Big Community Conversations Happening in Stark County
#THINKBIGStark: Over A Thousand Voices to Start
Two years ago, the Strengthening Stark: A Call for Economic Transformation called for the creation of a plan to address current trends and transform Stark into a growing and more prosperous community. Endemic to Stark, response to the report was characterized by determination, courage, collaboration and innovation.
Today - Friday, October 25th - more than 170 conversations took place across Stark County with approximately 1,700 diverse individuals. Organized by Stark Community Foundation and Strengthening Stark, the inaugural THINKBIG event was designed to give residents from all walks of life a voice. "Our intentions with this event were to give everyone a chance to be heard and brainstorm together on how to strengthen our community," said Amy Weisbrod, Director of Donor Relations and Program Officer at Stark Community Foundation. THINKBIG was an opportunity to share real solutions to real problems in our area while at the same time celebrating the good in Stark County.
Small groups of 6-10 residents met in libraries, restaurants, office break rooms, coffee shops, homes and everywhere in between to share their experiences, insights and ideas on one of fourteen topics (see sidebar). One of the small groups focused on education was held at the Stark Education Partnership. All ideas, big or small, were welcome. Some centered on relationship building between students and teachers - "it's the only way for kids to learn" - as well as relationships between teachers and parents. Other suggestions included shifting away from state tests, free college testing and mentoring for new and experienced teachers.
Participants of THINKBIG completed a brief survey and their feedback and ideas will be analyzed by The Center for Community Solutions, a nonpartisan Northeast Ohio think tank focused on solutions to health, social and economic issues. Findings are expected to be released early 2020.
If you have any questions about THINKBIG, contact the Stark Community Foundation at 330-454-3426.