Welcome to the Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) website. We are glad you are here. We hope this website will give the institutions, leaders, and residents of Southwest Chicago the opportunity to connect with one another, tell their stories, and build power for change in the community.

Building Leaders

On Thursday, April 25, 2019, 37 people jammed into a conference room on the seventh floor of Holy Cross Hospital for the English version of SWOP’s Leadership Development Training.  A similar number were meeting in the auditorium of the hospital for the Spanish training.  This was the third and final session of SWOP’s April 2019 leadership training.  These leaders were Parent Mentors from local schools, young people active in SWOP’s jobs campaign, health professionals wanting to become more active in the community, parishioners from churches, and other people from one of SWOP’s 44 member institutions.

During the session, participants reviewed what they had learned in the first two sessions on the differences between public and private life and how to do a power analysis.  Then they spent most of the session on the heart of community organizing: one to one meetings.  Participants learned what is a one to one meeting (an intentional conversation) and what it is not (an interview).  Then three pairs of volunteers conducted one to one meetings in front of the group, one after another.  The facilitators coached them through the process and asked the group for feedback and learnings from the demonstrations.  The last activity of the training session was having everyone pairing up with someone they didn’t know for a 10 minute conversation to practice what they had just learned.

As the meeting wrapped up, these leaders were challenged to come to one of several upcoming SWOP meetings and actions to practice their new found skills.  For those interested in leadership development training, SWOP will do these sessions again in October of 2019.


Want to read more stories about SWOP’s work?  They are all here.