My favorite thing about working in community outreach is is being out in each unique
community and making a difference. Community outreach is conducted in each community based on their particular need and culture, therefore making each community experience unique. In my line of work I have to adapt to the community’s needs. Each neighborhood is different and factors such as history, demographics, community economic worth, and other unique factor makes a different experience each time.
A community outreach coordinator must build trust in a community and between organizations. This is the key in getting a community organized and moving. When I visit a community for the first time, I sometimes hear that somebody else just like me came in years ago and did not follow through on what they promised. Who can blame community members when they mistrust strangers that claim to be there to help them? This is a legitimate concern based on a conclusion they have come to.
One thing I do as a community outreach coordinator in order to gain a community’s trust is to get to know trenches, local community leaders, and residents. This can include organizing or volunteering at activities such as community clean ups, reading at the local school, volunteer at community/food fairs, and show a willingness to get down and dirty to help neighborhoods.
With threats of immigration enforcement increasing anxiety, deep involvement in a community is needed to overcome individuals being reclusive and scared of strangers. This is essential to success in organizing. A proven track record and sweat equality will really open your doors into a community.
Being a community outreach coordinator is a lot of work with long hours, but it is very rewarding. Seeing a transformation for the good in a community is a great feeling. Sometimes you can only plant the seeds of change and wait. But when change comes, knowing you were part of a movement that made change possible makes it all worthwhile.