“Changing the way people talk can change the way they relate to each other and their problems – and that can eventually change the community.”

– David Mathews

Our purpose is to foster infrastructure, habits, and capacities for more effective civic engagement and innovative decision making.

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Posts Tagged ‘Public Deliberation’

Minding Our Future Forums – Lee and Walker Counties

Last week, DMC staff traveled to Lee County and Walker County to moderate forums on Minding Our Future: Investing in Healthy Infants and Toddlers. Using a unique issue guide, participants at each forum deliberated through three possible approaches for their respective communities to invest in their youngest members. They identified assets and challenges, discovered common ground, and concluded with some action ideas. In Lee County, thirty-five community members met at the Opelika Cultural Arts Center. Among the assets they identified in their community are existing prenatal services from various organizations, a volunteer base, and two programs with a focus on the importance…


Reflections on Public Deliberation in Public Health

Since arriving at the David Mathews Center in January of 2015, I’ve come to believe that all Alabama communities are truly “rich in capacity”[1] for effective decision-making and action on public issues. I first pursued an internship with DMC to learn more about the uses of deliberative strategies in community-based health practice. My sense was, and continues to be, that public health workers benefit from active and reciprocal engagement with the communities we seek to serve. Because DMC is a non-partisan organization that exercises neutrality on public issues, I knew my work here would require me to actively listen to…


Winston County Minding Our Future Forum

On Tuesday, December 15, DMC staff traveled to Double Springs, Alabama to moderate a Minding Our Future forum. Convened by Melanie Allen and Mike Henshaw of Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), the forum was attended by several teachers and foster parents. Using the Mathews Center’s issue guide on Minding Our Future: Investing in Healthy Infants and Toddlers, participants deliberated through three different approaches, identifying assets and challenges, and common ground, concluding with two action ideas. During deliberation, several common themes emerged similar to those heard in other Minding Our Future forums across Alabama. Double Springs possesses significant local assets (for example, a well-reputed…


Students’ Institute 2015 – 2016 December Field Trip

On Dec. 4, over 60 4th-12th grade youth participated in the second Students’ Institute field trip of 2015. Students’ Institute is a joint effort of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life and the University of Montevallo Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement (OSLACE). During the first SI field trip in October, students broke off into squads of 8 – 10 elementary, middle and high school students, participated in civic skill building activities, mapped assets and challenges in the Montevallo community, and identified a community-based project for their squad to work on throughout the year. The second field trip of…


Lamar County Minding Our Future Forum

On November 19th, the Mathews Center traveled to Vernon, Alabama in Lamar County for a Minding Our Future: Investing in Healthy Infants and Toddlers forum convened by Melanie Allen and Mac Washington of Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Using the Mathews Center’s Minding Our Future issue guide, participants talked through multiple approaches to improving the health and well being of infants and toddlers in their community. Many participants expressed support for mandatory Family and Consumer Sciences courses in high school, especially those providing skill building in home economics and parenting. The group also identified challenges faced by Lamar County parents and…


Special Forum Series with the Gulf States HPC in Mobile County

The Mathews Center will moderate a special forum series convened by the Gulf States Health Policy Center in Mobile County on November 30th-December 3rd. The series will explore three themes: Health Matters, Money Matters, and Education Matters. Forums will be held at the Mobile Red Cross, the Prichard Housing Authority, and the Bayou Clinic. Members of the Mobile County community are invited to attend. For more details, check out the flyers for each forum.