You don't know what you don't know

Through Community Brokering we help individuals get involved in their communities. One of the benefits of this is that we can introduce people to new experiences. Quite often, we are able to connect people to new opportunities and organizations that they did not know were an option. I think many of us can relate to the idea that we don’t know what we don’t know. In other words, we tend to focus on opportunities and experiences that are familiar to us or familiar to our families. Through the process of Community Brokering, we are able to bring in other perspectives and ideas, which grows the awareness people have about available opportunities. When I first met an individual whom I will call Phillip and we mapped out what his ideal future would look like, he shared his interest in writing screenplays, playing video games and getting paid employment. As we explored the community together, looking for places for him to get involved, we started talking more about how to help him find educational opportunities where he could learn new skills and gain the experience that he needs to expand his employment possibilities. This led us to an organization called the Public Media Network. They provide workshops related to media production and they offer opportunities for their volunteers to develop and share their final creative products. Phillip has gone through the orientation class and now we are working to put the supports in place that he will need to participate in their workshops. In addition to the Public Media Network, Phillip and I are exploring classes at local community colleges. Phillip and his mother had looked into him taking some college classes before, but they ran into challenges when they tried to get the accommodations Phillip will need to be successful. Now, Phillip is once again pursuing his interest in college. We are learning what steps he needs to take to move forward. To be sure, there will be obstacles along the way and the path won’t be easy. But, with these new experiences, Phillip has the chance to try new things and meet new people. As his community circle expands, more doors are opened and new opportunities present themselves. I’m looking forward to seeing where Phillip is a year from now!