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A Gift is Not a Gift Until It’s Given

Posted on December 15, 2018
By Heather Keam

Someone giving giftThis is an appropriate title for two reasons. First, it is the holiday season, the time of year that we are giving gifts to each other. Secondly, in 2018 we hosted an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) event, and what better way of practicing ABCD than for our members to give their gifts of stories, tools and resources.

As the 2018 year is winding down I took the time to review over 30 contributions that our members made to Cities Deepening Community and I have packaged the top ten together as my gift to you.

  • Kitchener’s Neighbourhood Strategy, Love My Hood Every city builds neighbourhoods with sidewalks and roads, homes, parks and arenas. However, municipalities across Canada are realizing that (what – neighbourliness? Community?) is not just about pavement and buildings, it's about the people who live, work and play in each neighbourhood. The City of Kitchener is one great example of how a municipality cultivated the power of residents to develop a neighbourhood strategy.
  • Building Citizen Advocacy Skills for Strong Neighbourhoods – Across Canada, there has been a decrease in voter-turnout at every level of government. This means that government policy and decision-making represent only a small percentage of citizens. This Case Study outlines four neighbourhood initiatives, representing four core Windsor neighbourhoods, that are collaborating to help residents learn how to be effective advocates.
  • Vivo's Story of Evaluating Community Efforts  Organizations and municipalities are now turning their focus toward neighbourhoods. But how do they know if their efforts are making a difference when so many overlapping factors, people and programs are involved? How do they show funders that what they are doing is making a difference?
  • Movement of Young Leaders Changing Communities across Ontario – In this article, you will learn how youths can take up the call to create change alongside their adult allies and have build a provincial youth-led movement of community-minded citizens of all ages. Youths and allies of the Re:Action4Inclusion movement believe in the power of young voices and envision a future where people are empowered to live the life they dream for themselves.
  • Building Communities into Neighbourhoods  This webinar features two thought leaders in community building and engagement – Jim Diers, author of Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way and Paul Born, author of Deepening Community – in discussion on how we bring ‘community’ back into neighbourhoods, and create more vibrant connections in the places where we live.
  • Circle of Courage and Sense of Belonging  There are so many innovative projects in cities and neighbourhoods that are trying to re-capture a sense of belonging. This article is about the Cariboo-Chilcotin community, located in central BC, and their reflections on how the Circle of Courage® is an amazing working philosophy that articulates Sense of Belonging as a core value.
  • Role of Faith-Based Organizations to Support Emergency Preparedness – All levels of government ask residents to create an emergency kit and a plan that ensures they can look after themselves for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency. Most Canadians, especially those who live in cities, have never made those preparations. This case study highlights the need for robust messaging, education and action around local community response and recovery.
  • Who Do You Choose To Be? Restoring Leadership as a Noble Profession – This webinar with Margaret Wheatley provides an opportunity to reflect on and respond to who you are as a leader now. What have you learned about the conditions that call forth your best leadership and what processes have you learned that offer people the possibility of being generous, creative and kind?
  • Creating a sense of Village  This article talks about how we combat the trends of ‘living above place’ versus being rooted, the trend of valuing the private over the common, and of the increasing isolation, fragmentation and speed of life. How do we live out our values – not as professionals – but as neighbours?

To find more resources please go to Cities Deepening Community website. Thank you to all our members who sent us their stories, tools and resources.

Please share your thoughts and stories with us. Its easy! Just send me an email. We are excited to be heading into 2019 and look forward to sharing more of your stories.

Community Change, Heather Keam, Cities Deepening Community

Heather Keam

By Heather Keam

Heather is happy to be part of the Vibrant Communities team as the Manager of Cities, Cities Deepening Community. Before this position she was the Manager of Learning Services where she organized Community of Practices, learning opportunities, tools and resources for community change. Heather brings over 12 years of public health knowledge to this position.

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