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    "Life-changing, community-changing, world-changing."

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    "Three amazing days!"

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    "My life and neighborhood is a little better for it."

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    "…a tremendous gift, not only to myself, but to all the circles of people I influence and love."

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    "If you’re looking for a way to improve an organization or your personal lives, take this course."

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    "This training improved my career & personal relationships more than any class I have attended."

We're creating a more caring world.
One person and one community at a time.

Our Community Listens offers distinctive learning experiences that transform individuals and the communities in which they live through the power of empathetic engagement. During our workshops, participants explore themselves and how they interact with others and come out on the other end seeing the world in a different way: through a more compassionate lens. Through tools that encourage and enhance human connection, Our Community Listens is fostering a society where care and compassion rise above indifference and prejudice-person by person, community by community.

About Us

You, me, we... we believe the solution to our troubled world lies within each of us. Our training, offered through chapters and programs in an ever-growing number of communities, inspires improvement in how participants listen, relate, discern and communicate and nurtures their ability to connect and see things from others' perspectives.

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About Us

Where We Are

We're bring our life-changing, empathy-building experiences to people in two different ways: public chapters, which are open to anyone, and private programs, which are open only to those affiliated with the organization or group sponsoring the program.

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Take a Class

This is no ordinary training! After three days of powerful classroom instruction, experiential activity, and group discussion, you’ll be equipped with the tools to have deeper, more meaningful relationships and inspired by the course’s ability to bring about a more compassionate world.

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Take a Class

Get Involved

From fostering compassion through our own relationships to starting a chapter or program in a community to making a donation or sponsoring a workshop, everyone has the capacity to help bring about a more caring world. Please join us on the journey!

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Get Involved
Our Community Listens had a profound impact in my life and is among the top 3 leadership training programs I have ever experienced.
Erica Curry Vanee, Leadership Coach - Urban Curry Consulting
Being patient, tolerant and a good reflective listener will win you more friends and improve your relationships. My reflective listening skills have really helped me connect with the youth.  Lauren Robinson, Site Based Match Coordinator - Big Brothers Big Sisters Great Lakes Bay Region

I’ve found it easy to hide behind my role as a communicator; to make excuses for why my ability to run at the mouth has been more valuable than my seeming inability to be a good listener. Our Community Listens has provided a poignant reminder that before I can communicate anything well – as a speaker, teacher, mentor or parent – I have to shut up and listen well first.

Joy McMillan, Writer and Design with Simply Bloom

....it equipped me with the tools needed to understand those around me.  I am confident that applying the lessons I learned in Our Community Listens will bring about positive change in my relationships both at work and at home...

 

Ashley Keimach, Mackinaw Center for Public Policy - External Affairs Coordinator
I have a greater appreciation for others’ thoughts and opinions. I discovered that I wasn’t truly listening to people, only waiting for my opportunity to speak. The skills learned in the three days have helped me in both my work environment AND my home environment. Abby Scherzer, Event Manager/Fundraiser - Alzheimer's Association
… this course will help me in many ways — better relationships, less stress in life, meeting participation, better listening… Jeff, Charlotte Chapter Alumnus
The knowledge and skills I gained from OCL allowed me to absolutely rock a graduate school admissions interview! I'm so grateful for this free, yet invaluable opportunity. Bri Beck, South Carolina Chapter Alumnus
OCL has given me the skills and the confidence to have (what I used to call confrontational conversations) conflict resolution conversations as well as teach my team to do the same. Amy Van Liew, South Carolina Chapter Alumnus

Every member of our second-grade team has been trained and its part of our daily meetings and on our agendas. We’re all aware of kind of the different behavioral tendencies that we bring to that team and that’s been really powerful for us.  For me personally, it’s helped me to be a better listener with students, parents, at parent-teacher conferences, and with our staff.

Becky Oliver, Teacher/Colorado Chapter (Aspen) Alumnus

Lots of courses have components of communication in them, but this is three days of intense practice and practical use of communication.  So it really goes along with our components of taking care of our clients who we are learning to listen to better, and engage them more so that they feel they are a partner in their health care as opposed to a component of their health care…

Jolene Singers, Health Clinic Leader/Colorado Chapter (Aspen) Alumnus
Firefighters have repeated exposure to the suffering of others. And the 24-hour shift lifestyle in the close confines of a station can be challenging. Understanding the value of listening is critical within the fire service culture. Our Community Listens gives us the skill set to deal with these issues and take care of one another. Greg Bulanow, Fire Chief/South Carolina Chapter (Charleston) Alumnus
In the end we were able to come to the middle and work out a positive solution to a potentially volatile situation… Without OCL training, my reaction probably would have come off as inflammatory or disrespectful.  I was able to control my responses and listen to the sheriff and his message, and I feel my life and neighborhood is a little bit better for it. , Colorado Chapter (Aspen) Alumnus
OCL training goes way beyond communication!  When we become more aware of ourselves and others we will become the best version of our self. Linda Chaloupka, Wisconsin Chapter (Mequon) Alumnus

…tangible tools that have allowed me to connect my behaviors with the actions necessary to drive real growth on a personal and professional level!

Thomas Jacobs, Michigan Chapter (Midland) Alumnus
…a tremendous gift, not only to myself, but to all the circles of people I influence and love. My life has been renewed in an amazing way. My family and my work will benefit from my ability to listen with empathy and find the silence in my life. Jennifer, Charlotte Chapter Alumnus

If you’re looking for a way to improve an organization or your personal lives, I’d suggest you take this course and if it works for you as well as it has for the City of Aspen, implement it into your organization.

Steve Barwick, Aspen City Manager/Colorado Chapter (Aspen) Alumnus

It completely opened my eyes to how my friends, family, clients and even my husband communicates and why. I am able to navigate conversations and emotions with much more understanding.

Rachel McCormick, Wisconsin Chapter (Phillips) Alumnus
… heavy emphasis on practicality. How to raise issues with your boss confidently, how to thoughtfully listen to your children and spouse, how to meaningfully recognize and appreciate your employees. It's just a shame I worked this long before learning about these tools! Greg Bunker, Dow Chemical Company/Michigan Chapter (Midland) Alumnus
This training has improved my career and relations in my personal life more than any class I have attended in my 39 years in the workforce. Katie Von Holdener, Scott Air Force Base Alumnus
This program will change the way I approach everything - from my marriage, to my parenting, to my other relationships, to the way I lead. Amazing content and very well done! Kevin Miquelon, St. Louis Chapter Alumnus
This class has enhanced my relationships both personally and professionally. The results have been remarkable in my relationships with my adult children, having learned to show grace and become a better listener. Terry Patton, Greater St. Louis Chapter Alumnus

Best three days spent with some wonderful people and great instructors. I was amazed at the bond that was formed in such a short period of time. I learned so much about myself and how important my behaviors are toward others.

Pam Harmon, South Carolina Chapter Alumnus
This class helped validate who I am and how I function socially, but also helped me to see the great opportunities others bring. Kat Seastrunck, South Carolina Chapter Alumnus

Blog

  • Extrovert Guide to Sitting With Pain

    Extrovert Guide to Sitting with Pain

    by Rebecca Emerson | Jan 21, 2019
    When teaching about empathy, author, speaker, and self-help phenom Brene’ Brown tells us that our brains are wired to run from pain - including emotional pain - whether it is ours or someone else’s. One of the opportunities we have in serving others through listening is empathetically sitting with them, allowing grace and space for the person to not be “fixed” but to feel whatever it is they need to feel.
  • Rebecca Emerson PR

    Rebecca Emerson tapped to amplify impact of OCL

    by OCL Team | Oct 11, 2018
    Our Community Listens, a non-profit dedicated to building more caring communities through life-changing programs that improve interpersonal relationships, has named a new executive director, Rebecca Buell Emerson.
  • Gratitude-rock

    Gratitude the Our Community Listens Way

    by Marya Degrow - OCL Alumni | Sep 19, 2018
    Attitude of Gratitude......we know gratitude is crucial to a positive mindset. It can also help when we are in situations that can be stressful.
  • roaring-fork-valley

    We Hear You: The Story of a Corporate Pioneer Who Made the Roaring Fork Valley His Testing Ground for a New Way to Listen

    by OCL Team | Aug 16, 2018
  • images

    Empathy for People Who Suck

    by Marya Degrow - OCL Alumni | Jun 07, 2018
    Empathy is important, even when we struggle to understand or relate to others. Let's look beyond our natural emotional reactions to some whom we might not readily connect with.
  • View All
Talk to Us, We're Listening!