Let’s Engage: Why Community Engagement Matters

trunk or treat

Why we always encourage residents to get involved

By Sonja A. Brown, Mayor Pro Tem – Glenn Heights, TX

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “community engagement” many times. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the term from us, your City Council. Here are a few reasons we use the term so much and why we always encourage residents to get involved.

Trust – Trust is vital. We want you to trust our vision in planning for the future. The best way for us to plan for the future is to know the community’s wants and needs. We learn your wants and needs through community engagement. The more we’re engaged, the more trust is earned.

Over the last decade, research has shown an increasing gap between well-informed and poorly-informed communities. Additionally, peer-to-peer influence has become more powerful than top-down information sharing. For this reason, it is even more important to dispel myths and counter misinformation by getting accurate information into the hands of community members.

The more accurately informed and involved our community is, the more likely mutual trust will be gained. Involvement and engagement will build stronger trust with our community.

Better Decision Making – Your engagement helps us. The more the community gets involved, the more we know and we can make the best decisions for the city. The community knows things we don’t. You’ll have ideas, issues, and concerns that we may be unaware of. You hold the key that unlocks so much. You provide another level of understanding for us as we make crucial decisions.

Issues and concerns can be vast. When we come to the table to discuss the issues that affect us all, we can prevent misunderstandings from derailing a plan or process.

Community Satisfaction – You’ll be more satisfied if we engage regularly. You’ll get an opportunity to learn about the city and get answers to questions you may have. You’ll be able to make suggestions and bring to light issues we may be unaware of. Engagement is a win/win for all involved. By shear nature of engagement, we’ll learn from you and you’ll learn from us. With that comes satisfaction.

Community Acceptance – We’ll never have a consensus throughout the city. We won’t always agree on a plan of action for an issue or concern. Sometimes we’ll be forced to make a decision that some community members will like and others won’t. If our decisions are based on healthy community engagement, those who disagreed with the final decision are more likely to understand and accept it.

Ultimately, we are charged with making decisions that are in the best interest of our city. We’d love to make everyone happy in the process. If we can’t please everyone, community engagement will reveal why certain decisions are made. It will also allow us to show the community that all points of view, needs and wants were considered in our decision making.

Please join me this Halloween, October 31, for a Trunk or Treat event at Heritage Park.

There are two ways to get involved. You can grab a few bags of candy and volunteer to distribute it from the trunk of your car or you can bring your children to get sweets and treats. We’ll get started at 7pm sharp. If you’d like to distribute candy, please email me at sonja.brown@glennheightstx.gov.

Continue to follow my column for ways you can get involved and become more engaged.