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Initial Goal Setting Activity

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This activity will help coalition members identify their hopes and concerns for the project so that everyone can have a meaningful discussion about goals. This activity is easy to facilitate. The best time for this activity is during the first or second meeting of your coalition.

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Initial Goal Setting Activity

  1. 1. Initial Goal Setting Activity (50 minutes) Purpose of activity: • To identify coalition members’ hopes and concerns for the dialogue-to-change project • To use hopes and concerns as springboard for discussion of goals Materials needed: • Markers - one for each person • Large sticky notes in two colors • Flip chart or newsprint paper Meeting agenda: 1. Welcome (5 minutes) • Welcome everyone. • Ask people to introduce themselves. • Take a few minutes to review the work your coalition has done so far. • Give newcomers a chance to say a few words about what has drawn them to this project. 2. Hopes (15 minutes) Give everyone sticky notes and a marker. Write these questions on a flip chart so everyone can see them. Read them out loud and ask everyone to think about the following questions: • What is your motivation for embarking on this project? What is the driving force? • What are your hopes for this project? • What do you hope will change (in our neighborhood, our schools, and our community) as a result of community conversations?
  2. 2. Ask the group to think about all the different people who live in our community and consider changes that will benefit all members of the community, including those who are often left out or marginalized. Give people a few minutes to write their answers on sticky notes, one idea per note. When everyone is finished writing their answers, go around the room and have everyone read one of their hopes. Continue sharing one idea per person until all ideas are shared. Have people place their sticky notes on a large space where everyone can see them. Organize the sticky notes by placing similar ones together. Identify key themes. Tip: Sometimes during this exercise, people will start talking about action ideas that could bring about their hopes. Make sure people are listing hopes, not action ideas. If people do come up with action ideas, you can post them to a “parking lot” to look at later. 3. Concerns (15 minutes) Repeat the above exercise, answering the following questions (one idea per note): • What are some of your concerns as we move forward? • What barriers do you see? Ask the group to think about barriers that may discourage or prevent groups who are often left out or marginalized from participating. Ask the group to think about how to address the concerns, and include any thoughts from earlier conversations. 4. Goals (15 minutes) Talk about the general goals of the program. Think about these two kinds of goals: • Impact goals answer the question: What are we trying to accomplish? (For example, think about how you want your community to change.) • Process goals answer the question: What strategies will we use to get there? (For example, think about how many people you hope to involve and the groups you hope to include.) Using a flipchart or newsprint, label the large sheets of paper “Goals.” As a group, complete the
  3. 3. sentence: “We are organizing community-wide conversations to _______________ .” Use one sheet of paper per goal – you should have 2-4 goals at the end of this activity. Refer to the “Hopes” list and the themes during the process. Post the lists of Goals and Concerns/Barriers at all meetings. Refer to them, occasionally, to check progress. Tip: Take pictures of the hopes, concerns, and goals at the end of the meeting. That way, you will have a record to refer back to in case the flip charts get lost or are unavailable for some other reason.

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