Tools & Resources

Apathy, Civic Engagement and Community Building: The PICO Network Response

Training & Strategy Reflections & Trainings

February 2, 2000 | Download Document

Michael Kromrey, Executive  Director, Metro Organizations for People, Denver, CO

The breakdown of the family in our society and the effect of this fundamental rending of
our social fabric have been widely documented. Equally important are the related changes
in community life that have been quietly eroding our quality of life and sense of well being.
Simply put, people are living increasingly in isolation from their neighbors in the towns
and cities of the United States. The effect of this isolation is a deepening sense of
powerlessness, distrust and hopelessness in the face of the mounting pressures on families
in our communities. The pressures on today's family range from stagnating and declining
wages and living standards for a majority of Americans; to the corresponding extra month
of work per year that the average employed American must work to maintain those
wages; to such problems as youth violence, lack of affordable housing, school dropouts
and crime.

The member congregations and their neighbors who make up the PICO Network feel we
have a critical contribution to make toward reversing these trends. We have developed a a
method for re-weaving the fabric of relationships in communities. This allows families and
individuals to build the social capital necessary to reverse social isolation and replace it
with communities that have the relationships, capacities and power to resolve the
fundamental issues facing families today.