Spotlight Turned on Dedham Civic Groups
More than two dozen groups came together to share experiences and drive engagement.
For the first time, 28 non-profit, Dedham-based groups came together Monday night at the Endicott Estate to connect and discuss how they can help each other.
Organized by the recently formed Dedham Shines, the evening brought together long-standing pillars like the Dedham Historical Society with newer organizations like the Dedham Public Art Project, formed just months ago.
"Our organization, that's our mission, to get community engaged," said Jennifer Barsamian, co-founder of Dedham Shines.
With several neighborhood-oriented groups like the Mother Brook Community Group, Oakdale Square Alliance and the Manor Neighborhood Association on hand, leaders of the organizations were looking for people to become more engaged with their communities.
"[Co-founder Monika Wilkinson] and I are really passionate to get people volunteering with something their passionate about," Barsamian said.
For volunteers, joining these civic groups gives residents a sense of belonging and they'll know their neighbors a bit better.
"It's a great thing to do to get involved in the community," Barsamian said.
Each group received time for a 60-second elevator pitch to the roughly 60 people sitting in the Estate's ballroom, and were able to mingle before and after to recruit new members and supporters into their organizations.
"It's hard for us individually to go out and get help, but if we can come together as a group and try to find a mass pool of people who are willing to get involved, then we can siphon them off," Barsamian said.
New ideas formed as leaders like Kristen Overman heard more about organizations she previously knew little about.
"The more we do things like this, the better," said Overman, president of the Dedham Library Innovation Team. "From DLIT's perspective, is we are always trying to get buy-in from other groups."
And that might turn into more cooperative events that benefit multiple civic groups and constituents, said Overman.
"The more ways people can interact and help each other, the more likely it is going to boost awareness for everyone," Overman said.
The one common thread throughout the pitches was the need for more engaged members to help organize events and participate in spreading the word.
"Our organization, that's our mission, to get community engaged," said Barsamian. "Dedham is a very civically active community. What's happened in the last few years is that we are getting stronger and people care."
Groups that attended include:
|James Joyce Ramble|