The DHF hires organizers from low-income working class communities and trains them using a grassroots organizing model. Natural leades are developed by their participation in community projects which they prioritize by analyzing their neighborhoods and communities. After participating in a series of houe meetings, community residents hold an assembly of house meeting participants and vote to establish their own organization. They then form neighborhood organizations and assess their neighborhoods and communities, setting priorities for improvements as needed.
Their neighborhood committees make a plan for direct action participation of neighborhood volunteers to accomplish the projects they have prioritized. Through the participation in these community projects, natural leaders develop their leadership skills.
Our current community organizations in the Central San Joaquin Valley have labeled their organization Vecinos Unidos (United Neighbors). Four strategic priority areas have been identified by the seven community organizations of Vecinos Unidos:
Civic Engagement: Community members must be organized, trained, and informed. Through their participation in community projects they learn leadership skills, team work and advocacy and become engaged in the democratic process.
Health & Environment: Healthy environments create healthy people. All people should have access to health care, healthy food, recreational opportunities, and clean air, water and land.
Education & Youth Development: Family and parent engagement is the key to educational improvements and academic success. When parents are organized to work with other parents, youth, school agencies and the community, drop out and incarceration rates can be reduced.
Economic Development: All people should have access to financial services and basic financial literacy education. Financial systems should be designed to uplift rather than oppress disenfranchised communities. Communities need to be educated to prevent predatory financial practices.