Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

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How Community Organizers Can Improve Initiatives by Listening

You can’t address every need in your community all the time, but you can try. Actively listening to your community is the best way to do so. When someone comes to you with suggestions, or even complaints, it’s best not to get defensive. To better serve your community, just listen and take action wherever possible. Here are a few things to consider when organizing community initiatives and events.


What cultures live and thrive in your community? There are probably a few you’re not even considering. Are they each represented in your community initiatives? If you don’t know the answer to that, a great place to start is by asking your community what different cultures they represent and if they feel their needs are being addressed.

The National Association of Social Workers recently updated its own code of ethics for cultural competence and social diversity. This move was in response to the recent presidential election and news of growing cultural divides in communities across the country.

The NASW believes that the importance of cultural competence should also be applied in the following concepts:

  • Cultural Humility: the ideal reaction when faced with cultural differences
  • Intersectionality: when you consider the difficulty other cultures face when subjected to systemic injustice and social inequality
  • Linguistic Competence: actively seeking to address communication difficulties

How can you better serve your community with these concepts in mind?


Does everyone in your community have easy access to your events and initiatives? Depending on the chosen location, a harmless event could end up excluding certain cultures, elderly adults, handicapped citizens or more. Here are a few questions to keep in mind when planning your events:

  • Is there plenty of free parking?
  • Is it wheelchair accessible?
  • Are you within walking distance for at least some of your community, possibly the lower income areas?
  • Will a bus route provide public transportation to the event for those reliant on it?
  • Can you provide transportation vouchers if need be?
  • Does the event accommodate room for wheelchair maneuverability?
  • Are there resting areas and plenty of seating?
  • Is water provided?
  • If providing snacks, can you accommodate as many dietary needs as possible?
  • Are there restrooms, and will they accommodate the amount of people you expect to attend?
  • Can you provide a sign language interpreter or interpreter for other languages?

Thoughtful questions like these could ensure your initiatives don’t leave anybody out.


What are some of the common health issues present in your community? Is smoking or underage drinking an issue? Obesity, depression, and domestic abuse might be top issues among your community. Consider the kind of initiatives you can enact to try and address these issues. Maybe you start hosting flu shot stations and testing centers for certain conditions, or offer nutrition seminars and cooking workshops.

Get your local medical practices involved in this area. Here are five ways medical practices can get involved with community outreach:

  1. Volunteering at school career fairs
  2. Sponsoring a fundraiser
  3. Joining the local Chamber of Commerce and attending or hosting events
  4. Participating in city festivals and events
  5. Sponsoring local sports teams, theater companies, camps, or college scholarships

Community improvement doesn’t have to be complicated. It often just takes an open ear. If you’re looking for a way to get more involved with helping your community, check out these five careers for community involvement.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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