1. the act of working with another or others on a joint project
2. something created by working jointly with another or others
In local newspapers or other publications indigenous to Long Beach you often read about the city, non-profits, businesses, & other organizations collaborating for the common good of the people and the city. However, it is very seldom that you read about local churches collaborating with the above mentioned to seek the welfare of the city and its people.
Over the summer twenty-five youth ranging in ages 15-19 year old that live in the 6th district and had been participating in the City of Long Beach Weed & Seed program were provided the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops focused on youth leadership as it pertains to Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). Most people are unfamiliar with ABCD, in a nutshell it does not focus on the problems and needs of the people and community; instead it’s an approach that focuses on appreciating and mobilizing both individual and community talents, skills, and assets to bring healthy, wholesome, organic neighborhood transformation. As we started putting the workshop curriculum together we soon realized that it was going to take the collaboration and talents of others to successfully deliver the desired outcomes. Before we could identify and strategize who to collaborate with we knew that we would need a broker, some organization who could navigate and tread the landscape carefully. Creating community partnerships with the faith based community is an art; some would say it’s a science. In order to thoughtfully and strategically accomplish this task we relied on the strengths and passion of Kingdom Causes Long Beach and its team.
With one common goal on the horizon Kingdom Causes began to approach and strike conversations with each of the key players that needed to be involved. After much prayer, many emails, phone calls, meetings, and a ton of coffee, all of the buy-in, support, and collaboration that was needed happened. The parties involved included the City of Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services, Martin Luther King Park, The Weed & Seed program, The 6th District councilman & his team, Kingdom Causes, a school teacher, a few volunteers, Toastmasters Inc., Antioch Church of Long Beach, New Hope Baptist Church, We Love Long Beach, and a few Jesus followers. This collaboration was diverse, full of energy & enthusiasm, had wonderful character, great leadership, and was ready to hit the ground running.
During the 10 weeks that the students were attending the workshops each member of the collaboration was able to use their own specific gifts, passion, and expertise to stoke the fire underneath the youth. It was amazing to see the youth with each passing week have their thoughts about self, neighborhood, and community challenged and ultimately changed. The 25 youth in the short 10 weeks were able to write, critique, and give a public speech; they persuaded a councilmember’s vote; they served their neighbors; they learned about their own gifts, passions, & assets; they defined their own hopes & dreams, they completed a 2 day ABCD retreat; they became familiar with public policies; and they made new friends for life. There was so much more that each student experienced and took away, but without the selfless collaboration of all the entities involved this could have never been possible.
It is truly amazing as to what can happen when we put our pride, ego, and agenda aside. Throughout the entire course of this collaboration it never became about one person, greed, a single organization, or the attitude of “what’s in this for me”. This was a great example of what can happen when the Church of the city, God’s people, non-profits, civil and local governments, and businesses don’t focus on reasons not to collaborate, but hope and dream of how together we can transform our city one person, one street, and one neighborhood at a time.