The Herald-Mail USA TODAY NETWORK
There are a lot of hurting youths and families in every community. And there are various agencies designed to help. But how do you get them on the same page and pool their limited resources to provide the right help for the right family circumstance?
Bester Community of Hope is sponsoring a training event in Hagerstown next week called “Surviving to Thriving,” featuring nationally known speakers who’ve been there — and have developed sound practices for building healthier families and communities. It’s aimed at helping the helpers find common solutions to their shared challenges.
This is the seventh yearly community training conference for the Community of Hope, which is a program of San Mar Family and Community Services. It’s scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. March 29 at the Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown. Speakers include:
The Rev. Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles
Philonise Floyd, founder of the Philonise and Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change
Corey Best, founder of Mining for Gold
Kevin John Fong, founder of the Kahakulei Institute
Author and speaker Josh Shipp
San Mar CEO Keith Fanjoy said a similar event he had attended about 10 years ago had “really transformed a lot of my thinking, and ultimately, our practices. And eventually, that day or two of work has transformed our organization. “And so that’s just one small example of the power of a training to bring ideas and practices to a community, and how that can have a big impact,” he said. Bester Community of Hope began sponsoring these sessions for two reasons, he said. “The first thing we wanted to do was translate our values and practices to the community as we changed our organization, and do it in a way that could be heard with speakers that were aligned with our core ideas. “And the second thing was trying to build some collective impact around those shared ideas, because usually a training of this type inspires action. … It kind of generates these feelings about, ‘what can I do in my organization?’ And we can do a lot more together if we’re on the same page.”
The idea is to then partner with other organizations to “address the needs of the community in a shared way,” he said. “It started really with this idea that a training can be the catalyst for people to change their perspective and ultimately their organization.”
And the training has been popular — nearly 600 people had registered for it last week, Fanjoy said, and there’s room for more.
“People are craving fresh and innovative ideas and opportunities to connect with people from different sectors,” he said. “I think a really cool thing about our training is it’s not just for social workers. It’s for educators and people in health care. It’s really for all people that have an interest and a desire to see progress and improvement in the helping field, which is a very broad field.”
The training is about clarifying vision and beliefs, he said. “What follows is really what looks more like what implementation might look like in a particular organization, which is very different depending on the needs where the service is provided from that organization.”
Community organizations here have recognized they need to work together “with limited resources, and big community needs,” Fanjoy said. But he’s seen more common ideas developing between them. “That’s been a theme that I think has definitely emerged over the years,” Fanjoy said. “And I think for our organization specifically, this was a tool for us to not only share our core values but it also helped us to shift away from our past model of residential service to more family and community-driven care as a new strategy.” Fanjoy said the speakers for each year’s training sessions are chosen because they can address “ways to be creative and innovative within a somewhat rigid system.”
The Rev. Boyle has addressed the training before, and is being brought back by popular demand, Fanjoy said. “Ever since he came, I’m not kidding you, I regularly have heard, ‘when are you bringing him back?” he said. “Everybody loved Father Boyle.” But all the speakers bring a unique perspective, he said.
The Washington County Department of Human Services and the Alice Virginia and David Fletcher Foundation are sponsors for the event, and there’s still time to register. Go to besterhope.org to sign up. The cost is $39.
Referenced from The Herald Mail Newspaper – 3/20/23