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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00003356/00001
 Material Information
Title: Maximizing the Assets of a Diverse Community
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Guion, Lisa A.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Original publication date September 2005. Revised June 2010."
General Note: "FCS9225"
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00003356:00001


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Lisa A. Guion, Janet Harper Golden, and David C. Diehl2 question. Assets are defined as the strengths, skills, talents, and capabilities within a community that can be utilized to enhance that community's quality of life (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993). Needs vs. Assets (Beaulieu, 2002) Focus on deficienciesFocus on strengths Result in Build relationships among fragmentation of people, groups, and responses to local organizations. deficiencies Make people Identify ways that people consumers of can give of their talents services; builds In every community there are needs. A need is dependence on defined as a gap or difference between a current services situation and the ideal or desired situation. In Give residents little Empower people to be an Extension, the needs assessment tool is used to voice in deciding how integral part of the identify what the gaps are, how to prioritize those to address local solution to community gaps, and how to make decisions about which needs concerns problems and issues can be addressed through Extension education. Extension educators do an excellent job of One model that is used for community developing and implementing programs to address development is the asset model. The asset model key needs. When attempting to build programming in recognizes that even in the most disadvantaged a diverse community, the Extension professional neighborhood there are individuals and organizations should also look at the assets of the community in 1. This document is FCS9225, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date September 2005. Revised June 2010. Original written by Lisa A. Guion, former faculty member and Janet Harper Golden, former Extension agent, Pinellas County. Revised by David C. Diehl. Visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Lisa A. Guion, former faculty member, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Janet Harper Golden, former Extension Agent, Pinellas County; David C. Diehl, Assistant Professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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Maximizing The Assets of a Diverse Community 2 with both talents and abilities. Extension programming must identify and connect these abilities and skills. Oftentimes the assets of a community are just waiting to be tapped and maximized in an effort to make both the community and its members better-off. Examples of the differences between needs and assets are shown in Table 1. Asset mapping focuses on identifying, recording, and charting the skills, talents, interests, and resources already present in a community. Asset mapping helps build on the positive resources already established in the community and can be as simple as asking people questions verbally or as in depth as using surveys. We will explore three types of assets: individual, community organizations, and formal institutions. Individual asset assessment is based on the following premises (Beaulieu, 2002, p. 5): Everyone has talents, skills, and gifts relevant to community activities. Each time a person uses his/her talents, the community is stronger and the person is more empowered. Strong communities value and use the skills that members possess. Such an approach contributes to the development of the community. According to Beaulieu (2002), when identifying individual assets, you should explore several areas. First, ask people for a list of their knowledge and abilities. Have the individual list skills learned at home and in the community. Then work with the individual to identify which of those skills are the most valuable or needed in the community. Embrace these skills as the very foundation of community building. Second, look at community skills. You need to identify types of community activities that an individual has participated in, and then you need to find out what kind of community work the individual would be willing to do in the future. Third is the area of enterprising interests and experiences. Individuals are allowed to identify skills that could be used to launch small businesses and skills that may be used in a trade or vocation. In assessing individual assets, the Extension professional will reap benefits for developing programs that target audiences will enjoy and find valuable. The community members will benefit because they will be able to see the assets they possess and will understand how to use them. The community will benefit because the assets can be used to improve the community from within. When used with community associations, groups, and organizations, the asset assessment is based on the idea that every community has people who work together to pursue common goals. These groups may be formal or informal and usually function by carrying out three key roles: deciding to address an issue/problem of common interest; developing a plan (formal or informal) to address the issue; and carrying out the plan to resolve the problem. Community organizations are critical to the success of Extension programming because they involve, empower, and affect local citizens. As we look at formal institutions, the assets assessment process promotes the basic premise that every community has a variety of public, private, and not-for-profit formal institutions that carry out ongoing community functions so that the social needs of a community are met. There are five steps involved in assessing the assets of formal institutions:

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Maximizing The Assets of a Diverse Community 3 1. Recognize that the local institutions represent important assets to the community. 2. Do an inventory of the institutions existing in the community. 3. Identify the type of activities in which these institutions are involved. 4. Explore the type of links that can be built between these institutions as well as between local individuals and informal organizations. 5. Seek the assistance of local institutions as conduits to resources outside the target community. Some ways that formal institutions can help the community include purchasing locally, hiring locally, training local residents, developing human resources, sharing meeting space, initiating local investment strategies, mobilizing external resources, and sharing other resources. By understanding the assets of formal institutions, we can better understand how individuals and communities can come together to achieve a desired outcome. The Extension professional must develop programs that will build on the assets of a diverse community. Once you have identified the assets of the community, you must take another look at how these assets can work together. If we review assets, we may see new ways for people and groups to work together. On the other hand, we may learn why groups have not been able to work together in the past. While it is certainly important to assess the needs of a community, it is equallyif not more importantto tap into the assets of that community. By utilizing the identified assets of the community, as well as the individuals of that community and the community organizations, you will get the residents involved in building their community into a more cohesive group. The residents will feel that they have a stake in what is taking place. In other words, if you involve the community in programming, you empower the members by making them part of the solution. (For more information on asset mapping, please read Unit 4 of http://fycs-diversity.ifas.ufl.edu/.) Beaulieu, L. J. (2002). Mapping the assets of your community: A key component for building local capacity. Mississippi State, MS: Southern Rural Development Center. Guion, L. A., Goddard, H. W., Broadwater, G., Chattaraj, S., & Sullivan-Lytle, S. (2003). Gainesville, FL: Florida Cooperative Extension, University of Florida. Kretzmann, J. P., McKnight, J. L., and Puntenney, D. (1998). Chicago, IL: ACTA Publications. Kretzmann, J. P., & McKnight, J. L. (1993). Chicago, IL: Northwestern University for Urban Affairs and Policy Research.