And What Will You Do With This?
By Christina Helmick
Every time I’m asked to give my feedback, a little voice in my head says, “what will you do with my feedback? Will it be used to inform the next steps?” I feel like so many have these same thoughts after being asked for feedback. And the skepticism is understandable. If feedback is constantly asked for, but not used to inform the work, then why would people keep giving feedback? This question was at the forefront of our minds when we created the discussion-based breakout sessions at the 2016 Prosper Waco Summit.
On Sept. 19, more than 500 community members came together at the Waco Convention Center from 4-8PM for the 2016 Summit. During the event, participants heard a brief overview of the initiative’s history, along with some of the efforts currently being implemented in the Waco community and what community partners are involved in those efforts. Following the opening session, participants were strategically placed in three different rooms to ensure cross-sector representation of Education, Health and Financial Security were at each table.
During the breakout sessions we asked participants to talk amongst their table, and then the larger room, about solutions our community can implement to address the community’s goals. We worked hard to compile the feedback from the different breakout rooms. You can click here to read all of the feedback compiled from the breakout sessions, and if you view the pictures below, you can see the solutions that were identified more than once throughout the rooms.
It is important to remember that the above solutions weren’t the only solutions people identified! With more than 500 community members identifying solutions, there were some solutions that appeared across all three rooms, which we captured in the above diagrams.
So the burning question remains…what will be done with this feedback?
Post the Summit, all three Steering Committees met to debrief about the event. During the meetings, committee members reviewed a document that captured all of the feedback, along with a separate document that had solutions that were specific to Education, Health and Financial Security. Some of the solutions crossed one or more strand of the initiative, which furthers the notion that the three aims of the initiative are interconnected.
After having small table discussions, the floor opened up for discussion around what support will be needed from the community to implement some of the solutions identified. Steering Committee members identified bringing other partners to the table, funding and learning more about existing programs in the Waco community as different types of support that would be needed. The feedback captured at the Summit will also be used to inform the work of the working groups by connecting what the community has identified as a solution to the work that is being implemented within the initiative.
We will also utilize the community’s feedback to help inform the work of our Community Engagement Council. During the house meetings the council hosts, they ask for thoughts and perspectives about the solutions identified during the Summit. The Council will continue to ask community members about their personal ideas and solutions to reach the community’s goals by 2020.
We understand not everyone was able to come to the Summit and voice their thoughts, ideas and solutions, which is why we welcome (and strongly encourage!) you to send us your thoughts by contacting us via email [email protected] or calling 254-741-0081.
As always, this work is driven forward by the hard work of our community and there is always an open door for you to become involved and share your thoughts. If you’d like to become involved, email Jillian or call 254-741-0081.
Christina Helmick is the director of communication at Prosper Waco. She is a recent graduate of Baylor University with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations & New Media. Originally she is from Washington, D.C., but has stayed in Waco post-graduation. She is an active mentor at J.H. Hines Elementary School, enjoys spending time with her family and watching Baylor football. Sic ’em Bears!
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.