Building authentic relationships is the central theme for our team’s PIC project, “Building Community with Books.”
Mrs. McCarthy’s 4th grade classroom at North Gresham Elementary School has partnered with us, a group of students from Portland State, to help their classroom build a library.
Our team was enthusiastically on board with this project, realizing the importance of having fresh enrichment materials for the classroom.
Our team challenge was our remote status since building authentic relationships occurs more easily in a face to face format. How could we still reach our target community and maintain authenticity from afar?
Our solution was to create a website, http://booksforgresham.wixsite.com/greshamreads , to draw awareness to the project in order to support our end goal : Building the classroom library with help from the community.
Through this website, we were not only able to generate awareness through our own social networks, but were able to act as support to other teams with the same goal. By joining forces, we were able to strengthen our ties to the community and collaborate with other teams.
Gresham Reads was developed with the idea that creating community awareness would help to generate partnerships not only for this classroom, but for all classrooms in the community.
This site was paramount for also directing people to how they could support the classroom even if they could not contribute monetarily at the book fair, donor sites, or the small library. Simply sharing the link on social media can create a new network of people willing to get involved.
The development of this site creates multiple opportunities for other school needs, and can serve as an ever evolving bridge between the community and the school, creating more authentic partnerships as time progresses.
Along with this site, we created a flyer that team members were able to distribute at local businesses, cafes, gyms, their workplace, etc. drawing attention to our project and directing them to our site.
This was just one more step in expanding our networks and reaching the community.
It was also an opportunity to collaborate with other teams on creating awareness and building on our community relationships.
As a result, we have managed to reach more people and create opportunities for individuals to take action in their community, building relationships, one book at a time.