Resilient Streets Helps Us Create Important Connections
by Laura Swaffield
The importance of a strong and healthy community can often be forgotten in the fast-paced lifestyle of today. Whistler is a town with many opportunities to build and develop connections, but with improvements in technology and the development of social media, are real connections starting to take a backseat?
When I first started working as the Resilient Streets Coordinator, I was unsure about how receptive people would be to the program. I was trying to get people to apply for money and take on a project with their neighbours, so my main concern was that people would think it was a lot of work. Being the skeptical Millennial that I am, I was prepared for endless excuses about why people didn’t need to know their neighbours or about how busy they were; fortunately, I was wrong!
I met tons of people who were ready to step up to the plate and organize a community-building event in their neighbourhood. While I encountered people who were uninterested in the program, the experiences I shared with the people who truly see the value in building strong relationships inspired me. I was optimistic about the direction of the Resilient Streets Whistler program and was excited about the project ideas people shared with me.
With the help of a $200 micro-grant, these highly motivated residents were able to create a variety projects and events that helped build a sense of community and foster a feeling of belonging in their neighbourhood.
The funding provided by the Community Foundation of Whistler and PlanH (a BC Healthy Communities Society and Healthy Families BC initiative) has allowed many people to implement a community initiative that they are passionate about. From a young family wanting to raise their daughter in a safe neighbourhood to a whole street determined to reduce their risk to wildfires, the projects that were made possible thanks to the micro-grants have enormous benefits that extend well beyond the project itself.
The connections made by spending time with people who live nearby may seem small, but they are truly fundamental to one’s health and happiness. As we face the uncertainties of what the future may bring, like climate change and financial disparities, a greater sense of community and social connectedness helps us become resilient in response to these challenges. And of course, our connections help us overcome smaller challenges too, like running out of sugar halfway through a recipe!
Resilient Streets Whistler grants are available until September 15, 2018. Start your application today!
Vital Connections combines the community engagement element of the Community
Foundation of Whistler’s Vital Signs and up to $10,000 of micro-grants from Whistler Centre’s Whistler Resilient Streets to build and then celebrate connections in Whistler neighbourhoods this fall.part of making Vital Connections in 2018 by building then celebrating our community.