Giving Tuesday: Building community and belonging in South Saskatchewan

In the 2016 Vital Signs report for the Regina Area, the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, in collaboration with a large number of social impact sector representatives, embraced a theme of ‘belonging’ to explore how investment in our community can increase community vitality. The report notes that there are still many who don’t have a strong sense of community belonging and that a majority of Canadians do not live in the community they grew up in.

The data within the report reinforces the importance of engaging in the process of Reconciliation with Indigenous and Métis Peoples, welcoming newcomers and building economic inclusion if Regina is to be a vital community for every person.

Our research shows that southern Saskatchewan’s reputation as a caring place is in need of constant reflection. While many people are doing well, our community has work to do to address critical issues such as affordable housing, food security, ensuring a living wage, access to healthcare, and improving graduation rates that underpin equality of opportunity. Without equality of opportunity, there is not a full sense of community belonging.

When each of us engages by participating actively in our communities, we all benefit. It positively affects our sense of belonging. Belonging helps young people find jobs, do better in school and improves their mental health indicators. It supports older people to be healthy, redefines their role in society, and leads to longer lives. It begins with learning more about our neighbors, their histories and then taking action to support them, welcome them, invite them into our homes, places of community gathering and our workplaces.

Right now is the perfect time to take action. Tuesday, November 29th marks Giving Tuesday. This is a movement happening in more than 70 countries and is a collective call to all Canadians to build their communities through gifts of time, talent and resources. It’s a day when we formally kick off the “giving season” and celebrate that active participation in our communities.

This is a guest post from Christina Attard, Executive Director with the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation. SSCF believes in building our future as a community through dialogue and the power of philanthropy. To learn more read the Regina Area Vital Signs Report at www.sscf.ca/vital-signs and consider a gift to a charity of choice at www.communityfoundations.ca/find-a-community-foundation or  www.canadahelps.org.

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