In April, the Community Impact committee launched Activate Akron – a series of exploratory conversations about Akron-related issues of interest to Torchbearers. The April topic was education in Akron, but recent topics have included social justice, behavioral health, and economic development.
The goal of Activate Akron is to generate ideas and learn where Torchbearer membership wants to spend more time serving their community. This initiative supports one of the goals of the Community Impact Committee for 2017, as they explore ways to create a sustainable framework for selection of service projects.
At the event, Torchbearers work in groups with community leaders to answer questions surrounding the selected topic or generate new ideas that might help support the community. The events are highly interactive, with enough structure to encourage participation from everyone.
“You do not have to be an expert to participate in the conversation!” shares Chrissy Myers, one of the Community Impact Committee chairs. “We are fortunate to have experts on these conversation topics who have been willing to not only educate, but actively participate in our brainstorming process.”
One of those experts at this Activate Akron session was Alyce Jennings, Director of Development for Summit County Community Partnership.
“I was impressed by the diversity of the Torchbearers who participated,” said Jennings. “They listened with humility, asked great questions and offered thoughtful responses. Despite the fact that the people around my table did not have work experience in the field, many had been touched by the opiate epidemic and their experiences were critical to brainstorming solutions.”
One of the goals for the Community Impact committee this year was to create a sustainable framework for selecting service projects for Torchbearers membership. Following each Activate Akron session, subcommittees are exploring potential service projects related to the topic. Community Impact will be reviewing and presenting project opportunities for 2018 once subcommittee work is completed.