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Belonging: Exploring Connection to Community
Friday, May 6, 2016

Belonging: Exploring Connection to Community 

“Belonging is a defining issue that’s central to some of today’s most pressing realities. When we look at the challenges facing our communities and our country right now, from our inclusion of refugees to opportunities for greater reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples to our increasingly diverse cities, belonging is at the heart of our connection to one another and how accepting we are of difference and diversity." Ian Bird, President Community Foundations of Canada.

Belonging is being part of a collective ‘we’. It’s about how much we believe we ‘fit’ in a place or group, but it’s also about how much that place or group welcomes and includes us. We can belong to many things at the same time:

Connections and engagement are two important elements of belonging. As Vancouver Foundation discovered in their work around belonging, connections are our relationships with others and the strength of those relationships. Engagement, on the other hand, is our commitment to community and the willingness to take action or participate in activities that make our communities better.

We know that people who feel they belong to a community are more likely to take action with others for the common good. So how can we strengthen belonging to each other and our communities?

Well, it’s really a two-way street. Communities need to send signals of acceptance and inclusion; and individuals need to cultivate connection with other people and engagement in the community.

“We are most fully human, mosttruly ourselves, most authenticallyindividual when we commit to the community. It is in the mirror of our community - our street, the neighbourhood,the town, the country –that we find our best selves.” Adrienne Clarkson, co-chair, Institute for Canadian Citizenship

 As we move towards 2017, Canada’s 150 anniversary of Confederation, belonging seems a particularly powerful theme. This milestone urges each of us to think about the kind of communities we want to be part of and the kind of country we want to build together.In addition to taking the pulse on belonging across the country, this year’s Vital Signs report also looks back at what’s changed since the last such milestone, our centennial in 1967. History makes it clear that Canada is a work in progress. To read the full report, please go to http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/page-45-2015-belonging and download

Shuswap Community Foundation
102-160 Harbourfront DR NE
Salmon Arm BC V1E 4N7


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