Authentic Community Engagement: Made in Milwaukee

Community engagement, or “the intentional process of co-creating solutions in partnership with people who know best, through their own experiences,”[1] requires the creation of authentic, collaborative relationships between context and content experts. Complex social problems such as gun violence, children’s mental health, and living through a global pandemic require solutions that are developed in collaboration with the children, families and communities that are most impacted by them. Through meaningful collaboration between service providers, government agencies and our community members with lived experience, we build reciprocal empowerment and education that may lead to co-creation of solutions that will more directly benefit the community and be sustained over time. The greatest challenges to authentic community engagement stem from forced or indifferent collaboration that often results in fraudulent inclusivity and tokenism. In a time of uncertainty and COVID-19, it becomes even more critical that we turn to the people that have lived through these challenges to learn how we might overcome them as a broader community.

The Institute for Child and Family Well-Being was proud to host the webinar “Authentic Community Engagement: Made in Milwaukee” with Leah Jepson and Blake Tierney, Project Director and Manager of the Milwaukee Coalition for Children’s Mental Health, and Reggie Moore, Director of the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention.

In this webinar, Luke Waldo discussed the following with Leah, Reggie and Blake:

  • Why community engagement is critical to social change;
  • How it impacts social change;
  • The challenges and benefits associated with collaboration;
  • All within the context of the Milwaukee Coalition for Children’s Mental Health and the Office for Violence Prevention’s Blueprint for Peace and 414Life.

View the recorded webinar here.


Related Resources

From the ICFW:

From Leah Jepson and Blake Tierney:

From Reggie Moore:

From Andrea Turtenwald of the Office for Children’s Mental Health:


[1] Attygalle, L. (2017).  The context experts. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/kathe/Downloads/The%20Context%20Experts_LisaAttygalle.pdf
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