Building Community through Listening Circles
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
In an effort to strengthen community bonds and amplify diverse voices, Bellevue LifeSpring is proud to announce the launch of our newly developed Listening Circles. Designed by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, our new Listening Circles are created to be a safe space for open dialogue where families can share experiences and perspectives on our programs and services.
Bellevue LifeSpring has long been committed to addressing the needs of Bellevue’s most vulnerable children and families. Through our Listening Circles, we are taking a step forward with a goal to build more authentic relationships with the Bellevue families who have been the least likely to receive our services.
Last month, we partnered with the local organization, Africans on the Eastside (AOE), to host our first Listening Circle. AOE is an “ad-hoc group comprised of parents, youth scholars, community members, and grassroots organizations who have come together to actively address the impacts of institutional racism and racial inequity, particularly on the east side. Africans on the Eastside serves families and students who may need help in school or help in understanding how the school system works.”
With the help of AOE, we hosted eight local African immigrant families, delving into the unique needs of their community within the broader Bellevue community we share. Their valuable feedback helps to provide the information and learning necessary to prioritize and incorporate family input into our organizational decision-making.
Listening Circles are so effective because they provide a platform for diverse voices to be heard, facilitate deeper understanding, and foster a sense of community engagement. Listening Circles will not only help Bellevue LifeSpring build trust within our community, but they will also help us better understand how we can grow and adapt to meet the needs of everyone in the wonderfully diverse city of Bellevue.
If you are a local organization or group interested in partnering for a Bellevue LifeSpring Listening Circle, please contact our Programs Director, Neal Mizushima, at Neal@BellevueLifeSpring.org.