Portland In-Person Training Workshop Offerings

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This year's series theme is "Building Resilient Communities", through Spirit in Action's Theory of Transformation to collectively transform the world by working with communities to Reimagine culture, Resist domination, Reform institutions and Recreate society.

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RESIST - Working On the Current System

Workshop One (2:50PM – 3:35PM): Local Resistance Campaigns 

What will participants learn?

During this workshop, participants will explore three “resistance” campaigns: Maine Food Sovereignty Movement; La Via Campesina; and Coalition of Immokalee Workers/Fair Food Program. We will discuss, among other related topics, the importance of each campaign's origins and leadership within affected communities; role of visual media, popular education, and messaging; effective grassroots organizing strategies; and preparing for push-back and eventual confrontation. We will also have Lastly, we will explore why the U.S. does not have an organized farmer/peasant movement as exist in many other countries, and ways we can change that. 


During this workshop, participants will: 

  • Learn how to find the common “No”
  • Hear examples of successful community-led resistance campaigns 
  • Explore the benefits and pitfalls of unlikely alliances


Workshop Two (3:40PM – 4:25PM): How to Effectively Market Your Campaign or Program

In this workshop you will learn how to tell the most compelling and concise version of your campaign story to different audiences. Make your campaign irresistible to the media and reach a larger group of allies and decision-makers with tricks and techniques from business school and the front lines of the local environmental fight in New England.

Workshop Three (4:30PM – 5:15PM): Community Leadership in Action—Transportation for All

This workshop will share the story of a group of bus riders, bus drivers and people of faith who became change-makers and are winning unprecedented investments in Greater Bangor’s public transit system. This was possible because of an organizing approach which puts affected community members in the lead through listening campaigns, participatory research and leadership development. Participants will have an opportunity to think about how a similar organizing approach could be applied in their community.

RECREATE - Generating New Systems

Workshop One (2:50PM – 3:35PM): How To Be An Effective Advocate - Using Research To Make The Case  

Participants will be encouraged to tell their own stories, interpret these experiences into a larger context of history, community and research and use this knowledge to identify appropriate steps toward action! Participants will engage in interactive discussions and will learn about how to connect with local media, legislators and other key decision makers and use research and data to make the case. This workshop offers professionals across the field opportunities to expand their roles as leaders and advocates.

Workshop Two (3:40PM – 4:25PM): Fundraising for Your Project

Workshop Description:
Are you a nonprofit or volunteer group who is interested in taking a more holistic approach to your community-based work? Or someone who is interested in receiving financial support for your community event, tool, or program? Join Grassroots Fund Program Director, Nakia Navarro, to learn about our Guiding Principles for strong community organizing that increase your impact and revenue. During this workshop, Nakia will also share available opportunities for support from the Grassroots Fund, from grants to stipends to sponsorship.

Participants will learn:
• What the Grassroots Fund defines as fundable community projects
• What makes a strong, fundable community project
• How to receive a grant from the Grassroots Fund and other foundations

Workshop Three (4:30PM – 5:15PM): Cultivating Community: Youth Programs and Volunteer Management 

Workshop Description:

During this workshop, participants learn about the Maine-based nonprofit, Cultivating Communities, and the Youth Programs offered. Youth will present on the projects that they started and led, and share their strategies for recruiting young people to participate in their programs.

REIMAGINE - Conceptualizing New Systems

Workshop One (2:50PM – 3:35PM): Starting and Supporting Projects led by Young People

The purpose of this workshop is to build a bridge across generations by discussing how to engage Gen Z in using their own muscle (both entrepreneurial and actual) to help causes that shape their communities and world. 

This workshop will: 

  • Explore how Generation Z differs from all other Generations, both in how they relate to the world, and how they expect the world (both nonprofits and businesses) to relate to them. Long/short: Gen Next doesn't want to be a cog in the wheel - they want ownership and their own creative, entrpreneurial voice. 
  • Using PPT and interactive discussion between presenters and audience, outline the key steps and takeaways in helping youth connect to causes on their own turf and terms: kids need to recognize empathy; identify need; identify community; build their own potential solution and vision; build team; execute outreach; train team to execute outreach; execute event; execute wrap up; stay in the game by becoming a peer coach. 
  • Outline key essentials Positive Tracks has identified for successful youth engagement: hands on help and expertise, volunteer peer coaches, event insurance, equipment, swag, matching dollars if fundraising is a goal, a digital platform, marketing and team-building tools, and customized guidance to empower kids to be compassionate, impactful, healthy communitarians.  
  • Detail how nonprofits can use Positive Tracks programs, tools and platforms as a youth engagement partner to help raise dollars and awareness


Workshop Two (3:40PM – 4:25PM): Empathic Inquiry: A Social Technology for Understanding Complex Systems

Workshop Description:

To create change in complex systems, we must understand those systems. However, true understanding requires the ability to perceive what’s actually happening underneath the stories: what are the relationship dynamics between the parts in the system. Fortunately, we are wired to perceive relationships: we call this capacity empathy. In this workshop, participants will discover how their capacity for empathy can reveal hidden, misunderstood or misrepresented dynamics in simple and complex systems.

What will participants learn from this workshop?
•    How empathy is used to reveal relationship dynamics in complex systems (Empathic Inquiry).
•    How to set up an Empathic Inquiry.
•    Two approaches for Empathic Inquiry: Using Objects, Working with Representatives.

Workshop Three (4:30PM – 5:15PM): Promoting Community Health

During this workshop, participants will learn current trends in healthcare to promote “population health” and how to address social determinants of health, which are environmental in nature. Participants will walk away with tools to collaborate with hospitals and the healthcare sector to promote community health. 

REFORM - Working Within the Current System

WORKSHOP FULL: Beyond Diversity to Inclusion Training 

This workshop is full. 

Participants who join this track are requested to stay in this training all day. 

This daylong, intensive workshop focuses on how individuals and organizations can move from representation (diversity) to inclusion (active participation guided by values and principles). 

Content includes:

  • Understanding the role of implicit bias and its impact on leadership, relationships, decision-making
  • Tools and skills needed to build a culture of inclusive leadership 
  • Intentionality – orientation to a culture (guided by values and principles) that is self-perpetrating through organizational process and systems (such as employee manuals, trainings, supervision, decision-making, budgeting