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SWON News: Future of Libraries

Take 5! An Ohio Youth Services Dialogue: 2015 Wrap-Up “Making it Happen”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Melanie Blau McDonald
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Giving Back

This was the first time I and one of my staff (Racheal Mick), actively worked on this statewide conference. Working the conference included serving on various committees, recruiting sponsors, directing the caterer when they arrived at 8:15 am, in other words, the usual conference/workshop duties. And as sometimes happens when you’re very involved in the ‘behind the scenes’ activities, we didn’t participate as attendees during much of the conference. I felt that I’d missed out, which seemed like a loss as I’d benefited so much from the first two versions of Take 5 (for a description of each, visit ).

The Big Picture

But then I started typing up the notes to our two “World Café: Conversations that Matter” sessions. And wow! Participants from museums, public libraries, arts organizations and schools generated twenty pages of ideas, advice, understandings, respect, caring, dependability, enthusiasm, knowledge, wisdom, questions, concern, and achievement.

Coming full circle

I first experienced a productive World Café program at the first Take 5 event at the Columbus Museum of Art. Led by Cindy Foley (Director of Learning and Experience), the experience made its indelible impression on me and on my organization. Now I’m able to organize and facilitate them thanks to Take 5. The structured conversations supported by this proven method produce amazing results.

“Making It Happen”

The committee wanted to address making things happen, so that we would go beyond blue sky ideas (which we all love) and address practical issues of dealing with change, our administrations, and truly serving our youth. We had three powerful speakers:

  • Christine Lottman, professor at the University Of Cincinnati School Of Social Work who introduced us to proven techniques in the field of emotional intelligence so that we could make it happen by understanding ourselves and others better. Recognizing where we are at any particular moment in terms of energy and contentment, helps us decide if we’re where we want to be for what we want to do. First steps that pave the way for growth.
  • Michelle Shinew, co-founder of Friends of the Sawmill Wetlands who shared action plans for expanding your community involvement in support of making things happen. We know we need to do it, but it helps to know the critically important pieces. Michelle urged us to stop having meetings and start having parties (or dinners or cookouts).
  • Tom Kent, Executive Director of Elementz Hip Hop Youth Arts Center. Elementz was recently awarded Non-Profit of the Year by the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce and two of its fellows, Derrek Burbridge (Dance Choreographer) and Abdullah Powell (Creative Director) were recognized as local leaders in Cincinnati Magazine’s “The Future of Cincinnati: Ones to Watch.” Tom shared what it means to serve youth, where and when they are; to be their family, to be worthy of their trust.

Once again, more input than I can possibly process in a week, month or year. But I’m sure that another indelible impression has been made.

~ Melanie


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