No, I'm not talking about the alphabet--ha! Asset Based Community Development is so simple it is easy to overlook its brilliance! Here is how it works:
People who are part of SoCe Life go door-to-door throughout the neighborhood and ask people if they will spend a few minutes answering some questions. If the person says yes, they are interviewed. During the interview they share their work experience, special skills, hobbies, interests and talents. If there is anything they do well enough they could teach others that is noted. They can also list anything they would like to learn.
This information is brought back to our office where we look for patterns of abilities, such as a group of people who have a similar hobby. We also look for correlations between skills and job opportunities (this can help strengthen the economy in the neighborhood).
We connect the dots by inviting people to connect based on what we’ve learned and what we’ve noticed. People can always decline the invitation. The belief is that a connection between just two neighbors is good for them and the neighborhood.
There are more steps beyond this, but those are harder to describe because it depends on what happens in the neighborhood. For now we are planting the seeds, and we’ll wait to see what starts to grow.