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Adult Literacy And Community Development Essay

1744 words - 7 pages

My vision in my work with VOC this year is to explore the intersection of adult literacy and community development. Through research, I hope to learn more about the connection between research and practice in writing for adult learners; through working with a community based organization I hope to deepen my knowledge and understanding of the impact and challenges of working in a literacy program and how this translates into overall goals of improving livelihoods and building a stronger community. Throughout the semester, I have realized more potential for realizing my goals in my work and I have worked on different components of my vision.
Asset mapping is one of the highlights form this semester. Bergdall (2003) defines asset-based development as a mobilization of skills, resources and commitment of the residents along with others grounded in the area to strengthen the economic and social well-being of the entire community. As I revised my personal asset map, I reflected on this definition of asset-based development and made the connections of how I can leverage the resources that I have towards my economic and social well-being. Throughout the semester, I have been intrigued by the connection between my personal asset map and the organizational asset map. While the organization can utilize both internal and external resources, a thorough understanding of individual assets in the organization is critical towards strengthening the functioning of the organization. My understanding of the networks, skills and interests that I bring to the table is critical for the organization because this enables me to use those skills to leverage resources as a catalyst at the organizational level. About two years ago I took a class on individuals and organizations in Complex Organizations. Our first assignment was a learning paper in which we explored our learning history, what motivates us and what we hope to learn before working in an organization. This exercise allowed me to reflect on my values, how they have shifted and solidified and to predict the kind of learning experiences I hope for as I work and live in organizations. Looking back, the concept of understanding the individual level has become more critical. Micro and macro asset mapping has allowed me to see myself as an essential element of the whole hence my contributions matter. Furthermore, understanding my assets, skills and learning goals in my work as a community fellow allows me to trace my progress, set benchmarks and reassess my goals and vision.
Illich (1968) brings the local/global dichotomy to the forefront. I resonate with his frustration, passion and anger on this issue but I see this conversation boiling down to the conversation about being an outsider and doing community development work. The speech builds on Bergdall’s conversation about being an outsider and Illich takes it on a more international level. I always question my intentions and my interactions on working in community...

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