How We Work
United Valley Interfaith Project is about
building relationships across and within the diverse and distinct
communities that make up our region.
Building relationships has been the hallmark
of our group: from the first discussions about community organizing
to the development of our core teams to our first public action
and to our first Support Book campaign. We build relationships
with each other and with organizations, businesses, faith communities
and other groups to both understand the challenges of the region
and to develop common cause on certain issues. UVIP Leaders have
developed and strengthened relationships with many local and regional
organizations, as well as statewide advocacy groups in both New
Hampshire and Vermont. Our closest organizational relationship
is with the Granite State Organizing Project in Manchester, NH.
Similar in structure and purpose, our two groups have developed
ways to work on issues specific to the state of New Hampshire and
to build more power and have a substantive impact on the issues
we work on.
This continuous process is what the United
Valley Interfaith Project is all about. We seek to build thoughtful,
sustaining relationships at all levels, from the personal to the
organizational; within and among our congregations; between strangers
and friends; and from the soup kitchens to the halls of power.
By sharing our stories we get to know one another, develop trust,
and better understand the challenges we face together. Community
organizing is about developing collective power and acting for
justice. Relationships are the source of our strength, unity, and
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Anyone can be a leader—in different ways and at different
— and this is why we refer to ourselves as UVIP Leaders.
An important aspect of UVIP’s work is to
develop the leadership skills of all our volunteer members. We
are a community organizing group dedicated to democratic decision-making
and individual and community empowerment. It is essential that
we develop the unique gifts each of us has and to participate in
training opportunities that allow us to learn, grow and lead. As
an organization made up of member groups, our leadership skills
are brought back to our own groups, into our workplaces, families
and communities. A good deal of the time and energy our volunteer
leaders commit to UVIP focuses on developing our leadership skills.
This is essential for the democratic health of our organization
to provide us the skills, confidence and power to organize for
UVIP Leaders have participated in various
trainings in our issue team and Executive Council meetings, ranging
from how to run an effective meeting, plan an agenda and facilitate
active participation; to researching complex issues, carrying out
public actions and engaging elected officials and decision makers.
UVIP Leaders participate in the annual InterValley Project’s Leadership
Institute that includes extensive training in the fundamentals
of faith-based community organizing, building relationships, the
organizing cycle, moving from problems to issues to action, and
how to build and understand power. The work of UVIP is directed
and carried out by volunteer members. Through our commitment, hard
work and training, we volunteer members become Leaders in UVIP,
in our member groups, and in our communities.
Opportunities for UVIP Leaders to develop
Participating in forums on community
organizing and building participation in our member groups.
Organizing and conducting Listening
Campaigns in all our member groups and with the active participation
of nearly six hundred community members.
Organizing all our large gatherings,
including our Issues Assembly, Founding Assembly, Public Action,
and First Annual Convention.
Convening, chairing and participating
in our issue teams by identifying, researching, and developing
campaigns to address the challenges facing
Active participation from member group
representatives and other Leaders in making decisions through
our governing body, the Executive Council.
Participating in the multi-day Leadership
Institute hosted by the InterValley Project and attended by
community members throughout New England.
Participating in a workshop with Leaders
from the Granite State Organizing Project on how our values
shape the issues we work on and to understand how power can
be built to better act on these values.
UVIP Connects trained nearly thirty
leaders on public speaking, building relationships and talking
about our faith as the cornerstone of our work.
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