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New Report : Volunteering & Civic Engagement 2012

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

The Corporation for National and Community Service has released a report on the state of volunteerism in the USA and the States in 2012. Overall, Maine is doing great, ranking 14th in the Country.  However, we have some places where we could improve and the Choose Civility Initiative hopes to encourage even more participation in coming years!

A few highlights:

In 2012, one in four adults (26.5 percent) volunteered through an organization, demonstrating that volunteering remains an important activity for millions of Americans. In Maine, 32.5% of residents volunteer, combining into a total 43.8 million hours of service!  And, more than 1/2 of Mainer’s report contributing financially to charities of some kind.  If this moves you to consider volunteering in 2014, check out Volunteer Maine to learn about opportunities around our State.

While Maine reports very high voter-turn-out, only 9.9% of volunteerism is within a civic realm, and  18.8% of residents report participating in public meetings –what could we do to encourage greater participation in our civic life?  Please share your ideas in the comments section!
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Welcoming : Energizing Community

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Adults | Seniors | Government

On December 4th, Portland Public Library’s Choose Civility Initiative hosted a public forum on the topic of Welcoming : Energizing Community. Organized as a World Cafe conversation, facilitators from Institute for Civic Leadership walked the almost 50 participants through three sets of questions, with the purpose of helping to share many perspectives while deepening the conversation.

The three questions asked:

1) On a scale of 1-10, how welcoming do you find Portland and why?

2) How does your rating shape your community engagement?

3) If we envision a Most Welcoming city, what might we highlight and what might we change?

If you have answers to these questions, please leave comment below or send them to simmons@portland.lib.me.us

Themes from the break-out session are inspiring and encourage more conversations about how we move to action!

People seek more opportunities to connect with others… and especially strangers who might share a new way of thinking about the common good. Participants agreed that Portland offers significant opportunities to be among people but deeper interactions can feel awkward or discouraged.

Welcoming is an active practice… a truly welcoming community does more than invite people to the table, it encourages a cultural literacy among all members of the community, institutionalizes best practices for encouraging the greatest level of public participation and
enhances shared public space where interaction is normal, easy, supported and encouraged.

A shared vision for a common good needs to be articulated… we likely share more in common than we might realize, but many experience incivility as an effort to separate us and emphasize our differences.

Civility in the Political Process is Important… Our political discourse should be friendly, welcoming and respectful of dissent and agreement.

Choose Civility Portland aims to build momentum on these suggestions by hosting public conversations on important community topics, skill building workshops for engaging in Democracy, and by maintaining and amplifying our commitment to the Library as a space where interaction and integration occur.

Choose Civility Portland recent press:

Check back frequently for program updates!

 


Welcoming : Energizing Community Connections

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Adults | Art & Culture | Government

Welcoming :  Energizing Community Connections

Portland Public Library  5 Monument Square, Rines Auditorium

December 4th 4-6pm, with a reception to follow

Free and open to the public!

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What does it mean to welcome others in?

What does it feel like to feel truly welcome?

What’s the difference between personal efforts towards welcoming and institutional ones?

How might public spaces become more welcoming?

How does a shared commitment to civility help us sustain welcome public places?

How does welcoming fit into a community wide vision of civility?

These are some of the questions we will explore in our World Cafe-style (interactive and facilitated) conversation about Welcoming as a civic value.

This event occurs as part of our larger Choose Civility Initiative, supported by the Lerner Foundation, and developed in partnership with the Institute for Civic Leadership and the Maine Humanities Council.

An opportunity for action planning and a reception will follow the facilitated event.  RSVPs encouraged but not required and this event is fully free and open to the public.  The conversation will be enriched by broad participation — please come and bring a friend – all are truly welcome!

The conversation will continue, with a screening of Rain in a Dry Land on December 5th (7:30pm at PPL, free and open to the public, in coordination with Catholic Charities) and  with a special coordinated Portland Playback on the theme of Welcoming taking place on Friday December 6th (CTN5, 516 Congress Street, Portland, Maine $7).

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