A new program is leveraging core character strengths to connect communities and inspire change agents, one person, group, and organization at a time. Read on for more.
The Mayerson Academy began by celebrating strengths and inspiring people to reach their full potential, one person, group, or organization at a time. It accomplished this by providing professional learning opportunities for educators, organizations, and communities to help them be their best every day. Today, it’s expanded its base to entire communities with Strong Cincinnati.
“Strong Cincinnati is an initiative of Mayerson Academy looking to foster strong, connected communities through the activation of strengths within individuals, organizations, and neighborhoods,” explains Carly Rospert, adding that the project lead for the Strong Cincinnati initiative and senior project manager of Mayerson Academy. Since Strong Cincinnati was founded this year, it is starting with one neighborhood: Madisonville.
“The goal of Strong Cincinnati is foster strong connected communities through the activation of strengths within individuals, organizations, and neighborhoods. We see this looking like deeper relationships within and across communities within Cincinnati that empower neighbors to create positive impact using their strengths. Right now, we support five resident-led strengths projects, host community-wide character strength events, and other smaller community strengths activities. We are evaluating what will work and will carry on the most impactful strategies into other iterations of the initiative.”
Strong Cincinnati has many essential partners in Madisonville, such as the Madisonville Community Council, the Madisonville Urban Redevelopment Corporation, and the Madisonville Education and Assistance Center. The lead partner, which has been crucial to Strong Cincinnati’s success, is the John P. Parker School. “John P. Parker has been implementing the Thriving Learning Communities program and has gone above and beyond to use strengths to build deeper teacher and student relationships and transform school culture to one that focuses on strengths rather than deficits,” Rospert explains. “They have been key thought partners in helping us expand the strengths work beyond the school building and into the community.”
The foundation of Strong Cincinnati and Mayerson Academy are the VIA character strengths, which “create connections among people and provide the confidence for individuals to become change agents in their community,” Rospert says. Character strengths are the positive parts of one’s personality; there are 24 in all, but people generally have five “signature strengths” that they use regularly. Studies show that when people are aware of and using their strengths they are better able and more likely to achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. Neal Mayerson, the chairman of the Mayerson Academy and founder of Strong Cincinnati, wanted to make Cincinnati a hotbed of character strengths, which led him to develop Strong Cincinnati.
There are four ways to get involved with Strong Cincinnati: Attend an event, volunteer with projects, coach research teams, and partnership.
To learn more, visit http://www.strongcincinnati.org.