One of the topics that really inspired me at the ABCD conference in Chicago this week was "Connectors." Like many of the key ideas of Asset Based Community Development, it is appealing because it is all about working with the gifts that are already in the neighborhood. When it comes to Connectors, that means finding those people who are well-connected in the neighborhood, who are able to see people as gifted, and who are trusted.
Connectors have a wonderful role to play in a community because they help neighbors get to know each other when they see a connection that needs to be made. They are comfortable chatting with neighbors, hearing about their lives and what is going on, and then they see the connection! "You say have an old car to sell? I know a lady who helps sell cars." "You like doing math! Have you heard about that new after school tutoring program that's going on?" It's that simple! And yet, trust and relationships are potentially being formed with these connections.
Not surprisingly we often undervalue the work of the connector. We don't talk about them the same way we talk about leaders. And, they often don't blow their own horn because they just enjoy connecting, so they don't see it as important either.
How do we find connectors? Well, we rarely find them at meetings! They are people of action. So ask yourself, if you needed something (information, a resource, a lead) who in your neighborhood would you go to? That person might be a connector. If you can't think of anyone...it might be you! If so--thanks for your work!