Community Mapping is a tool used in the Unveiling Youth Potential (UYP) program to help participants map out the current reality of their community, organizing its various components (community assets and liabilities), and observing any patterns or interconnections. Community Mapping also provides space for youth to identify their place within their community, and better understand themselves within the context of the systems and relationships that comprise communities. Community Mapping helps to illustrate the fact that realizing one’s potential is not only about better understanding one’s self, but also about understanding one’s self as a unique community member – one who is affected by community, but who can also influence community. An individual’s personal story cannot be fully understood without understanding the story of the community of which they are a part.
The Community Mapping portion of the UYP program is taught using Mind Mapping, a tool that visually depicts information and interconnections. Participants are guided through an exploration of what – and who – makes up a community they belong to. These maps then help inform participants’ ideas for positive community change, and help them identify alternate routes when roadblocks are encountered. See the example below for a sample Community Map.