Day 2 of GCDD Traveling to Indianapolis for a Learning Journey

Day two in Indianapolis proved to be as packed and exciting as day one. Much of today focused on how to meet the people in your community, identify their gifts and talents and then connect people to others with similar gifts and talents or similar concerns in the neighborhood. Broadway United Methodist Church has created many opportunities for young people in the community to become Roving Listeners. The goal of Roving Listeners is to find out what each person's gifts are, celebrate those gifts and connect people to those who have the same gifts. A part of this effort is for the Roving Listeners to learn how to have meaningful, deep conversations with people and then to help connect them.

What does this have to do with GCDD or Real Communities?  I believe that we can have people that are a part of Real Communities Initiatives learning the stories and gifts of people in their communities, especially people with developmental disabilities.  This would then lead to connecting people with similar gifts, so they can share and address issues that exist in their neighborhoods.  For instance, through Centenary United Methodist Church in Macon, a group of people including those with disabilities, spent time learning how to engage in deep conversations and how to become Roving Listeners.  This group walked the neighborhoods around the Church, knocked on doors, set up appointments or just met people on the streets and ask if they could spend 10 minutes to find out what they thought about the neighborhood and how they have been working to make it better.  We knew that they would be talking to many people, some who have developmental disabilities.  As a part of this listening, they began to discover what people really enjoyed doing:  gardening, home repair, reading, watching football, cooking etc.  People with similar interests were then invited to a dinner and had the opportunity to discuss how they could better connect their interests for the benefit of the community.  People who enjoyed gardening might start talking about how to grow better tomatoes, but that discussion might lead to how they could begin selling their produce.  The point is, people including those with developmental disabilities will be invited to connect with each other and together have opportunities to discuss how to make where they live a better place. As Pastor Mike Mathers said, this “helps change the odds for everyone.

” I believe we are leaving Indianapolis a different group than those who arrived on Sunday.  We have made our own connections with Broadway United Methodist, its members and the people who live in the neighborhood surrounding it. I know that each of us learned many new ideas and are excited to use what we have seen and learned.  You can expect to see Real Communities Initiatives sending out Roving Listeners to talk with their neighbors to understand what gifts and talents exist.  I know this will change what is happening at Centenary Church, and a long lasting relationship between them and Broadway has been born.  I want to thank D’eamon, Mike, Duane, Terri and all the staff at Broadway, as well as the people who opened their doors and hearts to us.  Great trip but I am ready for my own bed!

Eric Jacobson