Sixteen FII family members designed and facilitated a “Catalyzing the Peer Effect” workshop at the 2016 Citizen University Annual Conference in Seattle. The workshop discussed how peer-to-peer supportive relationships are critical for providing relevant information, advice, and inspiration to move people forward. The families designed the curriculum, facilitated the workshop, and each family member led their own breakout group during the workshop — telling their stories about self-organizing and how they have utilized the peer effect. Family members like Thomas Ruffen, a community organizer, inspired by his own troubled childhood and incarceration experience, to better support young people in his community with wraparound services. Or Lang Yang, a mother of 13 children, that was encouraged and supported by her FII group to increase her income by going back to school.
Members of the workshop talked about things they themselves could take back to their communities and put in effect. When asked about the one thing they would do if they knew they couldn’t fail, the answers ranged from being president of the United States, to being authors, teachers, and overall change agents.