Saturday, May 2, 2009

Creating Community Conversation with Pizza and Doughnuts

The second day of being sweet began with lots of doughnuts from Daylight Donuts down the street from A Third Place, Turley's community center. I drove the RV down Friday afternoon for the weekend to attend some meetings and just "be here" with the community people I'm getting to know better each time I come down. I kind of pigged out on the doughnuts - they were excellent.

After attending a Citizens Community Coalition Meeting Friday night at Tulsa Community College, hearing from representatives of many different community organizations working to make the north Tulsa area a better place, I was hyped up for today's meeting here at the center with graduate students from the University of Oklahoma's Social Work school and residents of Turley. Called "Neighborhood Life 2009," the meeting/class was the second in a series of community gatherings to help empower residents to work together in making their community safer and cleaner, and to help them become better community leaders.

The students met together for a few hours first, then residents of the community showed up around 11 A.M. We all ate great pizza together and had some wonderful discussions with small groups from the class. I sat in on several of those conversations and was very impressed with the professionalism of the students and the eagerness of Turley residents to talk about what matters most to them in their community. The students used their communication skills to help residents learn ways to empower others in their neighborhoods, and Turley residents provided the students with actual real-life concerns out-of-the-classroom. It was a wonderful learning experience for all of us.

Afterwards, some of us sat around talking for a while. I talked with one 83-year-old man about his favorite singer, Yma Sumac and, since I had my laptop set up, I found a YouTube video on her, including some singing. She was well-known for her amazing 5-octave voice.

Since I had to keep up my sweetness, I had to eat another doughnut, this time a chocolate one.

Tomorrow we'll have the usual 10:00 Worship and Conversation here at the center - The Living Room Church - then we'll have this meeting, words copied from Rev. Ron Robinson's email:

OU Health Sciences is interested in applying for a $10 million prize based on work done to transform the health of a community. Turley/North Tulsa, the area covered in the service outreach of A Third Place Center, is where they would like to focus their attention. Several of the leaders of OU Social Work Dept. in Norman and Tulsa, and the Community Medicine Dept in Tulsa are planning to meet at A Third Place Center this Sunday at noon. I thought we would invite them to our usual community Sunday meal (might need to plan to make extra though we always do) and we could meet with them. They have some ideas and want to share and hear from us.

There's a lot going on here and I'm excited about becoming a part of it. Time for another doughnut - need to stay sweet.


1 comment:

Yarntangler said...

I foresee a busy future for you as you work toward improving the community there.

I miss you on the road but I'm more and more convinced you stopped there for a special as yet unrevealed reason.

And it wasn't to eat all the donuts!