Creating  the  Change  We  Want


How to Create Positive Change in Our Community

CDF is proud to launch the most recent video that demonstrates the passion, energy and effort of residents who get together to bring about positive change in their neighbourhoods and actively participate in decision-making that affects their lives.

CDF extends a warm thank you to Youth Active Media for creating a video that captures the essence of what Creating the Change We Want is all about.

Creating the Change We Want Team (2017)


Creating the Change We Want Guidebook and How To Use It

The Creating the Change We Want (CCWW) guide (see below for links for electronic and downloadable copies) helps neighbourhood residents build skills and confidence to work on making positive changes together. The guide contains workshops and exercises that get neighbours talking and working together on issues where they live. The kinds of skills that the guide can help develop include engaging other residents, building positive relationships among neighbours, running effective meetings, learning about advocacy and more. Creating the Change We Want sessions are led together by neighbourhood leaders and community developers in Ottawa priority neighbourhoods.


This program is made possible by the United Way of Ottawa.


Recognizing that all neighbourhoods are different, we invite you to download the guide, and freely take and adapt materials according to your needs. Printed copies of this guide are available upon request. Individual workshops, exercises and evaluation forms in Word are available below so that you can easily combine different exercises or activities or create new materials.

Electronic copy
Printable copy

CCWW Photo Gallery


Workshops at a Glance

  • Understand key issues in our neighbourhood
  • Recognize the strengths our neighbourhood has to address those issues
  • A group wants to understand the issues and strengths in their neighbourhood and begins thinking about planning to address the issues
  • Explore ways to get people involved in neighbourhood activities
  • Share ways to build upon peoples’ skills in our neighbourhood
  • A group wants to involve more people in their neighbourhood to address issues and concerns
  • A group wants to understand how to keep people engaged and inspired to contribute to neighbourhood health and well-being
  • This workshop may be the first workshop to complete in the series of 8 workshops
  • Discuss how our neighbours like to receive information
  • Attract different people to come out to neighbourhood activities or events, or to help with volunteering or planning
  • Once the neighbourhood has a specific project, activity or event they want to get the word out about. This can be part of an existing action plan or a new community initiative that a group wants to promote
  • Can complement and enhance the “Engaging Residents in our Neighbourhood” workshop by focusing on who we want to reach and how to reach them
  • Increase comfort level with conflict
  • Develop tools and skills to reduce conflict and promotepositive relationships in our neighbourhood
  • A group wants to become better conflict resolvers in a neighbourhood
  • Understand how to take care of oneself while working for change in your neighbourhood
  • Support each other to develop a self care plan
  • A group wants to learn ways to take care of oneself and each other while working for neighbourhood change
  • When a few residents are taking on most of the neighbourhood change work, and need self-care
  • Individuals and groups want to set boundaries to maintain the energy
  • Explore our collective power
  • Build confidence to raise our issues effectively
  • When residents want to address an issue but are unsure how
  • When individuals don’t realize the potential of collective power
  • Explore how to make meetings enjoyable, effective, and inclusive
  • Strengthen our skills in chairing and organizing meetings
  • Leaders and emerging leaders who need support to hold meetings that will lead to positive change
  • Understand various decision making approaches and tools
  • Explore a group’s common purpose
  • An existing group wants to find out their purpose
  • When a group wants information on decision making tools and approaches
  • Develop a plan to address an issue of concern in our neighbourhood
  • Strengthen our skills for developing an Action Plan
  • A group of residents dedicated to working on a specific issue on which they can have an impact
  • A group that wants to develop a consensus on a work plan for a funding proposal
  • A committee can form to take the ideas from this workshop to put into an action plan and report back to the group
  • A group of residents gathers once in a while and tries to identify their issues

Exercises by Theme

This chart includes all the exercises in this guide. Some of them are activities within workshops that you may choose to use alone or combine with other exercises to create your own workshop.

INVOLVING RESIDENTS The Web (WORD) (page 45) Help to see how we are connected 10 Min
Telling Our Stories (WORD) (page 46) Understand why and how people get involved in our community 20 Min
Levels of Involvement (WORD) (page 46) Reflect on our own involvement to identify barriers and opportunities 10 Min
Visualizing Neighbourhood Involvement (WORD)  (page 47) Explore ways of involving people in our neighbourhoods 30 Min
VALUING INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY Community Bundle (WORD) (page 20) Recognize and value the wealth of diverse experience 35 Min
Diversity Wheel (WORD) (page 23) Involve people from a diversity of backgrounds 30 Min
UNDERSTANDING POWER AND CONTEXT Weather Map (WORD) (Page 28) Explore what helps and hinders neighbourhood change 35 Min
Living Sculpture (WORD) (Page 26) See how people create change 35 Min
Being a Leader (WORD) (Page 18) Reflect on the kind of leadership that encourages others 25 Min
Experiencing Our Power (WORD)  (page 75) Recognize our capacity to create positive change 25 Min
Neighbourhood Change Story (WORD) (page 77) Learn from an experience of neighbourhood change 30 Min
Quote Sharing (WORD)(page 75) Create a safe space for exploring the meaning of community advocacy 15 Min
WORKING TOGETHER/ RUNNING EFFECTIVE MEETINGS Silent Film (WORD)(page 102) Prevent and address problems that arise at meetings 25 Min
The Spider (WORD) (page 99) Identify how people can best work together to achieve our goals 10 Min
The Feather (WORD) (page 115) Reach consensus 10 Min
Dotmocracy (WORD) (page 116) Prioritize tasks 10 Min
The Puzzle (WORD) (Page 22) Analyze the basic elements of collective work 30 Min
COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY Communication Levels (WORD)  (page 54) Highlight importance of communication. Consider cutural and gender differences 20 Min
Listeting with Eyes, Ears and Heart (WORD)  (page 55) Practise listening with eyes, ears, and heart 20 Min
Open Ended Questions (WORD)  (page 55) Learn how to ask open ended question(s) to foster curiosity as a component of reducing conflict 10 Min
The Telephone (WORD) (page 113) Emphasize the importance of effective communication Understand how miscommunication happens easily 20 Min
Communication Styles Role Play (WORD)(page 76) Have fun reflecting on our own communication styles, and consider which can be most effective in bringing our issues forward 15 Min
CARING FOR OURSELVES Relaxation (WORD) (page 63) Help everyone relax 10 Min
Medicine Wheel (WORD)(page 64) Understand benefits of self care within the medicine wheel teachings 20 Min
Boundaries Teach-in (WORD) (page 66) Understand the role boundaries play in self care 15 Min
PLANNING ACTION Who’s on the Bus (WORD)(page 125) Identify who people can work with to move forward 20 Min
Timeline (WORD) (page 123) Identify activities that will help people to move toward our goals 20 Min