What We Do
We bring commnity members together in informal ways to strengthen social networks, connect people who don’t normally gather in the same venues, and spark discussions that could lead to more formal and sustained conversations. Community Builders include the Community Connection Series, Community Impact Awards, and the Pittsfield Listens Annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration.
Pittsfield Listens stands for roundtables, not podiums. The work of Pittsfield Listens is based on the belief that a community thrives when all voices have the opportunity to participate. In order to strengthen their effectiveness as participants in governance, community members need easy access to information and decision makers. As part, Pittsfield Listens hosts Roundtables, Not Podiums Meetings, Meet the Candidates Night, and facilitator training and development.
When the community is stuck on a particular issue, highly divided on a topic, or wants to create long-range visions of a preferred future, we support community conversations using a small- group facilitated process of engagement and also support working groups. Topics for community dialogues have ranged. Examples include the Pittsfield Listens 2011 Study Circles. Pittsfield Listens working groups include Pittsfield Youth Voice and also Family and Community Engagement (FACE).
For upcoming meetings and events, see more on our events page here.
Solving public problems is no easy task, since members of the same community sometimes have very different solutions to shared problems. The process we use for community dialogues offers a way for everyone's unique perspective and experience to contribute to decisions and changes that affect the Pittsfield community. Dialogues are based on the NH Listens deliberative dialogue process.
Pittsfield Listens facilitators help for all voices to be heard. They serve in facilitating small group discussions as part of community wide dialogues. Pittsfield Listens facilitators are trained with NH Listens, and build experience by participating in dialogues, serving as a recorder and co-facilitating a group. Anyone is welcome to become trained as a NH Listens facilitator. Stay tuned on the NH Listens website for upcoming training opportunities for facilitators.
Pittsfield Youth Voice
Pittsfield Youth Voice is a youth driven group that focuses on building youth voice and leadership in Pittsfield. The work is based on a belief that we can each participate in our communities to bring about positive social change. Pittsfield youth in grades 9th- 12th are welcome to join. Meetings incorporate participatory, experiential activities. Snacks provided, fun guaranteed. Molly & Zach are the adult allies to support the student facilitators.
Meet the Candidates Night
Each March, The Greater Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce and Pittsfield Listens partner to host Meet the Candidates Night. This opportunity continues to provide a context in which Pittsfield residents can identify and discuss their priorities for Pittsfield in the near future; gather input from everyday citizens and give candidates an opportunity to listen to voters; and create an opportunity for voters to talk in small groups with candidates in order to ask questions and explore a candidate’s commitments and priorities in the coming few years if elected.
Candidates are asked to join other citizens at roundtables to participate in a facilitated group dialogue where everyone shared their ideas on the question: What are the critical issues you think are a priority for our next elected leaders? See the priorities shared from participants below.
Community Impact Awards
The Pittsfield Community Impact Awards is an annual event hosted by Pittsfield Listens. These awards recognize individuals, groups and organizations who have made positive impacts in Pittsfield. Anyone can make a nomination in the 15 categories, which include youth group, community organization, Pittsfield Teacher or Staff Member, individual student and individual adult. Read about Awards Night and the awardees in the blog posts from 2014 and 2013.
How can all of us make Pittsfield a great place for everyone to live, learn, work and play?