The Power of Possibilities: Deepening Community Stories

Posted on January 20, 2021
By Heather Keam

We are reflecting on 2020, looking back on how communities were able to continue their programs while also wondering how they will keep them going. One of the common themes was the power of possibilities especially centered around this question - “how might we?” Communities asked how might wes as they navigated the changing landscape of COVID, for example; How might we continue to engage community virtually? How might we get more responses to our survey? How might we bring hope to our community?

These questions were asked and answered by several of our Cities Deepening Community members;       

Foyer Assumption Pumpkin Patch

Foyer Assumption in Rogersville, NB is a nursing home that has been working on to teach people how to be a neighbour in their community for over a year. COVID hit their community as they had just launched their community conversations. Having to stop face-to-face engagement, they were stuck trying to answer how they might still engage with the community virtually. So they did something they never have done before. They planned a virtual pumpkin-carving photo contest and had 37 submissions.

Greenway Chaplin Community Center in Cambridge, ON just started to host conversations and launched a survey when the pandemic started. They struggled to engage with the neighbourhood. They continued to meet with the Leadership Team virtually and asked how they might get more survey responses. One of the partners offered that a student communicate with people via the phone and host conversations with the seniors in the neighbourhood.

Lakeview paint nightLakeview Harbourside in Oshawa, ON had just drafted their neighbourhood plan at the start of the pandemic. The plan came to a halt and they wanted to understand how they might keep the momentum going. Using the gifts and assets in the neighbourhood, the residents on the leadership team hosted virtual programs. They hosted 3 paint nights led by residents, organized a COVID time capsule activity for kids, and also put up a tree of hope for the holiday season.  

What these three stories have in common is a sense of determination to keep the progress going, imagination of new ways to do things and courage to try something new. They did not focus on worrying about the “what if it fails” but focused on the "what if it works". What if we find a new way to do something or what if we keep trying until we get it right. As you start 2021 with new determination, knowing that COVID is still very real in our lives, ask yourself how might you unleash your power of possibilities and try something new?

Take Your Learning Further:

Heather Keam, Cities Deepening Community, COVID-19

Heather Keam

By Heather Keam

Heather works with municipalities and organizations to build strategies that put people at the center using Asset-Based Community Development. With over 22 years of experience in community development, she uses an ABCD approach to center people and belonging in the development of community plans and strategies through coaching and training staff teams, facilitation, and writing about ABCD and Belonging. She has a passion for the power of people and believes that people and communities are the solutions to local problems. She believes that we need to build a sense of community belonging so that people are connected to their community, and their place within it and get involved in decision-making. She also believes that municipalities need to shift the way they show up in community from doing “for” to supporting communities to do themselves.

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