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Community Engagement: We Want To Turn You On!


Tara Thronson | Valley Vision • jesikah maria ross | Capital Public Radio

How can we turn you on…to action? If there’s a problem that needs to be solved, do you get involved? When you hear staggering statistics that seem like they belong more to a country ravaged by war than your own community, what do you do about it?  When your neighbors stop talking about important issues that affect your community, where do you turn?  

We must be willing to take action. To turn people on to action, we need to feel a connection to the issue, to each other and to our community. Dialogue and understanding are essential first steps to any long-term solution and one of the shared values of the Village Square and Capital Public Radio’s Community Engagement efforts. 

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Through the recent Hunger in the Farm-to-Fork Capital conversation series, Village Square and Capital Public Radio created a welcoming space and the opportunity for honest conversation about the tough topic of hunger. We discovered there is a strong desire for this type of community conversation (both events sold out). We also found that residents are eager to deepen their understanding about the causes and impacts of important topics like hunger, and to hear new perspectives and consider solutions that include mobilizing for action.

These were not your average community conversations; it was civic storytelling at its best. This was thoughtful content, open-mindedness, diverse viewpoints and powerful real life stories, many that were told by those experiencing hunger themselves and recorded at Capital Public Radio’s Hidden Hunger: Storybooth.

This is just what Village Square and Capital Public Radio’s Community Engagement efforts are uniquely positioned to do. 

We were thrilled to hear that attendees gained a sense of community in a whole new way. That people felt more informed, with a deeper personal understanding, and inspired by what transpired. What we saw was participants building relationships and getting turned on about true community problem solving—exactly what these community conversations are designed to do.  So is meaningful dialogue on topics of importance the new foreplay to action? Maybe so. And we hope you will join us next time!


jesikah maria ross is a documentary artist and the Community Engagement specialist at Capital Public Radio, the NPR affiliate serving the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada.  Seven frequencies, 420,000 listeners, and one mission: to build stronger communities by listening deeper. The community engagement efforts seek to ignite conversations, deepen understanding, and galvanize community involvement on topics impacting the community. Up next: Undocumented Immigration In California.

Tara Thronson is a Project Leader for the Village Square Sacramento, a project of Valley Vision that hosts a series of forums where our community can openly discuss today’s complex or politicized issues in a safe and civil environment. It’s not so much about solving big problems as it is about being comfortable having big conversations. Founded in 2006 in Tallahassee Florida, the Village Square has earned national acclaim and now has five locations across America, including Sacramento since 2014. Season two of the Village Square Sacramento launches Fall, 2015. 


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