Monday, October 10, 2005

Experienced Facilitators Needed

The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission is currently planning a Community Dialogue for Saturday, November 5 from 9am-5pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1301 Alamance Church Road, Greensboro. This meeting will be an opportunity for as many as 200 community members to come together to discuss information shared in the GTRC’s public hearings, to identify issues related to the tragedy of November 3, 1979, that are still relevant in Greensboro today, and, finally, to brainstorm and prioritize ideas for how to address these issues. At the end of the day, participants will have contributed ideas that will be included in an appendix of the Commission’s final report (and considered by Commissioners for inclusion in the recommendations section of that report). Participants will also have an opportunity to connect with others who are interested in working on similar issues.

We need to find at least 20 skilled facilitators who can lead small group discussions throughout this event. A facilitator’s guide will be provided for all volunteer facilitators; this document will serve as an outline of each of the four major small group activities facilitators will be expected to lead—(1) icebreakers, (2) general reactions to public hearings information, (3) isolating issues still facing Greensboro, and (4) brainstorming and prioritizing recommendations.

Facilitators are invited to a training event (led by E. Franklin Dukes of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at UVA) at 6:00pm on Friday, November 4th, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where we will review the plans for the next day’s dialogue; dinner will be provided. Facilitators who can not make this meeting will still be given the facilitator’s guide before November 5th so that they can ask questions about anything that is unclear to them before the event. Facilitators will also be asked to arrive at the event location (Mt. Zion Baptist Church) by 8:15am on the morning of November 5th.

UPDATE: We are looking for a few facilitators who are fluent in both Spanish and English. (Please click here for a brochure in Spanish.)

Please email me if you are willing to serve as a volunteer facilitator for this event.

posted by Jill Williams, exec. dir.


Blogger Roch101 said...

Hi Jill,

What do you consider to be appropriate experisnce or skills?

10:40 AM  
Blogger Roch101 said...

I hope typing isn't one of them.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Jill Williams said...

Good question, Roch. Good facilitators, to me, are able to confidently lead a racially and economically diverse group through a potentially difficult and emotional discussion. Being able to do this requires confidence, some understanding of the issues at hand, the ability to listen to participants' comments and to reframe them when necessary (so that other people can understand and connect to what is being said). A good facilitator is also able to be sensitive to group dynamics so as to know when some participants are feeling shut down or not heard.

The experience necessary to be able to do these things could come from any number of opportunities. Certainly, teachers, counselors, mediators and others in similar professions have relevant experiences. Anyone who has been in charge of running meetings or workshops (and even blog discussions) also has relevant experience.

We'll have a training session for our volunteer facilitators, so even if someone feels less experienced or confident, they will have the opportunity to get a brief preparation by E. Franklin Dukes (a UVA professor with extensive facilitation experience) and myself.

And, Roch, I think you'd be great (typos won't matter at the dialogue), if that is your reason for asking. You facilitated that Converge South workshop very well, so I'd be happy to have you as a facilitator if you have the time and interest.

11:43 AM  

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