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Aspirations to Actions October 2017 Newsletter | Connecting, Learning, Sharing, Evolving, Strengthening

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Stacy Sternberg, communications coordinator for The Patterson Foundation

The Aspirations to Actions initiative is about strengthening people, organizations, and communities to achieve greater impact and realize aspirations. To learn more about TPF and its approach, watch this brief video.


You can be an architect of the future by participating in the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Irma. Here are some ways you can connect and share to strengthen our community and beyond.

Globally | NetHope

Nationally | Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Locally | Community Foundation of Sarasota County:
At the end of the day, Sarasota was left relatively unscathed in terms of physical damage, but the impact of disruption to families, organizations, and community continues to play out. Next steps for The Patterson Foundation -- work with partners to find out where the gaps are and fill them.



Tales of a Harwood Wallflower

The Harwood Public Innovators Lab has admittedly been an experience of mixed emotions for me. Present me with this unique opportunity to help others, and I'm all onboard: "This is great! This really makes sense for creating change in the community; Wow, the applications of this program to libraries is really interesting!" Tell me that I am going to have to speak with groups of people, approach strangers, and write a blog that others may see, and I suddenly need that inhaler that I grew out of in the sixth grade. And I'm suddenly itchy with nerves. It's that Harwood Hyperventilation again, quickly followed by the 'please pass me the ointment' Harwood Hives. I learned that I was going to have to undergo a massive turn in my thinking, feeling, and actions in order to fully absorb the teachings that the Harwood Institute was offering. Conveniently enough, there is already a name for this shift: Turning Outward.

Throughout this process, there have been circumstances in which I've found myself feeling unsure, self-conscious, and painfully awkward. Fortunately, for each one of these moments, there has been an opportunity for realizing that I am turning inward during my interactions with others. I discovered I was making this process about myself and my own insecurities, which made it difficult to properly communicate with others. If I were instead to shift my focus and become truly engaged and receptive to these interactions, seeing them as a valuable glimpse into the aspirations of individuals and their communities - it would become an entirely different experience. Stepping outside of one's self, and the possible discomfort of new situations allows for a more rewarding and productive means of helping others.

CONTINUE READING Tales of a Harwood Wallflower by Sierra Snyder, Library Assistant working in circulation for Manatee County Central Library.





Take Effective Community Action (TECA)

"What a privilege it is to hear about and be entrusted with recording the aspirations of community members.

To make meaning of what we learned, the Taking Effective Community Action (TECA) worksheet served as a guide to connect Public Knowledge with Community Rhythms and Conditions, leading to new or adapted Strategies.

How do we know those Strategies will succeed?

As with other Harwood tools, the TECA includes questions designed to prompt affirmation that the proposed strategies are synced with the Rhythms and Conditions.

Give it a try.

And check out other guides, including great webinars at the ALA Libraries Transforming Communities site."

Sarabeth Kalajian
Director, Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources



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The Rainbow Behind Irma

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."
-- Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Nothing brings out the goodness in most people like a natural disaster. While working as a mandated Emergency Operations Response essential at a Sarasota school shelter, I silently contemplated, "How can I, a library assistant and bibliophile, possibly be of any help in this shelter?"

When our fearless and masterfully competent shelter manager asked who could take the lead while he got some desperately needed sleep, I quickly dropped my pencil deep below the table.

What soon became apparent was that as the disaster unfolded, all of our strongest skills and competencies began to surface to help others. An example of this is when the police officer on duty emerged at 3 a.m. to say that an elderly woman was having a nervous breakdown and the hospitals were filling up. I said that I went through a tough time during Hurricane Charley and perhaps I can sit with her. We took her, her husband and daughter from their room to the cafeteria. After three hours of conversation, she finally recognized her husband and became calm and herself again.

A 17-year-old guest stepped up and spent all of her time registering people and their pets. A gun range operator kicked in his military and leadership skills and took charge as manager for the night.

When the power went out, the volunteer essentials were fanning over 300 pets to keep them comfortable throughout the night. At one point my husband even took off his back brace to share it with the site manager who was in severe pain.

The police, National Guard, staff and many guests all "had each other's backs." Not only did our community become stronger, but I got to know my fellow Sarasota employees in a way that a training event could never do!

Lisa G. Roberts
Customer Service Representative, North Port Library Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources



Start small and add food for BIG impact!

Bradenton is increasingly becoming a place where FOOD brings people together.

Why food? Although often overlooked, every step in the food production can be a multiplier for local economic development. An already agriculturally-rooted community, the Bradenton area is looking at how we can support businesses who grow, produce, prepare, package, serve, and retail food.

What does this have to do with Realize Bradenton? A Farmers' Market is a nice Saturday activity, but Realize Bradenton is working on how the Market creates a food-centered entrepreneurial ecosystem. By Turning Outward, Realize Bradenton has aligned with the Bradenton-area EDC's strategic plan to develop a culinary market or district located near the Village of the Arts.

For Realize Bradenton, a key concept we appreciate from the Aspirations 2 Actions experience is: "smallify."

Making Bradenton a culinary destination is a BIG idea. We started with a small idea though - chefs at the Farmers' Market, which grew to a series of YouTube videos featuring these chefs called "Dine Bradenton."

Through conversations with the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, we launched an Instagram account with the same name (add Dine Bradenton to your list of followers to know where the locals go!). The 33 culinary treasures are consistently the most popular "hits" on, a GPS-enabled website you can easily read on your computer, tablet, or cell phone screen. People LOVE to eat!

We pulled some chefs together in the fall of 2016 and were overwhelmed by how eager they were to share their culinary skills and passion with the community.

When the 2016 Giving Challenge was announced, our Millennial team took up the idea of food as a platform for connecting people and created "Cook Together Bradenton." The response was enthusiastic to the point of chefs opening their kitchens to host "Cook Together" sessions with families, Millennials, planners, and City officials.

Research shows that eating the same food fosters cooperation. Imagine what happens when people cook and eat the same food together?!

Thanks to the money raised from the Giving Challenge and the Manatee Millennial Challenge grant awarded last fall, we have improved our chef station at the Market and held multiple Cook Together Bradenton sessions at Visible Men Academy and Arte Caffé. Nothing BIG could have happened though if we had not started small.

Stay tuned; we can't wait to share what we're cooking up for October 15 ... Hint: it involves a really long table.





I have a sister almost two years old than me, and another sister almost four years younger. Growing up, we each had household responsibilities, and the three of us were often charged with washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen after meal time. We spent a great deal of time and energy making sure we divided the tasks exactly evenly. Not one of the three of us was willing to do more work than the other two had to do. We estimated the difficulty and length of time we would spend pot scrubbing, dish drying, and floor sweeping and then, divvied up the work. There was no joy as we dragged our feet through each task. We did just enough to "pass inspection" and never gave a thought to excellence or what it would take to make the kitchen really clean. We were all about compliance and the status quo.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an informal family gathering. After the meal, five cousins offered to clean up while the rest of the family visited. We worked as a team, joyfully. Every one of us contributing and willingly taking on whatever task was before us. The others couldn't believe how quickly we made that kitchen sparkle.

When I think of being intentional and authentically engaging for the common good, these two kitchen cleaning examples come to mind. My sisters and I were concentrated on making sure we weren't being taken advantage of. We wanted the tasks to be done, and didn't care if they were done right. We begrudgingly contributed as little as we could. Contrast that with the willing partnership of the five cousins. Each of us contributed willingly, not caring about who was doing more or less. We were just focused on working together to get the best outcome possible. The cousins were intentional. We each made a conscious choice to be an outstanding team, and the results sparkled!

Beth Duda
Director, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading





As we Turn Outward to see and hear our fellow community member's situation and aspirations, we act more intentionally to create change. When we Turn Outward, we develop a new orientation toward others and the public, a new posture, and new relationships. Developing a new perspective and working together in new ways requires personal commitment and energy.

It's important to make sure we keep our own "batteries charged" when we do this valuable and often difficult work. Here are some suggestions to Sustain Yourself.



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