Small Change Windsor » Windsor Votes 101 – No problem too big…

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Windsor Votes 101 – No problem too big…

Don’t read this post yet. 

(Okay, you may have to continue on a bit)

We have an activity for you before you even start to read about the amazing conversations we had with Windsor citizens on June 19th at the Central branch of the Windsor Public Library. To do it like these people you can take out three different colours of Post-It notes and write down the following:

  • What is a problem or challenge you see in Windsor?
  • What is a strength or skill that you have?
  • What is a resource that you have? (Do you have a truck, or something as basic as some time in the afternoon?)

You may or may not have used a Post-It note, we aren’t sitting there beside you, but hopefully you did the exercise (even if it was done briefly in your mind).

Now the next step is to consider the problem, or problems you thought of. How do you feel about them? Do they feel big or perhaps out of reach?

Chances are if you were at Windsor Votes 101 – the first of four information sessions intended to get more people voting and advocating for their neighbourhoods in the October Windsor municipal elections – the challenges would have seemed overwhelming. Raising voter turnout isn’t an easy thing. Neither is homelessness, poverty, public transportation, or equality – all challenges that came up on June 19th. But let’s leave that thought for a moment.

The next thing is the skills that we have. What did you write down? The people who came out to Windsor Votes 101 wrote things like “I can dance,” “I can write stories,” “event organization,” and “humour.” And what resources do you have? Time? Education? A truck? A camera?

Now, we need to solve our challenges. They may seem overwhelming, but now we have some resources and skills to pair with them. Your computer and passion for storytelling can go with homelessness, your time and interest in volunteering with low voter turnout.

Still overwhelmed? Your access to a vehicle may seem small compared to low voter turnout, and maybe it is. But if you are doing this activity while sitting by yourself that may be the reason it seems small. And that is the key. If you add everyone’s resources and skills together – public speaking, graphic design, trucks, etc. – and pair them with these big challenges they get a little less daunting.

Are you still overwhelmed? Think about it this way than. These challenges may be big, but – and here is the second key idea – they manifest themselves in many different ways and on many different levels – from the federal to local contexts. We may have low voter turnout in Windsor, especially in certain neighbourhoods, but we can also help our neighbour feel inspired to get to the polling station and inspire them to do so. We may have people living on the street in Windsor, but we can volunteer and talk to them to see what sort of support they need. We may have a high level of vacant and derelict homes in Windsor, but we can contact the City about them and continue to put pressure on landlords who let their properties deteriorate.

The conclusion is that if a community pools its skills and resources it can have a huge impact on the larger problem itself.

Okay, so you got your toes wet with our little activity. Now it’s really time to get involved. You have the chance to learn and talk with us again at the next Windsor Votes information session, Thursday July 19th 2018 at Gino A. Marcus Community Centre (1168 Drouillard Road) from 6:00 to 8:00PM. Windsor Votes 201 is about really Getting Involved, from the basics of finding out your Ward and where to vote, to how to get together with your neighbours and advocate for the services that your neighbourhood needs.

And if you did the exercise and want to share your answers, comment on this post or contact your local neighbourhood strategy!

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About

Coordinator of The Intiative: Glengarry to Marentette – a United Way Centraide of Windsor – Essex funded neighbourhood improvement strategy – Patrick has been working in community development since June of 2013. With a demanding work and life schedule, authoring blog posts is a good way to pursue his passion for writing, photography, and community building.

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