Belonging, we can do this | Day 2 #12DaysforGood

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-by Deborah Currie

When it comes to Belonging, our community is good. But we are not great. We are moving in the right direction, but as reported in this year’s Waterloo Region Vital Signs, there is a lukewarm sense of Belonging in our community.

We have amazing organizations in our region working hard connecting with our residents to include them in community, and they have introduced some remarkable initiatives to help their stakeholders gain a sense that they Belong. Organizations such as: The House of Friendship; The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation; The Cambridge and North Dumfries Community Foundation; Marillac Place – a shelter for homeless pregnant young women; and the University of Waterloo are all doing incredible work. Spreading this good work more widely across our region is vital, especially as we look forward to welcoming a brave group of newcomers from Syria who, no doubt, will be feeling an enormous sense of abandonment, the exact opposite of Belonging.

I can’t begin to imagine how it would feel to wake up tomorrow and have my home, my possessions and keepsakes, the lives of my mother and father and friends, taken away from me. Gone, just like that. For no fault of my own. And then, no less, to be exiled from this beautiful community, this country, that I have grown up in for over 40 years. Can you? The only think that would get me through is hope. Hope that there is a new place where I can feel safe, with new friends who will understand, appreciate and love me. A place where I can be welcomed by good people who want to build authentic relationships with me, with whom I can share new experiences and customs, while feeling safe to celebrate my own culture and traditions. A new place where I can Belong.

We can do this. I know that this wonderful community will come through for these newcomers, and also for those who already live among us who feel that they don’t Belong. Through our organizations, or as individuals, we can do this.

During this #12daysforgood campaign, and after, I pledge to be mindful of sharing experiences, and engaging sincerely with people in my community as my small way of contributing to building a sense of

Belonging. And I look forward to being inspired by others who I know will do the same.

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