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March 6th, 2017

A Community for All: The Art of Belonging


Here in Waterloo Region, we have many people, places, organizations and initiatives all vested  in a single, shared dream – a Waterloo Region where all experience a warm, inviting sense of belonging.

If I were to name only a few, like House of Friendship’s John Neufeld, along with his dedicated Board members, staff and volunteers have made belonging a central tenant to their vision of a healthy community. Then, of course, there is Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership, comprised of organizations and community partners in settlement, health, community, social services, business, and employment and education systems. Within their work, they have focused on three pillars, one of which being belonging. The Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre completed a survey, polling for data on the importance of belonging on one’s health. We also have The KW Community Foundation that uses the concept of belonging to better understand the needs in this particular community, publishing Waterloo Region Vital Signs. They have entire granting streams dedicated to projects that strive to address and increase belonging in our beloved community.  Then, of course, there is the developmental sector within which I work, where organizations like Planned Lifetime Networks, New Story Group, KW Habilitation, Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region and Bridges to Belonging Waterloo Region, have made a firm commitment to the concept.

What becomes apparent is that this concept of belonging is integral to our community. We seek it, study it, look to increase it, and finally, we are eager to celebrate it. We are eager to hear the stories where people share testimony about how belonging has shown up in their life. How it has made significant impact on their everyday story. This need to celebrate is why we are so excited to bring The Art of Belonging to Waterloo Region. We are eager to share in the celebration and learning that Partners for Planning is hosting in Toronto, where they invited six very special guests to share their stories. We are eager to engage in this very same conversation, locally, on the power of belonging and community. It is our hope that by tapping into these amazing speakers, we can help continue and further the story of belonging in Waterloo Region. Think new thoughts. Ponder different perspectives. Consider contextual and/or cultural variations.

We hope that many different people, from many different walks of life, will consider joining us on March 30th at The Museum for this free event. With time both before and after the speakers, we hope attendees will feel free to bring a local context to the stories we are hearing – find the parallels, the similar struggles and the powerful victories.

Click here to find out more, and to reserve your spot, as space is limited.