Homework for Session 7: What’s Next?

Posted May 8, 2011 in Curriculum

Ways to continue our learning, mutual aid, and social action

I.  Continue Meeting Regularly
II.  Embark on Projects/Activities

Some circles decide to meet twice per month following the completion of the curriculum.  The first monthly meeting is discussion focused, and the second is an “activity day,” such as a workshop to learn a new skill  or an activity that is part of a social action campaign.  The lists below provide suggestions for both types of meetings.  Visit https://localcircles.org/more-resources/ for even more ideas.

I. Options for Continued Meetings

1. Potlucks

2. Game Nights

A fun, low-cost way to provide entertainment is a “game night” with board games or cards.

3. Modules Developed by the Resilience Circle Network

4. Book Clubs

5. Film Discussions

6. Small Group Guides

II. Projects/Activities

1. “Re-skilling” Community Workshops

Remember the Gifts & Needs exercise where you figured out that someone in your group knows how to can food?  Or to sew?  Or garden?  Or repair leaky faucets?  Hold a series of workshops to learn these skills from one another.  Consider inviting the wider community.  Visit https://transitionUS.org for guidance on “re-skilling.”

2. Home Help Round Robins

Spring:  Garden Prep

Six circle members each agree to spend one weekend at one another’s helping to ready their respective gardens for planting.  Each “host” buys the needed materials and plans how to best use the crew.   The team works for a couple of hours at each home, then moves on to the next.  People share gardening knowledge along the way, seeds might get shared, and more work is accomplished overall.

Winter: Weatherization

In winter or fall, circle members help button-up each others’ homes for winter.  Each “host” buys materials to caulk windows, seal doors, and put up plastic around leaky windows. With a team working a couple of hours on a weekend, each household saves potentially hundreds of dollars on heating costs.

3. Community Gardens and Community Supported Agriculture

If there’s open land in your community, organize your neighbors to create a community garden. Many areas have state or local agencies that support community gardening.  Another way to improve access to high-quality produce and meats is by pooling resources with local farmers through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

4. Share!

Visit https://shareable.net/how-to-share for a list of ideas to set up systems for sharing food, tools, chores, time, cars, child care, and MUCH more.  For example:

Dinner Circles and Cooking Exchanges: A once-a-week frozen entrée or soup exchange is very easy to organize among committed neighbors or friends.  A record-keeping system equalizes the financial costs and benefits.

Carpools and Ride-Share: Solo commuting by car is costly and frustrating. Many communities have established carpool and ride-share networking systems to help people find others who drive a similar route.

5. Keep People in Their Homes:  Rent Parties and Eviction Vigils

Popular in other times of economic stress, a rent party is a fun way to say, hey, we’re all in this together. Those who can spare some cash leave what they can in the money jar for those who are having a difficult time making the rent.  Eviction vigils and blockages are another way of saying we have the power to stop banks and lawyers from putting our friends or neighbors out on the street.

6. Reduce, Reuse, Re-purpose, and Recycle

Why waste money on a new computer, textbook or blender, when there’s a good chance that someone has just posted a notice for a free or nearly-free one on Craig’s List or Freecycle?  Make a pact with a few circle members to acquire your next few purchases at a used store or though one of these online services.

7. Start a Bulk Buying Group

It’s cheaper to buy in bulk, but where do you store all that extra toilet paper?  Before your next run to the bulk store, take orders from friends or neighbors, collect the money, and buy everyone’s supplies at the same time. This way, you keep the cost savings and eliminate the storage problem.

8. Basement Cleans

Like the round-robin garden prep, get together with others to support the process of cleaning out your basement and/or attic, then help them do the same.  Freecycle what’s left after your co-cleaners sort through what you’re ready to say good-bye to.  Cleaning out old clutter makes way for new ideas, and sometimes you’ll find useful things you’ve forgotten about.

9. Throw a Block Party

Many people don’t even know the names of the people living next door. Get everyone together for a potluck or barbeque.

10. Hold a Community Forum

Forums are free and public venues for conversations on the great issues shaping your neighborhood and our planet.  Invite a speaker, a panel of speakers, or show a movie on a topic that’s important to you.  Visit https://forumorganizing.org for tips on how to hold a Forum in your community.

11. “Get Out of Debt” Pact

Meet with others to strategize about reducing or eliminating debt.  How can you rely less on credit cards and other borrowing?  Make a pact to take debt-reduction steps together.  Consider calling your credit card companies together to request a reduction in your rates or fees.  Mention the possibility that you’ll cut up your card and they may be quicker to lower your rate!

12. Move Your Money

People everywhere are moving their bank accounts from the big Wall Street banks to community-minded institutions.  Make a pact with one or two others to do the same.  Then, think even bigger:  where does your church have its bank account?  What about your city or state?  People in New Mexico convinced their state government to move all of its money to a local bank!  Visit https://moveyourmoneyproject.org/ for more information.

13. Budget Makeovers

A circle member volunteers to share information about their personal financial circumstances.  They prepare a budget that includes income, major expenses, and debts.  They pass out their confidential budget and the group brainstorms ideas to save money.  At the end of the session, the person collects the copies to protect their confidentiality.

14. Social Action Campaigns

See possibilities here.