Deb Wisniewski
Greetings! I'm a connector... I love to help people connect to each other, to share their ideas and to get involved in in their communities. I'm also a Faculty member of the ABCD Institute and a co-founder of ABCD in Action.

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Connecting people, ideas, communities

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Working in the Gap

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By: Deb Wisniewski
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People who are familiar with ABCD are familiar with the assets of community and the assets of institutions (government, nonprofits). "Working in the Gap" is a newer ABCD concept that has been evolving over the lastseveral years as individuals and organizations try to change how they do their work. The "Gap" is that space between the Institution andthe Community. "Gappers" are both the staff who do the actual work in communities, as well as the institutions who are working to put ABCD into practice through their organization.They have one foot in their institution and one foot in the community they serve.

We define gappers as those individuals that work in institutions who understand that to build stronger and healthier families they must engage the people they serve and their communities as the primary producers of their own and their communitys well-being. Gappers see their work as not just delivering services to meet the needs of the people they serve (filling in their emptiness). They see their role as working to create opportunity so that the people they serve can use their gifts. Gappers help people they serve move beyond the role of client to that that of a community participant, by asking not just "what do you need?", but also asking "what can you contribute? They work to identify and unlock the assets present in neighborhoods and communities where they work.

So are you a Gapper? Do you work directly to identify the gifts of those you serve and their neighborhoods and communities and remove barriers so that people can share their gifts?Does your organization or institution work to put ABCD principles into practice, changing the way your organization "does business"?

We are starting a series of conversationsabout Gappers and would like to hear from you. You can find the first conversation here. Please feel free to post your own questions in the Conversation Forum and/or to post comments below. We'd love to hear from you!