...You only care about what I have to say.
You want to know whether the content of this book will improve your life and be useful to you. Hence, I have to persuade you that the content of this book will be useful to you and that it will be worth your money. Because that is obviously what I want you to do; buy this book and follow the advice it gives you.
You probably care deeply about various issues in society–homelessness, inequality, climate change–but need additional tools and skills to better understand and more strategically tackle them. You’re ready and willing to learn because you know that merely talking about how awful things are isn’t a very effective way of solving them.
You’re also tired of the malicious manner in which every societal issue is politicized and you hate the toxic bickering between both sides of the political spectrum. You’re desperate for a more level-headed perspective on these issues.
Chances are high that you’ve frequently fallen into the following trap: you read an amazing article or watch an inspiring video about an issue in society, become relentlessly inspired to make a difference… and then lose all that energy a week later, with few results to show for it. Because of these fears and challenges, this book will focus on community development, rather than global change.
Even though you hear people say that there are so many problems in society that you’re powerless to create change, that “the system” is rigged against us, and that it’s impossible to change this “system”, I can assure you that these are not valid excuses to give up and do nothing to help your community.
Community Heroes: What a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member taught me about community development is for a range of audiences. It’s for people that are about to become (or already are) nonprofit professionals, which specifically includes AmeriCorps VISTA members, but is certainly not limited to them.
It’s for those that care deeply about social impact, community development, and nonprofit work. Finally, it’s for those of you that don’t necessarily want to change the world but do want to learn how to change your communities.
This book will not provide legal advice on how to start a nonprofit. It will not teach you how to change the world overnight. Instead, it will give you the tools and information you need to make a positive difference in your community.
It will also give you an insight into the nonprofit world so that you can better engage those that are improving their communities. For current and aspiring AmeriCorps VISTA members, it will make you a better VISTA so that you can deliver greater impact to the communities you serve.
In Community Heroes, you’ll learn why it’s important to:
A) Suspend your dreams of changing the world and instead strive to be a hero in your own community;
B) Understand why working on Wall Street might be a more effective way of achieving social impact than working for a nonprofit;
C) Focus on and build from what your community already has, instead of what it doesn’t have;
D) Form partnerships with other nonprofits in the community, as this is the only way to achieve comprehensive social impact;
E) Understand why your efforts to make a positive impact in society might actually be for selfish, instead of selfless reasons;
F) Break the unfounded stereotypes you might have of the (working) poor–they’re lazy, they cheat the system–in order to serve them more effectively;
G) Understand the barriers to employment that disenfranchised people face and why they are such powerful impediments to progress;
H) And much, much more!
As the main character from the game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time once said:
“Sit down, and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard.”