Building community in a city of over a million (busy) people can be difficult, but at work, it is one of the things we strive to empower Calgarians to create, and the first thing we tell them is that community always starts at home. But what does that mean?
For a while now, I have really struggled with the idea of a 'Random Acts of Community' project- similar to random acts of kindness, but with a focus on connecting with your neigbourhood and the wonderful individuals, families and local businesses and organizations that make it that way. I knew this was something I really wanted to do and I had endless ideas of how to do it, but I could never figure out how or where to start, so the idea always seemed quite daunting. On Thursday evening, I had a (wonderful, much overdue) girls night with some of the most incredible and inspiring ladies I know. We have all worked together at one point or another and it seems that anytime we start talking, the conversation quickly transitions to something very deep, meaningful, and filled with inspiration. On the drive home (at 2am!) I got to thinking about how to start my community building project when it suddenly came to me - This would be the perfect thing to start as '12 days of Christmas'. Incorporating local businesses we frequent, the areas of our neighbourhood we spend a lot of time at, and the wonderful and unique residence in our community- each day will have a different act, but all will have an underlying message of being kind to one another and passing along the love. I will share my individual projects with you as the days get closer, but for now, I just wanted to share the idea of it all in the hopes that it might spark something in some of you. What can we all do to help connect and strengthen our communities? When you start to think about it, the possibilities really are endless!
Side note: The Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, has an amazing initiative called 3 Things for Calgary. The idea of it is simple - do something to engage with your community and get to know the people that surround us each day- Start a conversation with the person beside you on the bus, open a bottle of wine on your front porch and invite people from your street over to share, write to your alderman with your ideas and feedback or attend a city council meeting, volunteer your skills to an organization whose mandate aligns with your beliefs or values, get involved with a community garden, or attend community events (there are TONS of things happening with Christmas around the corner!) - just find three things that matter to you, go out and do them, then tell people about them! The impact this can have on our community, our city, and the world at large is endless!
Some great ideas and inspiration for a random acts project can be found HERE or HERE.