David B. Crowley's blog

Top 9 Social Capital Blog Posts of 2013

The approaching new year is a nice time to pause and reflect about the past year. We try to use our blog to highlight important developments related to the broader concept of social capital and to share best practices that emerge from our work in local communities. With that in mind, we offer some of the best and hopefully most helpful blog posts we shared over the course of 2013. Stay tuned for a post on some of our programmatic highlights of the year. Though "top 10 lists" are popular, we thought we'd keep our list to nine, and ask: "What would you add for a 10th post that you saw this year having to do with a social capital?"

Building Social Capital for Youth Success and Healthy Communities Provides background on the strategic plan focus we adopted earlier in 2013. In addition to targeting our social capital building to address two key issues, the plan has an ambitious growth target to serve 30 New England communities.Read more

Building Social Capital for Youth Success and Healthy Communities

Healthy Chelsea teens enjoying a nutritious lunch

Earlier this year, the SCI Board adopted a new strategic plan for the organization, certainly one of our most important developments in 2013. The new plan has been referenced in several places here on the site, including the updated summary of our programs and services. But I realized we hadn't blogged about some of our thinking behind the direction of our new plan, so wanted to do so here. Before getting into that, let me say a big word of thanks for Eric Curtis, who did a great job facilitating our strategic plan development!Read more

Training Boston Teen Leaders

Mattapan Youth Council member helping at holiday event.

Last week, our campaign to empower youth got off to a great start on #GivingTuesday. We’ve raised $631 and had over 25 social media shares about the campaign. This week, we’re focusing on 3 Boston SCI affiliated youth councils. Our goal is to raise $700 over the next week to cover the private funds SCI needs to train 60 Boston teen leaders.
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Empowering Youth to Lead Change

children harvesting celery as part of SCI & YMCA Giving Garden project.
What connects you toWhat connects you to your community?
We have reached our $2,100 fundraising goal for this campaign! Thanks to all of our supporters, our goal was reached a week before our 12/31 deadline. We can still use your support, if you're considering final 2013 contributions. Additional funds would cover activities such as our showcase event that brings together youth from all 9 projects and other enriching experiences for our young leaders. Donate here on our Square Marketplace page to support SCI!
 
What connects you to your community? Here at SCI, we know that you are already someone working at strengthening our communities.
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Answering the Call to Service

President Kennedy in the Oval Office.  (Cecil Stoughton photograph)

What was President Kennedy's greatest accomplishment? A good case certainly can be made for avoiding a devastating nuclear war in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but his call to service has to be right up there.  During one of yesterday's JFK remembrances on WBUR, I was reminded of the role University of Michigan students played translating JFK's rhetorical call to service into the establishment of the Peace Corps. As described on this Michigan website, when JFK asked who among the students would be interested in serving, over 1,000 students eagerly responded by signing a petition calling for the creation of the Peace Corps; a name they suggested. Pretty powerful example of how JFK's idealistic speeches moved people into concrete action. Today, over 210,000 have served abroad in the Peace Corps, and countless more have been inspired by JFK to serve their communities and their country.Read more

General McChrystal Discusses His Call To Service in Boston

Retired General Stanley McChrystal discussing national service

Today I had a chance to join other AmeriCorps program leaders to talk with retired four star General Stanley McChrystal about his call for universal, voluntary national service. Gen. McChrystal (he insisted we call him Stan today, but I'm sticking with General here!) first began discussing this idea at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, where he noted the lack of shared sense of responsibility when less than 1% of the population has been on active duty during a period when our nation has fought two wars. As he said at today's event, "our sense of citizenship has weakened". Gen. McChrystal makes a compelling case that military service and civilian service through programs such as AmeriCorps are "two sides of the same coin," and that ramping up national civilian service can help reinstill a sense of common purpose.Read more

Help welcome and feed our new SCI AmeriCorps members!

SCI AmeriCorps member with a group of children
We are about to begin ourWe are about to begin our SCI AmeriCorps year with our new group of AmeriCorps members. As a former AmeriCorps member, I can tell you from experience that the start of AmeriCorps service is an exciting but financially daunting time. As a group, these AmeriCorps members will commit over 34,000 hours of service in our communities. The AmeriCorps stipend is a modest living allowance of about $1100 per month (before taxes). We thought, what better way to welcome them to the SCI family than to offer them meals during their trainings.
We are about to begin our SCI AmeriCorps year with our new group of AmeriCorps members. As a former AmeriCorps member, I can tell you from experience that the start of AmeriCorps service is an exciting but financially daunting time. As a group, these AmeriCorps members will commit over 34,000 hours of service in our communities.
Read more

Refreshing Our Website for the coming fall.

In an effort to make our website more helpful and user friendly, we are making some layout changes as well as adding features. We'll be rolling out some additional elements in the coming weeks, check back for more! We want to thank Maryann Haraldsen volunteering her talents in the the design process and Andrew Gibson for the implementation of the new features. We would also like to thank the AmeriCorps members, partners and other stakeholders that gave input during our redesign meetings. If you have any questions or suggestions please contact us using our contact form.

Nurturing Your Network through Loop Closing

Here's a simple yet not too frequently practiced tip for nurturing your social network. I call it Loop Closing. I found myself doing it the other day and thought it would be worth breaking down here. I was following up on something with the contact for one of our newest SCI AmeriCorps community partners. As I was writing the email to our contact for the program, I thought I'd copy the agency's Executive Director as well. This triggered the recollection that several months ago, I'd been introduced to that ED by one of our current site partners, Milly Arbaje-Thomas, who runs the Mattapan Action for Boston Community Development Office (ABCD).

Of course, I had immediately thanked Milly for this introduction. But the intro was one that took some time to translate into the result, which in this case was the establishment of a new partnership. It required being aware of those relationships and the importance of Loop Closing to let Milly know that her intro created a good result.Read more

Social Capital Presentations and Workshops

Realizing you might be visiting our website wondering how we at Social Capital Inc. might be a resource for your community or network, I thought it might be helpful to round-up a sampling of recent talks and workshops we've been doing on social capital, social networks, and related topics. In addition to implementing ongoing social capital building initiatives, sharing our best practices and perspective on how social capital relates to key issues like health, youth success and economic development is an important part of our work. Drop me a line if you'd like to explore having us do a workshop or talk for your group (though it would have to wait until the fall, the summer is pretty full already!).Read more

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