grand rapids, seeds of promise, dialogue, integration, action, deliberation, crime, community, liberal studies


Liberal Studies


As a team of Liberal Studies students at Grand Valley State University, we co-designed and facilitated a community dialogue in the fall of 2015 located at Seeds of Promise in the Madison Square neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Residents from the surrounding neighborhood were invited to come for dinner and dialogue so they could share their concerns, prioritize their values, and begin to identify a broad range of interventions on issues of concern to them. The dialogue focused on concerns surrounding crime and safety. It was collaboratively designed to build upon community identified issues through surveys and discussions with host neighbors Joanna Brown and Paula Collier. As a team, our goals for this dialogue were to

  • Empathetically listen to neighborhood residents,
  • ensure all participants’ voices were heard,
  • integrate and analyze our findings, and
  • report the findings back to interested community members so that they can use this information to further their work in the neighborhood.