by Andrea Dennis, Greenheart Outreach Director
Have you ever traveled to a new place and felt the desire to give back to the host community in a meaningful way (and we are talking more than just helping the economy by shopping), and weren’t sure how to do it? It happens a lot. Although the genuine desire to make a positive impact is there, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Luckily, scholars, activists and community development experts have paved the way with tools to help you look at your host community through a new lens in the goal of making a positive impact.
This tool is an ongoing, living document that you can use throughout your program to better understand the landscape of your host community. It brings to life your community in a visual and illustrative way to help you better understand the groups, organizations and overall layout of the host community. Your map will help you create a community portfolio shedding insights into areas or issues that might need your help. Steps to mapping your community:
1.) Determine how you like to view information. On a web document, notebook, post-its? Determine the visual that works best for you and stick to it. Staying organized and consistent will help you fit all the pieces together.
2.) Record the basics of your new community:
In addition to becoming a better member of your host community and network, community mapping helps prepare you for applying for our Greenheart Grant, providing Greenheart Travel participants opportunities to give back to their communities.
Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing. -Denis Waitley