The Blue House Institute is Richard Kordesh's home on the web. Here, he posts insights about issues, shares thoughts and opinions about what's happening to families and communities, and provides background info about what he's doing.
Richard Kordesh's Blue House Institute provides ideas, insights, and practical proposals aimed at building good communities around children. Built over a career as a political scientist and community developer, Richard's approach lifts up the vitally important roles that families play in making places safe, healthy, and sustainable. Drawing on his recent training in depth psychology, he also delves into his personal journey as a a man, a son, a father, brother, uncle, and husband, and how that has shaped his understanding of the challenges facing individual parents and citizens.
It's a Journey: Personal and Political
Finding one's way into and through the life of family is a life-long journey. We all take this journey, but in many different ways. To know how to strengthen communities around children, it's important to know one's own path, inward and outward, and the perspectives it provides.
Reach out to him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oak Park: Weaving Together People in Place
by Richard Kordesh on 04/26/13
I am blessed to live in a place where community really matters. In Oak Park, lots of people work in many, varied ways to make this village a diverse, highly participatory, and yet densely integrated place where friendships overlap with institutional affiliations and civic activities. I see people I met while I was coaching youth baseball for over ten years in the late 90s and early 2000s. I reminisce with parents about those years and catch up with news of their now young-adult sons and daughters (I coached the sons, and many of the little sisters attended the games). I'll see them at the Farmers' Market or at local stores.
Now, I am on the board of the rapidly expanding Sugar Beet Cooperative. At the core of this network are families in northeast Oak Park, many of them of the same age now that I was while coaching. It's fun and warming to get to share important concerns about food and sustainability with them, while getting to know their little ones!
Then there is the church choir in which Maureen and I sing. Some of the choir members are also supportive of the Sugar Beet; those represent more overlapping interests. Our Village and civic organizations regularly sponsor festivals, fairs, and other events that reinforce ties with old friends and open opportunities for new contacts. Local print and electronic media provide many accessible forums for expressing views and updating events. As planners like to say, "place matters," and in Oak Park, a lot of good work goes into fostering, encouraging, and celebrating our crisscrossing civic and social relationships.
Richard is the creator of the Blue House Institute, from which he writes and consults about the political and policy dynamics of family-based, and family-generated, community building. The Blue House Institute advocates for dignified, local, and democratic policies that enable mothers, fathers, and citizens to thrive as co-producers and to share power.
Richard can consult at many levels of the deliberative process, including community planning, agency program design and fund development, community organizing, building partnerships across government jurisdictions, and strengthening democratic participation through civic associations and religious institutions.
Richard blogs about the obstacles and opportunities presented by the political, psychological and social dynamics unique to various localities and regions. He also shares through the blog stories from his own, forty-year journey as a citizen, father, husband, and professional, always seeking to better understand his mission and to sharpen his craft.
Richard earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, and an MSW with a concentration in Community Development and Planning from the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Doing their best, different people end up in all kinds of family situations. Marriages fail or don’t occur for many reasons, including abuse, addiction, or a lack of love. Some traditional, married families can be hurtful toward their children, oppressive toward women and girls, or just toxic psychologically. Richard’s approach to family-generated community building lifts up the need for marriage and family to evolve into loving and co-productive institutions, while respecting the different family forms that real life circumstances create.