are generated from, and owned by, the communities served. The Village P.r.o.j.e.c.t.s are here to help others to help themselves. Every participant in every discussion becomes a part of the Village P.r.o.j.e.c.t.s. We invite you to make our homepage, your home page; our website, your website. Please visit all the “rooms” on this website, and find a project category that can make a difference in your community. If you are willing to work on it, we can help by bringing your village alive.
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! WE MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE !
Copyright 2005 -Gloria J. Willingham PhD