The History of Commún One on One’s
Commún was born in a Southwest Denver living room when residents came together to address the massive changes happening in our community. Commún reflects the knowledge that programs and services must be driven and directed by people who are most impacted by the issue. The majority of our team and staff live and work in the community and are directly impacted by our community’s most pressing issues. We are dismantling the historic system that requires an organization to ‘ask the community’– we are the community working together to build for ourselves.
As a team of residents, we’ve had over 600 1:1 conversations with other community members, listening to find themes of what people are struggling with, what strengths we have, and what we can collectively do about it. From this data, our programs are chosen and developed. During the pandemic, we worked together to provide food security in our neighborhoods. When we could gather again, the need for youth mental health developed into a multi-pronged program led by youth. Case navigation came next– the most requested service in our conversations– led by long-time residents with mental health backgrounds or informal experience connecting neighbors to existing resources. Our training program supports residents’ potential to achieve their own wellbeing through leadership, advocacy, and participation in programs that work toward health equity.
Commún employs community organizing as the vehicle for community liberation because it is the most effective tool for justice across human history. At Commún, Community organizers are paid and trained in organizing practices including focus groups, listening sessions, tabling, and 1:1s to understand our community’s needs and strengths, build power, design and lead programming, and work toward community leadership and systemic change.
A community organizer is someone who builds relationships within the community around a shared interest, experience, or issue, in order to affect change in their community.
Community organizing is at the heart of Commún, and guides all of our programming. Community residents who are directly impacted by the issues we are working to solve are in paid positions of power and decision making. Teams of 5-6 community members who are disproportionately impacted by the issues we are collectively working on utilize community organizing practices to engage other community members with similar experiences in the design, implementation, and continual evaluation of each program. Through this process, Commún has developed strong community-led programs to meet our community’s most pressing needs.
Our organizing teams are working on:
Our youth mental health team builds relationships with their peers through conversations, engagement activities, and tabling at community events to inform how we design our Youth Mental Health Program. The team is a group of teens ranging in age from 13-18 years, who are experts in their experiences of being a teen. The team meets with our mental health program staff frequently to collaborate on program design.
Our community builders team builds relationships within the community that surrounds the Loretto Heights Campus, where we will be opening a community center. The team is a group of people who reside within one mile of the Loretto Heights campus, representing the community who will be most directly impacted by the development and opening of this campus and center. Through community tours of the community center building, one on one conversations, and community engagement events, our team is working to foster a sense of belonging in and around our community center.
La promotoras climaticas are a group of Southwest Denver women directly impacted by the effects of climate change in our community. Our team is committed to understanding and responding to the climate resiliency needs of Southwest Denver. As a community that is disproportionately impacted by climate change, we work to educate and provide resources and avenues for our neighbors to reduce their contribution to climate change, advocate for healthier laws and funding to protect our community, and facilitate changes in our community to be resilient to the impacts we are experiencing.