Change the Conversation, Change the World

About A Small Group

Our Mission

We are committed to the creation of a restorative and reconciled community. Our strategy is to discover ways to engage the disengaged through working with existing associations and through direct invitation. Our work focuses on direct efforts to bring into conversation those groups of people who are not in relationship with each other. By this we mean to offer powerful tools and strategies of civic possibility, civic accountability and civic commitment; thus increasing the power of associations to engage citizens in their efforts.

Dan's A Small Group Drawing

Our Theory

Our work is based on the work of Robert Putnam and John McKnight: That healthy democratic communities grow out of high civic engagement, with a high focus on the gifts and strengths of the communities and its citizens. Our work is to create conversations among diverse groups that have the power to shift our stance in the areas of concern to civic life. This shift of high civic engagement eventually shifts the paradigm:

  • Good government does not create civic engagement; rather, government is a reflection of the citizenry. For example, good elected officials and effective police are the result of a positive civil society.
  • Health equity for all is not just the domain of health professionals, but ultimately comes from citizens taking responsibility for their own health and the health of others.
  • Active citizens create a strong local economy.
  • Parents, communities and active institutions create educational equity and student achievement. We do not need more and better teachers.
  • The media does not create the public debate - they are a reflection of the conversation we have chosen to have. Our silence and passivity creates the space for the media to profit from the woundedness of community.
  • More money and better leadership do not give us the community we desire. Our leaders and professionals in health care, government, education and business are doing what they can to help. The next step forward will come from more engaged citizens.

It is the citizen’s connection to each other that needs to shift.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems. --Mahatma Gandhi