Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin: you'll never come out the way you go in.
Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a place with that kind of reputation? What about if you were to pick up the newspaper and read that your city was developing a gang problem, has a high concentration of violent crimes, tremendous deficiencies in education and was in the middle of a housing crisis? Would you be proud of your community? Would you be inspired to make a difference in it?
Breaking the Stereotypes
Is it possible that the same community could be described in another way? Could it also be said of Lynn that it has a higher percentage of high school graduates than the rest of the state? Could it be said that housing in Lynn is the least expensive on the North Shore? Could it be said that the central business district of the city is undergoing a vibrant revitalization? More importantly than any of these, could it be said that Lynn has a committed group of citizens determined to transform their community?
The answer to all these questions, is an emphatic YES!
Assets Overcome Deficiencies
Asset-based community development emphasizes the importance of seeing the strengths of a community. It is certainly important to recognize the needs of a community, but to focus solely on them can lead to hopelessness and passivity. Asset-based community development arises when the inherent strengths of a community are harnessed for the betterment of the community. It asserts that the solutions to a city's problems already exist within the capacities of those who live there. It is this philosophy that motivates Gordon in Lynn's mission and goals.