Being a Cincinnati, Ohio native, I was excited to hear that Peter Block, author of the book: "Community: The Structure of Belonging," was also from Cincinnati. His work was recommended to me by our Program Director, and I have just started to dive into his book on building restorative communities. This is of particular interest to me, because it directly relates to my research this semester into possible ways that I might build a bridge between Shawnee State University and local citizens and communities in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Block refers to what a "restorative community" is in this passage:
"Restoration comes from the choice to value possibility and relatedness over problems, self-interest, and the rest of the stuck community's agenda. [...] Restoration is created by the kinds of conversations we initiate with each other. These conversations are the leverage point for an alternative future. The core question that underlies each conversation is "What can we create together?" Shifting the context from retribution to restoration will occur through language that moves in the following directions: from problems to possibility; from fear and fault to gifts, generosity, and abundance; from law and oversight to social fabric and chosen accountability; from corporation and systems to associational life; and from leaders to citizens" (p. 47).
In our graduate program, we have had the pleasure of working with Pamela Tudor of Tudor Consulting to learn some of the valuable skills needed to put the concepts Block is talking about into action. Pamela is an executive coach and organizational consultant and has 23 years of experience Fortune companies and the public sector. She has instructed us on facilitation and change management skills, with an emphasis on building strong emotional intelligence. I believe these skills will be crucial for not only in my professional work, but also in my personal life.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in transforming a community. Block's writing is applicable to a broad definition of community, and can apply to not only where we live, but also to where we work and play.