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Participating in Portland: a Portland Public Conversation

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture | Government | Portland History

Join the Choose Civility Initiative tomorrow, November 25th at 7:30 am  for a Thanksgiving week public conversation on the topic of “participating.”

(Coffee, Treats & Networking / 8:00am program start)

Thanksgiving asks us to amplify a spirit of generosity and inclusion that we hope to find in ourselves and our communities throughout the year.  Despite high levels of perceived incivility in our culture, we also live in a time where “giving” happens frequently, in formal and informal ways. The connection between thankfulness, service and a stronger community is robust — that is, we know that when everyday people give their time and energy to strengthen their communities it serves everyone… but we also know that civic engagement is sometimes easier said than done.

Tomorrow (November 25th) we will share strategies for increasing pathways to civic engagement, share stories of how and why volunteering matters, and tackle some of the obstacles that make volunteering hard.  We will also feature a dozen area nonprofits to share a sample of volunteer opportunities available now!Among the organizations participating, we will learn from the United Way of Greater Portland, Maine Animal Refuge League, Learning Works, the Maine Tool Library, League of Women Voters, Lift 360 and more!

Also happening this week: MPBN will offer a special “Maine Calling” on the topic of Thankfulness on Wednesday.  MPBN and the Maine Community Foundation are sharing  “Voices of Giving” throughout this month, documenting all sorts of reasons that people choose to give their time, money, and other care.   Bangor Daily News is sharing stories of people for whom the rest of us “should be thankful.”  We offer books on thankfulness, including this wonderful list of poems.

 


Choosing to Participate

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Seniors | Government

Portland Public Library’s Choose Civility Initiative invites you to engage in conversation about how we can make a difference in our local community.  What kind of engagement interests you?  What opportunities exist?  Where is there need? Also, meet with local organizations that seek volunteers – someone like you!

November 25th

  • 7:30am :  Coffee, treats & networking
  • 8:00am :  Opening program — exploring volunteerism’s benefits for individuals, organizations and communities (and the challenges, too!)
  • 8:45 (ish) :  Volunteer Resource Fair – Organizational introductions and small conversations.  Meet representatives from local organizations and learn about opportunities for participating in Portland.

indexConfirmed organizations include (but are not limited to) :  United Way of Greater Portland;  YMCA of Greater Portland; Greater Portland Animal Refuge League; Maine Tool Library; Learning Works; 2Degrees Portland and more!

(*If you’d like to share information about a project or civic engagement effort or opportunity for volunteering, please contact Kim Simmons at Simmons@portland.lib.me.us)

The social justice organization Facing History and Ourselves offers online resources on “Choosing To Participate.”  Featuring an online exhibit, in partnership with the Smithsonian Exhibition.  Among the questions they ask, is a central query : How can I make a positive difference in the world?”

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The Worth of Conversation

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture | Government | News

What is the worth of informal, but focused, conversation? What do we gain from talking to each other across our differences, about something we hold in common?

Research indicates that loneliness is a very common social problem and puts individuals at risk for health problems.  Loneliness & Mortality Risks (read this review article in the New Republic)

In contrast, the following video from the Greater Good Science Center suggests that developing “cross-group relationships” is great for our health and well-being!

 

One of the best ways to develop more relationships and relationships with people different from us is by participating in public conversations… and we have some great invitations for you! All programs are free and open to the public.

1) On November 6th we continue a series offered in collaboration with the  Maine Humanities Council on “Creating the Communities We Wish For.”  These small group, neighborhood conversations feature a great facilitator (Dr. Anna Bartel), a great poem, and fabulous conversation.   REGISTER HERE

·         November 6th at the YMCA in Portland, 11:30am – 1:00pm
·         November 20th here at the Main Branch, 11:30am – 1:00pm
·         December 18th at Riverton, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

2) On November 6th we also begin our film series, in collaboration with Maine Humanities Council, entitled “Muslim Journeys.”   This series is part of a national project and will include discussion facilitated by Reza Jalali.  The series includes films on November 13th and 20th – all begin at 6:30pm.

3)  On November 25th we offer the second of our Portland Public Conversations, in collaboration with Lift360 (formerly the Institute for Civic Leadership) – this one will focus on “Participating in Portland” and will include a resource fair – if you have a project that engages volunteers or civic participation and you’d like to share information about it, please be in touch with me simmons@portland.lib.me.us .  All are encouraged to come reflect on the value of engagement and the challenges associated with participating in our communities – November 25th 7:30am coffee/ 8:00am program start.   Our final date in the series is December 9th and will focus on “Picturing Portland” – a visioning session for 2015 and beyond!

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