By Mark Young
August 7, 2014
MANATEE -- The word "community" conjures different meanings. For some, it's merely a place. For others, it's a living, breathing, changing organism that takes a nurturing effort to help it grow and thrive.
The latter tends to be the goal for governmental and civic organizations and while the concept of creating a community where everyone is involved sounds simple, it's not easy to accomplish in a society where individualism trumps teamwork, according to Rich Harwood, founder and president of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovators, who will give a town hall presentation next week in Lakewood Ranch.
Harwood has worked with large national organizations to teach people how to interact with one another. His work includes in the community of Newtown, Conn., following the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary where 20 students and six teachers lost their lives.
Harwood said the goal of each community isn't as important as the means to accomplish it, and Americans have forgotten how to work together. Fixing public discourse, increasing shared responsibility and making community a common enterprise are the three keys in achieving the awareness needed to move a community forward.