Today we experienced several parts of the puzzle that makes up circles of support. The first item we’d like to tell you about is an activity called “Listening Pairs”. During a period of 10 minutes we took the time to tell each other and listen to one another about a time when we first noticed a person that was different from ourselves. This gave us a chance to learn about one other person’s experience of diversity.
The second activity we participated in was the “Diversity Panel”. This allowed the training team to open up to us about the following questions. 1. What identity do you choose to share today. 2. What do you like about that? 3. What gets challenging about this? 4. What about our community (circles) approach works for you? 5. What can we do better in our circle? This activity would be helpful to evaluate how our circle is doing periodically.
The third activity we did was develop a Dream Path of our vision of Dream Seekers of St. Joseph. This gave us the opportunity to share a focus for the future, challenges we face in realizing that dream, and setting goals, noting our strengths, and constructing a time line for specific actions.
The fourth activity we participated in today was an actual functioning circle of support meeting. Dinner was enjoyed by 28 people, 10 of which were children. Lois Smidt was the guest facilitator for the evening. The meeting started with taking notice of everyone that was present. We then discussed our purpose for being there and the principles we were going to follow for the evening. The group then went around the circle each telling our first name, where we call home, and our “New and Good” for the evening. “Wants, Needs and Offers” followed. The meeting ended with us going around the circle and showing appreciation to one another. Lois encouraged participants to take these practices out into the community! Take it to the streets!