Friday, October 19, 2012

Cutting crime with harmonicas

Andy Mackie played harmonica at a local restaurant/theatre during open-mike Monday nights, just down the street. A painting of him hangs on the wall at the back of the bar.

Andy believed music was a gift so he gave free lessons and harmonicas to school-kids. He paid for those harmonicas with money for his medication. He paid with his life and he wouldn't have it any other way.

Community capacity-building is one of those phrases that spreads over everything like goo. Different practitioners use the term to mean different things. Thus, it means everything and nothing. What is "community capacity?"

The best way to get at capacity is through asset mapping. Asset mapping is based on the work of John McKnight and John Kretzman. Asset maps substitute the idea of deficiencies and needs for community assets - turning a negative into a positive. Assets include physical features and groups.

They also include those things that might seem invisible like the talents, skills and experience of the elderly. Andy Mackie was a talent and an asset. He was definitely not invisible.

If you want to know what positive community-building looks like, watch the video.

2 Replies so far - Add your comment

Unknown said...

Great post! Wonderful example of the power of one to build capacity in a community. Thanks Greg!

GSaville said...

Yes, Andy was a local gem. We'll miss him.

Thanks for the compliments.