Building Caring Communities is shifting our focus from Community Connections to Communities of Resilience. It’s a shift that has sustainability in mind – while exploring gifts, interests and skills, connecting folks to new places, deepening relationships and expanding social networks is still a huge part of what we do, it is now the means that we work with, rather than the endpoint that we seek. Increasing resilience in individuals and communities has become our new modus operandi.
What do we mean by Resilience? Resilience is “both the capacity of individuals [and communities] to navigate their way to the psychological, social, cultural and physical resources that sustain their well-being and their capacity individually and collectively to negotiate for these resources to be provided and experienced in culturally meaningful ways” (Michael Ungar, 2008).
We want resilient communities that nurture resilient people. Resilience is a process that occurs throughout our lives. The relationships we have not only help us to handle hardship, but invite us to expand and to grow. By embracing change and trying new things, we gain opportunities to deepen our trust in ourselves and others, embody our courage, and strengthen our capacities.
We can only go so far by ourselves – how much further could we go together? We feel very inspired by the Social Ecology approach to networks, recognizing that our ability to be resilient depends on our context – the people, places, opportunities, and resources that are meaningful and available to us.
Our resilience depends on our broader environment and in turn, our community’s resilience depends on us. We all have an innate capacity for resilience because it’s built from everyday stuff – the extraordinary resources of our minds, brains, bodies, and spirits, from our families and relationships and our broader communities. It is an Ordinary Magic activated by the interaction of people and the networks around them.
The learning is ongoing…we are learning more and more with every day! Through much research, experiential learning and design-jams, we have come to identify six “Important Buckets” that we believe are linked to resilience – Positive Outlook, Interpersonal Skills, Autonomy Orientation, Self-Efficacy, Allies and a Diversity of Opportunities. This is not a checklist, it’s more like a range of considerations to reflect on how these factors play out for each and every one of us…and as we explore and grow in these areas, we provide fertile ground for resilience.
Please join in as we learn more about these “Important Buckets” Over the next few months we are hosting discussion circles around each topic with the folks we work with – and we will share our learnings here on our website. Look for our first post on Positive Outlook soon!
Sending infinite gratitude to Kate Sutherland, the In With Forward Team (Sarah and Yani!), Gord Tulloch, Community Connectors, BCC Participants, Heather Johnstone, Hemant Kulkarni and former Community Connectors, Ivy Staker and Laura Kosciecha for all the work getting us to where we are now – and of course, having some fun along the way.