Contributed by Christine Townley, Community Connector, iPRS
Inspired by the 100 in 1 day events, “The Positive Postcard Project” has been running for 5 years. The project is a simple concept with multi-faceted impacts: We set up a table in public spaces (schools, churches, libraries, parks, local shops, and at various events) with an array of art and craft supplies along with blank and ready to go postcards. We talk to all the passersby and invite them to join us to create a positive message and some artwork that will be delivered to a random member of the community.
We wanted to create 1000 postcards, and we are fast approaching this goal! On December 13, 2019 these small sparks of joy will be delivered to random mailboxes all over Powell River. We are simply trying to create a smile, provide something nice in the mail that isn’t a bill, communicate in a way that doesn’t involve technology, and allow people to freely tell another human being that they matter. I think that ‘Snail mail’ is more personal and that, sadly, this way of communicating is quickly becoming obsolete so I wanted to give people an opportunity to communicate in this way. And this sentiment was shared by many others who participated.
Over the years I have branched out into the community here in Powell River, and this has provided many opportunities for people that I support to have conversations with their fellow community members. This project provided opportunities for simple human interaction while working together to create something beautiful for a stranger. Not only has this project given me a platform to speak about inclusion and diversity, it has taught me more than I ever thought possible. It allows one to develop empathy and understanding on a level you just can’t achieve unless you are privy to one’s story. We cannot be privy to one’s story without listening to them and we cannot listen to people if they do not have the opportunity to speak.
The positive postcard project has expanded the number of people I know and say hello to, and hopefully has done the same for others. I believe trust is a very important piece of my work as a Community Connector, in fact I would say it’s the most important piece. Trust is built over time, so when I spend time in my community I become familiar, people begin to trust me and vice versa. It is a win-win situation for all! I cannot help but smile and sing “the more we get together, the happier we’ll be” in my head when I see a connection being made while people chat and create art for a stranger…simply because they can.