What We Do
“Go to the People, Live with them, Love them, Learn from them, Work with them, Start with what they have, Build on what they know, and, in the end, when the work is done, the people will rejoice and they will say, ‘We have done it ourselves.’”
– Lao Tzu – China 700 B.C.
BECOME values relationships, research and restoration and sees them as essential elements to transforming our society as we seek to evolve into a socially just world. We believe that trust and interdependent partnerships must be built to unite communities around a shared vision for social change. We believe that culturally responsive research and evaluation is a powerful tool that can ensure the social change needed happens and visions are realized. We encourage community members to tap into the power that exists within to realize the full potential of their community. Our role is to help them identify root causes, build capacity to create and implement effective solutions and facilitate cohesion to move toward their goals. When relationship, research and restoration are incorporated in one place, the impact can be great. See an example here.
Our services help to strengthen relationships across communities and within teams, blocks, congregations and more.
For organizations and communities, we can:
- Conduct team building
- Facilitate connections between organizations
- Create opportunities and safe spaces for deepening relationships
When you work with us, we:
- Not only care about the project at hand but about the people within your organization, block and community
- Walk together with you in achieving your program and community goals
- Listen deeply and respond carefully
- Adapt to your underlying needs
We are pioneers in culturally responsive research. Our science-based methods are rooted in community-driven practices.
Our research approaches include:
- Culturally responsive evaluation
- Action research
- Community-based participatory research
- All of which can include but are not limited to:
- Focus groups
- Developing survey tools
- Data presentations
We help to heal, restore, and also ignite a community’s potential to flourish holistically.
We walk hand in hand with you to ensure restoration occurs on an individual and systemic level, by:
- Focusing on communities’ strengths and acting as a mirror to their power and potential
- Building strong and constructive bonds within organizations and communities
- Facilitating a process of collective healing through tools like circle practice, where everyone’s voice is heard and respected
- Collaborating to create systems change
“The answer to hard-hitting problems that have come out of racism and injustice like violence, unjust incarceration, and the prevalence of preventable diseases, is right there in the community. We provide tools to unearth and apply these solutions with the people and organizations within communities for a socially just world.”
– Dr. Dominica McBride
Founder & CEO
Culturally Responsive Community Development is the brain child of Become and sits at the heart of our mission. It is a remarkable approach and the measure by which we align all of the services in our toolbox within a neighborhood or community. Utilizing this methodology, our goal is to increase residents’ participation in the life of the community, and connect and support organizations and leaders, to promote greater social well-being and cohesion. For a full description, see our approach to community transformation.
Our work is based in Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE). This evaluation model is a social justice tool for evaluations committed to cultural integrity, community empowerment, and sociopolitical change. Our process includes collectively learning what happens in a program and the effects of the program, coming up with a plan to improve those effects (amplify the impact), and carry out that plan together. In this process, our goals are to:
- Excavate Truth – Work in-depth to identify needs on three levels: the individual, programmatic, and within the larger community.
- Evoke Value – Gauge the success of a program to help organizations make informed decisions about their work; we assist organizations to pinpoint areas where they can shift their methods and document what’s working in ways they can share with supporters and partners to sustain or grow funding.
- Enhance Results – Amplify the impact so that successful programs have greater effect on more participants.
- Engage Community – Teach organizations and communities to evaluate themselves so they can continue to learn and improve. Community members’ involvement in evaluation infuses their voices, needs, and culture into programs.
Our trainings are designed to help all participating individuals, organizations, and communities grow, develop, and reach their potential. We offer trainings on:
- Interpersonal cultural competence
- Organizational cultural competence
- Organizational leadership
- Social and Emotional Intelligence
- Program Evaluation
- Team Effectiveness
Skilled facilitation creates an environment in which synergies happen, great ideas emerge, and groups move forward together. We pull from a toolbox of inclusive and engaging facilitation methodologies that engage each participant holistically. We facilitate group discussions on various levels:
- small scale, such as focus groups
- medium-sized groups, such as classroom discussions
- larger groups, such as community forums
Just as communities’ needs may be obvious on the surface or they may face more subtle, underlying problems, they also often have untapped assets that can be used to solve problems. We research both as a first step to effectively and sustainably solve root problems and create the reality the community wants and needs.
Our action research uncovers the answers to pressing questions with a process that partners with community residents and concerned stakeholders in critical thought and informed action. Together, we develop research questions relevant to their underlying needs or desired reality and move forward together in a process of data collection, analysis and developing conclusions. These conclusions lead to a path of innovation to address what is important to them.
Community-based Participatory Research is typically an aspired equal partnership between a university and a community, where the community also is an active player throughout the research project. However, much academic research has a sordid past with many disenfranchised communities. We can help to build a strong relationship between a well-intentioned and principled academic institution and a community, helping to ensure the process and outcomes are grounded in equity, inclusion and supportive of community empowerment.
Our strategic planning processes help organizations and community groups develop innovative yet community-rooted solutions for achieving their mission and more powerfully moving towards actualizing their vision. Our process is inclusive and helps to build capacity of those involved to engage in and implement the strategic plan.
We help design and implement processes and strategies for community engagement. Be it structural development or a necessary collective decision-making process, we have a toolbox of engagement, facilitation and meeting design tools to develop and support partnerships across stakeholder group and engage community members in exercising their voice towards an end that works for everyone. From small, intimate gatherings to large scale engagements, we can help to unearth concerns and develop new ideas that cross stakeholder groups. We can facilitate inclusive community forums, conduct deliberative dialogues, and administer in-depth interviews to capture varying perspectives.
Become helps organizations and community members create a shared vision for their community, plan to achieve that vision, and implement it.
Systems and cultures are complex. In our challenging nonprofit world, concerns can get missed, or issues arise that lead to an organization doing things that get in the way of accomplishing its mission. Become helps analyze and develop new infrastructure for organizations. In our organizational development work, we:
- Work toward leadership and personnel being more interdependent and supportive
- Craft policies and systems tailored to each organization’s specific needs
- Help organizations create a culture where staff feel motivated to come to work and supported in thriving in their careers and inspired in their personal lives.
Resources and Publications
- Comic Book: Community Engagement Initiative: “BECOME” Issue I; Volume I
- Position Paper: Culturally Responsive Practice
- Cultural Competence
- Culturally Responsive Evaluation
- HIV Prevention With Youth
- Commentary: Homicide-Suicide in Older Adults—Cultural and Contextual Perspectives
- Inciting Social Change through Evaluation
- Situational Awareness and Interpersonal Competence as Evaluator Competencies