HoodRoving in G-Park: Chocolate, Radio, Tango, Change

This is an excerpt from April’s piece that ran in This Week in Sarasota on June 25, 2012. For the complete story plus lots more photos and links to videoclips, sources and related material, go to http://www.thisweekinsarasota.com/hoodroving-in-g-park-chocolate-radio-tango-change


We hear week-in and week-out about all the stuff wrong with the world. Most of it gives you the sense that we’re pretty much screwed as a species: economic collapse, “choose the lesser evil” political campaigns, pollution, poverty … cannibalism!? There’s a pervasive sense that we regular folks can’t do that much to change things.

I’m pretty sure I’ve found the most exciting thing for ME to be doing to change things: neighborhood roving — or “HoodRoving,” as I like to call it. If you read my “Neighborhood Love Story” article, you know that that I am on this mission to discover all the great things about it — people, restaurants, beautiful spots, etc. — and celebrate them like crazy.  I also want to connect neighbors with each other through this celebration.  I cannot claim this as an original strategy in any way, but I can create an original story myself as I practice three kinds of behavior these other folks have taught me:

    • Listen for gifts, treasures and assets.
    • “Invite, Invite, Invite” others to discover them too.
    • Celebrate what you find.

April’s June 25th installment of HoodRoving continues to tell the story of “how adventures of epic proportions can unfold following these three basic behaviors.” Read the full article to hear how a roving date with her eight-year-old neighbor Victor turned into a five-person adventure to a home-based chocolate factory, a local radio station and a tango-salsa studio in Sarasota’s Gillespie Park Neighborhood.

Video by Da lee Woodman | Running time: 6:26

What I came away with from this adventure in HoodRoving was an even stronger belief in the power of those three simple acts of “Listen,” ”Invite” and “Celebrate” when they are based upon a belief in community abundance and a true curiosity about the place where one lives.

Knowing the assets/talents/resources we already have in our community, but usually ignore, is a major step away from the dis-empowering norm of thinking that we have very little and that we need experts, programs and institutions to come and fix our communities and our neighborhoods. These entities certainly have a role, but I suggest that what we need most right now is each other, and to realize what amazing gifts and assets we and others have already, both within and around us.

It feels amazing to make a difference in a way that I can see, feel and taste, and in a way that came naturally to me.  Rather than toot my own horn here, I hope to convey that “making a difference” can be as simple as putting on a different lens for looking at the place where you live, then inviting others and celebrating what you find there. You don’t need a degree or expert help; use your own unique talents.

What will result? It can’t be mapped on a two- or five-year plan. Heck, my plan flew out the window when the original co-rover didn’t show.  Rather than predictable, the outcomes will be magical and unexpected.

Photo by Jenny Acheson: Community radio station WSLR’s great outside space and programming.

Post excerpted from HoodRoving in G-Park, published June 25, 2012 in This Week in Sarasota, and re-posted with permission. Home page photo: 14zawa



About the Lead Author

April Doner
April Doner
April Doner lives and works as a Roving Illustrator, telling stories of community thriving, abundance, and people-powered change through writing, photography and art. Originally from the wave-kissed east coast of Florida, April has found her way to Indianapolis, IN to join community-based innovators De'Amon Harges and Anne Mitchell at Tesserae Learning. April is especially passionate about revealing and engaging the strengths of people, groups and neighborhoods who have been marginalized by labels of deficiency, and in working to redirect channels of faith and funding from deficiency-based approaches and into the lives of the "positive deviants"--the unseen and under-celebrated organizers, story-tellers, healers, artists and others who are actively making changes in their communities and neighborhoods. Through Tesserae and Aprilart Studios, she offers services to strengthen community including documentation, facilitation, trainings, workshops and consulting in Asset-Based-Community Development, Theory U and other practices, as well as a full range of artistic services. April is a Fellow with the Asset-Based Community Development Institute and a Steward of ABCD in Action.

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