Last week our speaker emphasized the importance of doing projects not for people, but rather doing them with them. Throughout the semester we’ve been collecting data with the hope that we can make a difference in Indianapolis. We’ve thought about what changes we believe should be made and what we think are the best ways to improve these trails. While the work we’ve been doing is great, it has neglected one important aspect that community service work needs to consider to be successful- the people.
I’m sure the people who live in these areas we’ve been analyzing not only have their own opinions about what the trails need, but also unique skills that would help us to make them the best they can be. Even if changes are made, if you don’t have the support of the people, they most likely won’t last very long. You have to find people who actually care and have a vested interest if you hope to make any lasting changes.
Even if I don’t go into city planning, this experience has given me a lot of insight into the best way to handle projects and work with members of the community. Everyone has something to offer, and starting to view these unique skill sets as assets is key to any projects success.