Becky Ceperley on the Civic Life Institute: “The key was communication, breaking through divisions before anyone could do anything.”

What struck you about the Civic Life Institutes you have attended?ceperley uncropped

“What I saw that was powerful was the realization that took hold, that we all may speak or look different but we want the same things: we want our children to be healthy, we want our grandchildren to have a good school. And the key was communication, breaking through all that division before anyone could see that or do anything.”

What do you like about the Center’s approach to community engagement?

“The Center doesn’t walk in and say ‘this is the answer for you.’ Instead it walks in and offers a process, where we’re going to show you a way to figure it out yourself. ‘It’s been productive elsewhere, maybe it will be productive here.’ We don’t go in and make specific recommendations. Each community has to decide.”


The 2016 Civic Life Institute, our annual workshop on community engagement techniques, is July 19-20 at the University of Charleston. Register here:

Becky Ceperley recently retired as executive director of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and is a member of Charleston City Council. She is on the Board of Directors of the WV Center for Civic Life.


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