What are your personal goals, dreams or wishes? What is one personal achievement you are proud of and why? Who do you turn to when you have a problem? These can be challenging questions for someone to answer when faced with a difficult situation like domestic violence, and even more difficult when sharing those answers with family or community.
Creating a space for members in the community to come together and discuss complicated issues requires two things: listening and learning. Casa de Esperanza emphasizes these two practices in order to create a safe space where community members can share their perspectives. The staff at Casa de Esperanza believes that organizations do not prevent domestic violence, people do.
Engaging people in conversation strengthens individual voices and empowers the whole community. Because of the inclusive nature of these discussions, people feel comfortable sharing their experiences with domestic violence. Furthermore, the staff educates the group on how to better understand and appropriately respond to violence and those experiencing it.
This kind of engagement builds leaders in the community, who use their knowledge and position as trusted sources to offer support and make positive change. Casa de Esperanza’s focus on listening and learning means that change comes from within the community, based on people’s needs and the strategies they develop. The result is a strong network of individuals working towards preventing violence in their community.
Photo courtesy of Building the Field of Community Engagement