Recent Publications

You're Invited to Attend: Guelph's open house for SILC

Sustainable, Intentional Living Community
 In case you're interested in the Sustainable Intentional Living Community (our dreams!)
 we are holding an information session this month...an out-door Open House
 On Sunday May 25 at 3:00pm we will have an information session, followed by a potluck beginning at about 5:00pm.  We hope there will also be time for games and activities after we eat.When bringing food for the potluck, since we anticipate a large number of people, we are suggesting that people bring foods that do not need to be heated..a sort of salad/cold plate contribution would be best, anticipating that the weather will be warmer by then!!  Desserts are always welcome, too!  Please bring an accompanying card with the ingredients listed, for people with food sensitivities or allergies.
 We look forward to being able to answer some of the questions you might have, and to bringing you up to date on our progress... hoping that you are free to join us! 

Notes from the KW Gathering

Recently through the collaborative efforts of the KW Social Planning Council, Multicultural Cinema Club, New Story Group, Abrahamic Peace Builders and Tamarack, a community gathering was organized to share the insights and patterns from over 40 conversations collected across Waterloo Region as part of the 1000 Conversations Campaign (You can see a link from the presentation HERE).  This event brought together a rich diversity of people from different parts of Waterloo Region. Attached are two documents with the rough notes that were gathered from these conversations.

Georgetown Community Engagement Strategy

  This document is the Community Engagement Strategy for the Southwest Georgetown Integrated Planning Project (now called the Vision Georgetown project). It has been prepared as a key Phase One deliverable for the project as part of Council’s commitment to ensuring meaningful public engagement and participation in the development of a land use vision and plan for Southwest Georgetown. This Strategy was prepared by Meridian Planning Consultants, with advice and direction on consultation techniques and approaches from Glenn Pothier of GLPi. It is based on a Council vision for Southwest Georgetown, the project Terms of Reference, and input from Town staff and the Project Steering Committee. The following is an overview of the contents of the Community Engagement Strategy: Section 2.0 provides a brief overview of the Vision Georgetown project; Section 3.0 discusses the purpose of community engagement and highlights the importance of a properly executed engagement program to the planning process; Section 4.0 presents a strategy overview, defines key objectives and principles for community engagement, and identifies the main audiences to be targeted; Section 5.0 introduces a set of on-going community engagement initiatives that will be maintained over the life of the project; Section 6.0 identifies a detailed set of strategies and tactics as well as key ‘thrusts’ for community engagement, specifically for Phase Two of the overall Vision Georgetown project; Section 7.0 looks beyond Phase Two and begins to set out engagement goals and activities for future project phases; and Section 8.0 discusses the ways in which community engagement will be monitored for success. 

Small Change

By Malcolm Gladwell - Published in the New Yorker, Oct. 4 2010
Malcolm Gladwell has long been a favorite author of mine.  He has a real art in making concepts simple to understand and exciting to read.  As your read this article by him about small change, think of it in the context of building community. Click here to see the original article SMALL CHANGE   Malcolm Gladwell 4,599 words
4 October 2010 New Yorker GTNY 42 Volume 86; Issue 30; ISSN: 0028792X  

Accelerating a Network of Care

Taking a Social Innovation to Scale
Government-funded systems of health and social care are facing enormous fiscal and human-resource challenges. The space for innovation in care is wide open and new disruptive patterns are emerging. These include self-management and personal budgets, participatory and integrated care, supported decision making and a renewed focus on pre- vention. Taking these disruptive patterns to scale can be accelerated by a technologically enabled shift to a network model of care to co-create the best outcomes for individuals, family caregivers, and health and social care organizations. The connections, relationships, and activities within an individual’s personal network lay the foundation for care that health and social care systems/policy must simultaneously support and draw on for positive outcomes. Practical tools, adequate information, and tangible resources are required to coordinate and sustain care. Tyze Personal Networks is a social venture that uses technology to engage and inform the individual, their personal networks, and their care providers to co-create the best out- comes. In this article, we demonstrate how Tyze contributes to a shift to a network model of care by strengthening our networks and enhancing partnerships between care pro- viders, individuals, and family and friends.

Finding A Lifeboat:

It Simply Makes Sense to Learn From Other Families
http://publications.todayskids.ca/publication/?i=184302 Pages 10-11 Article in "Today's Kids in Motion", an online magazine for parents of children with disabilities, BCS Publishing, Ltd.

Family, Where Community Starts

A Child’s Life Experiences are a Training Ground for the Best Approaches to the Development of Community
Conducting family therapy sessions over many years has taught me that community experience is first learned within the safe environment, or in some cases, the not-so-safe environment of the family.  When we think of community we think of more than one person with interaction together with the others around them.  This is what happens when one is born into a family.  Families are generally our first communities. These are micro-communities of initiation into life for us all.  How we are sensitized to the others within our family environments gives a pattern of learning for the future intervention and leadership within the larger community.     In families, the world is experienced as individuals express emotion and in the processes of Listening, Learning, Loving, Laughing, Leveling, and Letting Go.   Children and youth can learn these skills in a way that is helpful for interactions in future situations or they can miss some of the steps that are necessary for proficiency in each of these areas of well-being.  Sadly they may mutilate or find aberrant ways of expressing these characteristics. Larger communities are similar in nature to the primary family.  They involve groups of people listening, loving, laughing or enjoying humour, levelling or holding each other accountable and finally having an ability to be creative in “letting go” or forgiving others in or outside the community for errors, omissions or travesties.  If our abilities and skills in these areas are enhanced with each other within family units, communities should improve in performance as well. Listening.  Babies listen to their mom’s voice and can hear it in a busy room.  Certain tonal qualities, a particular melody, and smiles are watched intently for meaning and assessed based on previous experience.  As children grow they can take the direction and advice of their parents and siblings and through listening avoid having to make mistakes that others have made.  They can hear what “is the proper way to do things” which makes finding solutions to complex questions work more easily and will reflect culturally appropriate manners conforming to the historical patterns of the family. Listening is critical to well-being.  One can only know the other person by narrowly focussing on who they are, what they are conveying and how they are transmitting that information.  This involves verbal and non-verbal messages being heard and interpreted effectively to gain a clear understanding of the other person or group.  There are courses taught on active and effective listening.  Doctors are told that this is a key factor in in making accurate diagnosis of a patient.  This is fundamental to “good bedside manner.” Having forums for people within community and between communities to listen to each other is just as important.   Having clear guidelines for the manner in which listening takes place is important. For instance, “one person at a time may speak” and “everyone who wishes a turn shall be able to be heard.” There is a whole new movement of community conversations to increase community capacity or to build thriving communities.  It is all predicated on listening very carefully at the beginning stages of community action and change.  Today one of the major challenges in our larger communities and for that matter within government is developing and maintaining a culture of civility even within and between the micro-communities.  The failure to listen can create fear of the other person or group, resulting in affixing derogatory labels, racism and prejudice.  People desire to belong and belonging feels real if someone is truly listening to your ideas and story.                       Learning.  Knowledge and information are important for growth.   Skill development makes a difference in our abilities to navigate relationships.  But if one really wants to be able to sail the ship through stormy seas it requires taking knowledge and information and using them with a great deal of discernment.  This is best known as wisdom and this is often gained through personal and observed life experience.  Wisdom can also be gained by making mistakes.  This does not mean that I encourage anyone to increase the volume of their errors just to become more wise!   Learning about dyad relationships is a start and then we graduate to triad and multi-interfaced relationships of community.  There is a mythology about respective communities which develops over the years.  It is important to understand the deep  meanings of these myths because communities live with them as if they are real in the present sense.  Loving.  Growing up in a Christian home the idea of love was constantly promoted. The standard was 1 Corinthians 13:  “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Love transcends the self and reaches out to the other person.  We learn in family that we are truly “our brother’s keeper.”   This lesson carries over into the needs of local homeless shelters, single parent mom’s, seniors with health problems, the need for universal elementary and secondary education to put everyone on a new level playing field.  As we are now giving a biblical connection there is a horrible opposite outcome with jealousy and rage that may come out of families.  Locally, we recently had a murder of a local young woman by her brother.    This reminded me that we have come only a short distance since Cain and Able. So with a coming together of key players for such community endeavours as food banks, or community kitchens we can see that bonds can be formed and sustained within community.  There can also be a falling out within these groups.  Having carefully thought out rules for participants in “helps” projects puts some needed structure into the support and care that can be shown by a community.  Agencies can also become petulant and accusatory, looking at the short-falls of the other group rather than being supportive of each other.  Sadly this blaming behaviour can sour many relationships. Conversely, I see amongst those people charged with roles in the helping professions the exchanging of cheek kissing or hugging behaviour as they have a particular bond.  The “attitude of gratitude” has a healing effect upon both the person demonstrating the value and the recipient.  It is surprising how love of “the other person” has a direct impact on the giver.  They in turn feel loved by themselves and others.     Laughing:   Do you remember parties and celebrations within your family?  Enjoying each other’s company with laughter, and expressed joy is important to establishing a positive view of the world.  Hope and celebration are wound up in what we do when we plan and run special events. Another example, the potlaches of  British Columbia with the ceremonial feast of the American Indians of the northwest coast marked by the host's lavish distribution of gifts or sometimes destruction of property to demonstrate wealth and generosity with the expectation of eventual reciprocation.  When we have a sense of accomplishment within our communities or of special relationships it is important that we find ways to celebrate these occasions and special milestones.  It is always important to know about the timing of events and to recognize milestones and achievement.  Social events of birthdays, name days in the Greek tradition, graduation dances and weddings are all expressions of the joy of living. I can remember that my parents always found excuses for celebration and a good party.  Even at my father’s funeral, with no disrespect, and a keen sense of having shared in his life, my sister and I had to polka down the aisle while singing “Roll out the barrel, we’ll have a barrel of fun.”  This kind of approach even to death is not uncommon with funeral wakes, and Mash-program humour from the emergency room.   “Vive the joie.”  Today even as we find new ways to communicate there are new smiling faces.       Levelling:  Telling it like it is. Confronting someone else or a group with the truth or reality of a situation is difficult.  In some families the hard issues are glossed over or avoided.  That does not make them any less real.  Learning to deal with stress by facing the difficulties of life head on is important within the context of the family.   We gain confidence in our own abilities to navigate difficult problems of life as we face these and succeed.  Parents who protect their children over and over, under-estimate the competency and skills that are learned by children by facing the sometimes harsh reality.  One of the most common problems within dysfunctional families is scapegoating.  Labels are assigned to certain members of the family in a way that is justified or even unjustified.  This blatant isolation or pushing aside gives little room to hear the other person (listening) and to provide a door for them to change their behaviour. When these skills of facing difficulties head on are learned and transferred into a community context, the strength of self-determination and the empowerment to see positive change dealing with larger issues of poverty, pollution, or racial or sexist injustice can be tackled in a task oriented fashion and not from a personalization or victimization approach. Letting Go has three component parts: A.     Forgiveness  -This involves getting over it and letting go of the hurt, pain, anger, guilt, and or shame for the sake of your own emotional health.  It does not imply that one has to have an on-going relationship with that person or persons who has offended.  It is sad to see held grudges within families for years when the simple solution would be an “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.”  People do make mistakes and if they are honest, unintended or innocent mistakes, the receiver should offer forgiveness and continue the relationship.  If the receiver of the mistake truly believes that the error or mistake was malicious and if they see the other person as being nasty or vengeful, then they should still forgive them.  They don’t have to be told that they have been forgiven if getting close hurts too much. But then the person who has done the forgiving should not have anything further to do with that individual until they feel that the basic character flaw has changed.  This is the same for organizations or groups within community.  The rules are the same in the larger context of community.  B.     Trusting  - Billy age 4 said it best “When someone loves you  the way they say your name is different You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” So having confidence in the other person to only will the best for you translates into the community relationships that we have in which we trust our governments, our police forces, our agencies and businesses  and each other in our day to day relationships within community to be working toward positive ends for each other.  C.     Creativity  -  This involves letting go of the familiar for something that may be quite different. Growing up this happens almost daily and it is important to keep as much flexibility in thinking and doing available as one can even into the later years of life.  My grandmother grew up in a thatched roof  house in England with no running water or electricity and when she was in her 80’s she was popping items into a microwave, looking at a coloured TV in a large multi-floored complex with running water.  Her basic personality had also changed, as she was always pleasant, she became more patient, more willing to become dependent and let people assist her once again in her later years.  She became a little disoriented and depressed by the loss of her house, and her husband dying.  But she continued until 93 “looking after these old people in this nursing home because that is what God put me here for.”  She had seen a role carved out for her within her new community!   

Milton Transitional Housing Community Conversation

A conversation about the importance of getting to know each other, building relationships, trust, commitment to a common purpose and "getting dirty" in building community.

Dundas Community Services: Friendly Caller Program

Full Interview
Tamarack: What caused you to make this innovation?   DCS: Because it was becoming increasingly more difficult to recruit volunteers the agency was looking ``outside the box``.  We thought that there were communities of individuals  who may have time to volunteer but did not have the opportunity and who might not fit the typical volunteer profile.      Tamarack: Why did you choose to reach out to Community Living Hamilton?   DCS: Because there was an established relationship between the two agencies, an existing level of awareness and mutual respect.      Tamarack: What has worked well in the Program?   DCS: Community Living had an in-depth knowledge and good interpersonal relationships with their seniors as well as a dedicated staff and volunteers.  The volunteers acquired skills and self-esteem and all enjoyed their volunteer role and the opportunity to `give back`.  The partnership between the two agencies worked well due to good communications and realistic expectations.  The training was instrumental in the success of the program.    Tamarack: What was the biggest surprise?   DCS: The way the volunteers embraced the program (although it was expected it was great to see it happen).  That despite thinking we knew the unique challenges faced by every volunteer, their capacity and lack there of, was still a surprise.  The level of excitement amongst the volunteers as well as the (positive) competition between the volunteers. How much everyone benefits from the program; the seniors, CL volunteers and DCS volunteers and all the staff who experience the success of the program.   Seeing the extent to which the CL volunteers have excelled and grown with the program.  The tremendous sense of achievement and satisfaction felt by the volunteers and the staff.   Tamarack: What would you do the same?   DCS: Hire a consultant.  Having an outside resource – both organizations brought something exceptional to the partnership and the consultant helped to pull it all together and maintain the balance between the partners.  Having the consultant conduct the volunteer training helped in the first step toward developing the confidence in the volunteers in dealing with people outside of CL.   The training methods and timing worked particularly well to develop the skills and confidence of the volunteers.  The data collection methods also worked well the CL population.  Start small and build the program over time.  Do all the training and get well organized before you launch the program.   Tamarack: What has been the best aspect?   DCS: Seeing the volunteers connecting with the seniors has been amazing, especially when the matches work well.  Hearing the stories from the volunteers about their relationship with their seniors.  Seeing how much both the seniors and volunteers benefit from the program, seeing the relationships develop.  The volunteers knowing that they are valued and seeing how much they have learned and how much both the seniors and volunteers look forward to the call. Seeing the transformation of CL clients from being helped to becoming the `helper`. Seeing the skills and self-esteem increase.   Seeing the volunteers working together in the training groups, having them all together, learning and developing. The increasing sense of responsibility adopted willingly by the volunteers.  How much the agency and staff have developed by working with good outcomes, performance indicators and measurement processes.  It increases individual capacity as well as the professionalism of the agency     Tamarack: What is the most important learning?   DCS: That it is fun to be part of something new and innovative.  That it is possible for two unique agencies with different populations and focus to work together compatibly and find common ground, built on a foundation of mutual respect and learn about new populations previously unknown to them. The level of trust developed between the senior and the volunteer.  The fact that in some case the seniors also felt that they were contributing to the development of the volunteer.   The value to the senior of being connected with the broader community.  The conversations between caller and callee are ones of mutual respect and are mutually beneficial and that the seniors ability to stay at home longer is influenced by their being engaged in a meaningful activity and relationship.  To end isolation of unique populations community connections are critical and will help to keep seniors healthy.  The needs of the new demographic senior populations (within CL) required new approaches and the agency needed to evolve to meet those expanding needs.  Working with a new and distinct population requires learning new skills and developing new capacity in the staff.  That the capacity (literacy, numeracy etc) of the volunteer may not be what they say it is, or what the agency understood it to be and the importance of building the necessary capacities of the volunteers in the training.    Tamarack: Are there any particular good news stories that point to the success of the program you would be open to sharing?       You mentioned that some of the volunteers have gone on to get jobs due to their experience with this program.   DCS: The volunteers gained skills in literacy, numeracy, record keeping, listening and telephone skills.  They reported experiencing a greater sense of self-worth.  In addition, they felt a sense of pride in giving back and feeling needed and appreciated.  Additional reported benefits were greater social skills, increased comfort in social situations and increasing their social networks by making friends in the program with other volunteers.  Most impressive was the fact that one of our 30 volunteers began to volunteer outside the FCP with another agency based on his improved confidence and social skills.  He now volunteers with a Long Term Care facility working with other seniors.  In another wonderful example, another volunteer was able to secure employment as a receptionist based, as she reported, on the fact that she had gained the necessary experience and confidence in the FCP.  She reported to us that she had relied on that in her interview for the position and that she had confidence that she could do the job because of her FCP experience.    Staff reported that they witnessed increased confidence in the volunteers and that the volunteers basic skills in literacy and numeracy had improved   Tamarack: What would you do differently ?   DCS: Conduct a needs assessment to determine the needs of the seniors population (both clients and their parents)-conduct an environmental scan and develop a demographic profile.  Involve the staff more – greater division of work load of program responsibilities, more staff input in defining the staff responsibilities.  Reduce the number of surveys conducted per year ( 4 surveys is too many). Develop and be more creative in the marketing strategy.     Tamarack: What has been the biggest challenge ?   DCS: The lower than expected uptake of CL seniors (we may have been overly optimistic).  Many of the seniors who would benefit from the program were reluctant to take help. The years of self-reliance and their capacity to deal with adversity had created a population reluctant to accept that they could benefit from the help being offered.  Finding the internal staff resources to support the program.  The amount of support and constant reinforcement the volunteers needed.  That there was no where to turn for answers as we were cutting new ground with this program.      Tamarack: What would you suggest to other agencies that wish to duplicate this program ?   DCS: Just do it !.   Have patience, working with distinct populations will have successes and failures and be very rewarding.   Make sure your financial are well worked out – given sufficient budget.  Be clear and upfront about what resources you need to make the program happen and ask for that.  Have a clear understanding between partners as to who does what and when – the roles and responsibilities- reporting procedures and accountability.  Appreciate your partner agency, good compatibility is key – compatible operating styles and organizational culture is important.  Give yourself plenty of lead time in creating the program, it will take longer than you think.  Have dedicated staff to oversee the program; with clear job descriptions, roles and responsibilities.  All challenges are surmountable if reasonably addressed.     The seniors of CL pride themselves on their independence and self-reliance and might not want to recognize or admit that they could benefit from the program- they are hard to get involved and the approach needs to be specific to their unique characteristics – ``help-us help our volunteers``.   Initially most CL seniors saw their involvement as an opportunity to help the volunteers, the uptake would not have been so appealing if marketed to them as helping them as isolated seniors.  The language needs to be modified in the approach….as a way to help rather than being helped.   The fundamental notion that CL clients were looking for an opportunity to feel worthwhile was borne out.  Training is critical for the CL volunteers; providing clear job descriptions so that participants know what to expect and that coaching and experiential leaning was vital. Follow-up – quality control with the seniors to check on how they and the volunteers were doing.   Invest in a consultant, the program couldn’t have been achieved without the extra head and hands and expertise to develop the model and the training modules     Tamarack: What hasn’t worked well ?   DCS: The timing of the start-up. September was not a good time of the year to launch a program.   Lack of sufficient clarity within the agencies about who is responsible for what aspect of the program- the division of responsibilities (job descriptions and roles would make it less difficult).  Some of the volunteers found the paperwork overwhelming and we need to consider the balance between the benefits to them of having them involved and the non-negotiable reporting requirements of the funder.  Keeping expectations realistic in terms of building the program (uptake and recruitment challenges).          

1000 Conversations - A discussion about 'Community' with the HOPE House Team

At HOPE House, we are all about community and community building, coming together as one to help each other, and giving back to the community. Here is a conversation we had about the meaning of 'community' and what it means to HOPE House.  Those participating in the conversation were Derek Alton - Tamarack Campaign Animator (facilitating), Karen Kamphuis - Executive Director, HOPE House, Lindsay Sytsma - Development Director, HOPE House, JP Valeriote - Associate Director, HOPE House, Brooke Burnet - Backpack Program Coordinator, Calista Naismith - Food Market Coordinator, HOPE House, Nicole Sanvido - Coop Student, HOPE House, Lisa - Key Volunteer - HOPE House, Kevin - Key Volunteer - HOPE House, and Nick - Exchange Student from Quebec volunteering at HOPE House. Question: What is a memorable experience of community for you and why is this a memorable experience? WeWe noticed that often, community comes together from a negative scenario, like a disaster or other tragic event. it isn't often that a community comes together voluntarily as a result of a 'positive' event, which is unfortunate. We would like to see 'community' coming together for more positive reasons. Here are some of our own personal experiences with 'community':  ·      Nick –I remember once, in Quebec during a street party, everyone put aside their differences and were able to get together as a community and have an inclusive day...it was unusual for this to happen without a negative event bringing the community together.  ·      Lindsay – All of our group stories [about community] revolved around food. Food was always an element… we discussed Nick Saul (of The Stop in Toronto) and how food can create community. This plays a large role in our efforts at HOPE House with our Food Market and the ideas behind our Edu-Kitchen programs. ·      Derek – I grew up in a Mennonite church where 3 families made up most of the church. It was a giant family where every year, they would do a church retreat, 60 people or so, would all go to a retreat center for the weekend. Everyone went, the whole church came together. Families all hung out together, kids who were older and younger, everyone was a community throughout the week and the year but that weekend it was particularly deep. ·      Kevin – I started school in a one room public school. You could sit and listen to the stories of the students ahead of you. I was getting advanced knowledge. Out in the playground, the older protected the younger. When you are vying for who is in charge, in the grades together, there was a system where they knew what their roles were and what their job was. You knew who you could turn to. ·      Derek – we talk a lot about community, it has become a buzzword. What do we mean by community, and what does community mean to you? ·      Lisa – Coming together with who you want to be with. ·      Cali – A huge element of sharing ·      JP – Coming together for a common good. ·      Kevin – My question is, are there boundaries to a community? Is it just your city block? ·      JP – There is a global community too. What would it take to get everyone together? It would take something that is challenging everyone in the world. If it is a global challenge, all of a sudden the earth is all one because there is something bigger than the earth. ·      Derek – Do we need adversity to bring people together? ·      JP – Adversity seems like the most frequent thing that brings everyone together. It is unfortunate that it is the reality. ·      Karen – I think we live too independently ·      Cali – Everyone is continually pushing towards independence. Pushing to gain success and independence in a world where we are constantly community. ·            Lindsay – I feel sometimes that the people who want to seek their own selfish desires isolate themselves. ·      Karen –There is now this generation that has idolized the independent structure. I think back to my family almost being the smallest family and we had four kids in our family….everyone was part of a larger family, part of a sharing and working together. Now a days you just don’t see this, not as we used to. ·      Lisa – As people, we scatter. When I was little, really young, we were close with our immediate family. Then we moved here and one person moved there and it is a major ordeal for us to get together. Friends we make where we relocate to are becoming family. ·      JP – The idea of neighbours.. how well do we know our neighbours? If I know our neighbour, and our neighbour is having a problem I am more inclined to help possibly. This is a way of building community...getting to know one another may make it more likely that we will help one another out. ·      Brooke – That reminds me of how when you leave home and go away to unversity, you become so close with your 'neighbours' by getting to know them that they really become your family. As we all 'scatter' we develop a closeness with our friends that become almost like a substitute for having our family near. I think this is a really unique sense of community that forms this way. When you are living in such close quarters in residence with people you don't really know, who aren't your family, I think it is amazing how quickly strangers can become your closest friends who you would do anything for.  ·      Cali – Unfortunately some families themselves are placing less and less priority on ‘community' I think. I can’t imagine living I Calgary (where I go to school) for the rest of my life because community and family is so important to me. Technology has really changed the way ‘community’ has been over the years. ·      Derek – My housemate has been focusing on moving his parents close to him in Guelph instead of their hometown.  When I went to Palestine a few years ago, I stayed with a family where each floor was a different generation/member of the family. ·      Kevin – We laugh and criticize Middle Eastern culture sometimes, but look at a lot of families of this culture and the amazing sense of community they have, for example families who still support their families from accross the world, sending money, working day in and day out to make sure the needs of their family are met.   ·      Lindsay – I know a family who owns a business together and has three generations living in the same house. This is such a sense of community in the family sense.  ·      Derek – Family is very important to me but moving into a house with my parents is never a thought in my mind. ·      Karen – We host a lot of Japanese exchange students in our home, who come from families that live with grandparents, parents… whole generations. This is so common in some cultures but almost foreign to us. ·      Derek – Sometimes moving away seems crazy. Bringing the focus back to HOPE House, what does this community mean to you? ·      Kevin – For me, it is a sense of my heritage that I am revisiting. My great great grandfather was from around here, our whole family left but now I have returned. I feel a sense of home and heritage here that I haven’t felt anywhere else that I have lived. I feel I am getting values back to where it was. I don’t want Guelph to go by way of Toronto and parts of the states. I grew up in a stone house, went to a stone church, I see symbolism in this that I'm now back in an old stone church at HOPE House. I know the world is moving on but I want to feel that anchor and foundation here in Guelph. ·      Cali – For me it is a place of connection here. I never get connected to people who are struggling financially. With a western mentality you don’t often see everyone around you, you have your goal and you see the people you want to see. You can learn about others and learn about what they face every day and what they face. The life that I live is so different than the life that they live. It is an interesting way of connecting with people from all walks of life.  It gives you a whole different perspective. ·      Karen -  By being a new organization, you have the ability to create and build what you would like it to be. There were some other organizations that we clearly knew we didn’t want to be like. That was a big piece of building a community here. We have the ability to create a place here where people feel welcome, and it is a warm and caring environment. Going  back to what Kevin said, buildinig on the old values and putting them back in place. ·      JP – I see it as a really level playing field, people come how they are. We have always promoted it as a come as you are kind of place. One of the community feelings here is that we all treat each other with dignity and respect. Certain things that seem to matter so much in other places don’t seem to matter so much here It really seems to  be a level playing field. ·      Lisa – joining together the level playing field and the diversity. HOPE House has moved so quickly I cannot get over it. We haven’t even been open a year but the things that we do and the people that come in here just blows my mind. A lot of times people come in the door and leave their negtivity out there, come in and we can sit down and have a coffee and speak as equals. It isn’t always the case but as soon a they walk in the door it is a different situation. ·      Brooke – The HOPE House community is just amazing to me. it is amazing how in such little time, so much has been accomplished. The scope of people the come in to HOPE House, both as volunteers and clients, the sheer number is amazing. It already has such a presence in the Guelph community, it can only get better from here. To me, HOPE House has the potential to be a great facilitator of community in Guelph. Clients come in and volunteer to help other clients...it isn't just an 'us' versus 'them' type of place. This is a work-together-live-together type of place, where everyone is equal, which I think is a huge aspect of community. I think it is really great how many people in the greater Guelph community are so willing to get involved and give back, to really help each other out. The neat thing is that our community at HOPE House is based on a strong foundation of dignity and respect for everyone that walks through that door, which I just think is so fantastic.  ·      Lisa – You may be helping the clients by giving them food/clothes/etc, but they’re helping you too. ·      Kevin – I appreciate the opportunity to give back to what I’m receiving. ·      Karen – We want to stress that relationship is key. Building relationships is so important to us. Building a deeper connection is paramount.  ·      Derek – Nicole… when you first came here what was your first thought? ·      Nicole – I really agree that this is a place of community, and it is really cool that the volunteers giving back. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that brings people together at HOPE House, it is just life. ·      Nick – I like the fact that people enter here and it is like their home, its like their life. We give our time to make them happy. Some feedback from our clients on a poster that asked 'Why is HOPE House important to You?" returned some pretty cool answers... The volunteers are great, as well as others.  It gives me the resources to refresh myself A fresh cool meal on a hot day is exactly what I need The staff and volunteers are awesome HOPE House gives me a chance to feel productive and helpful, helping out in the community. ·      Derek – So why is this important to you? ·      Kevin – HOPE House has given me purpose to my life. It has meant a lot to me. ·      Lisa – it has given me the opportunity to be the hands and feet of what God wants me to do. My life is crazy busy and sometimes it gets lost in every day life. For most of us in here, in my everyday life that often gets pushed aside. When I come in here, it is almost like an ‘ahhh’ moment. It is a different sense of crazy. Sometimes it’s a challenge but its always entertaining. ·      Lindsay – I worked at another nonprofit, but I believe so much in what this place is doing, it isn’t a chore to be here. I get paid to do exactly what I want to do with my life. I can’t believe that I lucked out and what I love I can bring to a spiritual level. ·      Brooke – I feel like I've been searching for exactly what fits for me in terms of what sort of community outreach I'm passionate about, and I feel like I've found that at HOPE House. It is so great to hear that we are actually making a difference for people, and create a space where they feel safe, welcomed, and respected. HOPE House has a way of making you feel like you've found your 'place' regardless if you are a client, volunteer or staff member, I think. You can't not love it here.  ·      Karen – I think sometimes when you come at it from many different places, your life experiences come into play. I used to have a career in sales and marketing and it was a very successful career. But I wanted to do something more meaningful. I came to nonprofit to find more meaning. I feel very fulfilled here and very blessed to be here. ·      Cali – For me, it’s a privilege to be able to work in a place like this. It kind of came landing in  my lap. I feel like the clients give me more than I give them. I don’t feel like I’m coming to work. I would do this without getting paid. Just the interactions of the people and coworkers all have the same mentality. We don’t see people as a burden and we see them as a gift upon us and a blessing to be around. ·      Derek -  My next question for you, is where do you find the deepest sense of community and connection happening at HOPE House? ·      Lisa – I find it happening downstairs, around food. Its fun more than anything. ·      Kevin – I think unloading the truck. ·      Karen – I think it is in the doing of life together. ·      Lindsay – Our conversations of life together. Talking to people while im taking pictures in the hair salon or the cadence program, being out and around involved with the programs and interacting with clients. ·      Kevin – Back to the food, I know the plan is to do more. Times like when have pancake breakfast, people came from all different businesses to come together. Everyone took a station and volunteered and everyone all worked together. We had everyone working at it. All working side by side. ·      Brooke – I find that in calling for donations or community involvement, it is so great to see how eager people in the community are to get involved or help in some way. It's like if you ask for help, people are ready and willing to do so more often than not, which is amazing. The postive feedback I've had far outweighs any negative feedback in terms of willingness to hear more about HOPE House, our programs, and getting involved. ·      Cali – Walking around with the clients and taking them through the food market. We are talking about what food they like to make, having conversations about their life. It is a unique experience where you both have to be there at that moment. I get to share my life with them and they get to share their life with me. There is no where else we are meant to be right then. We have a divine appointment to be sharing in community. ·      Derek – We've been focusing so much on community, why it makes you and why it has such a deep sense of it here for you.  Where do we go from here? What aspirations do you have for this place? What aspirations do you have to build community? ·      Kevin – I think we’ve developed it in a short period of time. It’s been built faster than we can keep up with. Thinks like this, like our Backpack Project growing from 240 last year to 740 this year, it keeps growing….its like a nucleus here. There really isn’t a lot of time for us to think of what we want out of it. I would like to see going out from here. I’d love to see ‘HOPE in Motion’ and have a truck doing deliveries and sharing further with the community. Communication is so much, as Brooke said, when people are asked to participate in an opportunity to give they are so willing to participate. That is our challenge, to keep up with God’s plan. ·      Karen – I think we need to open to the opportunities that come our way. There have been so many things that have come our way, responding to our clients needs, that are constantly responding to where people are at or where they need to be going to make life a little better. ·      Lindsay – We try to take a more holistic approach, building skills into people to help elminiate needs. We try to build education to help eliminate needs holistically. ·      Derek – A wrap-around program seems like a newer concept, where the idea is that we are so much more than one person. We want to provide for all of them. To have ‘wrap-around’ care. The Working Center is another place I keep mentioning. ·      Karen – A lady from Acton had come in to visit and told us how awesome the Working Center was. ·      Derek – It’s a thing like, what can we be 20 or 30 years down the road. They have so many different facets. There are a lot of people who want to get into the service sector but have no way to.  Downtown kitchener is interesting because you have so much poverty contrasting with so much wealth. If you want to find a place doing cool things similar to yourselves, check out the working center. ·      Kevin – I think it is very valid to see that we aren’t building a totally unique place, that other communities are in need. I would like to see connections grow with places like Beginnings or Michael House, where we can send people their way and they can send them ours. ·      Derek – What has stood out for you from this conversation?  ·      Lisa – Mostly everyone has said that we all have a common goal and we can all do what we can to help us out. To help those who aren’t as fortunate and blessed as we are. ·      Lindsay – I love future planning and strategic planning, thinking of what has to be in place of where we are going. Its looking through the lens of how we are growing, and it cant just be about what we do and why we do it. It has reminded me that all future planning has to have that in mind ·      Cali – It reminds me how meaningful a place like this is and how important it is to maintain what we have, and push more community and invite others to join in on it. We all sit here and speak about how privileged we are and talk about how much we love this place. How can we invite others to join with us and join in in the change and the difference that’s going on in or. ·      Brooke – I think the idea of getting back to grassroots family values, the idea of basic respect/understading/dignity towards one another is so important.  ·      Nicole – this is a great community in itself, we are doing a lot as it is. I noticed coming to HOPE House that they go above and beyond. Other organizations aren’t as ‘specialized.’ I hope HOPE House can be a spark to something big. ·      JP – I’m reminded that there is no community without people. Something like this doesn’t grow and expand without really big vision here. Karen has wonderful ‘vision’ going down the road. One of my strengths is people, community in general is about people and the need to be near people.  ·      Karen – In order to build community out there we need to have a good foundational community amongst us. That can only mean that when we go out in the broader community we will be stronger together. ·      Kevin – I see the nucleus of the start of HOPE House, Karen began and everyone followed, coming in and developing and working with that. A lot of people that come in for the short term, we see postitive changes come in  their space. We see a lot of value changes come into the community. This is something we could be more conscious of that part of us is out there with and will bring some of that. ·      Nick – We speak about the community. I see that people here are very helpful. We don’t have a place like HOPE House in Quebec, I see how you are closer than us, I’m proud. In Quebec it is more everyone for himself, but here it is more everyone helping each other. Here if I see people who aren't able to cross a road, everyone is here to help him.  ·      Derek – Kevin, you talked about the one room school house and the sene of community that happened between age groups. It is something I’ve spent time thinking about. The real value of that space, being in the community and connecting together. It has become much more fractured but also more harmonized. We are a community where people get together in same age brackets as ourselves, I would like to see more models of the one room school house that you mentioned, everyone working together. ·      Kevin – Here at Cadence, our alternative high school program, you could see all the different grade working together like that. I really admire that.  ·      Derek – The reason we get in this line of work is because we believe we have calling, a duty to help. But what we may not realize is how big of an impact that working with each and every one of us has an impact on each of us. It is something we don’t recognize when we come into it. But evenjust being here for an hour with all of you has impacted me.