Unity makes us Stronger

March 16, 2018

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A Part of My Community

February 27, 2018

Fifty local citizens, reflecting the diversity of Parry Sound gathered and connected at the Community Hub on Gibson Street. People listened to the live music of local artist Shawn Kerr and heard heart-felt stories shared by four local storytellers. People talked with neighbours and then shared an incredible meal together. The event was A Part of My Community named because we wanted each person who attended to leave feeling more connected to each other. The project was funded by the Community Foundations of Canada in light of Canada 150, so planners felt it was best to design the project in a way that reflected the diversity of Canadian communities.

The highly-skilled Lynda Kahn and Jack Pearpoint facilitated the conversations and created and artistic rendition of the evenings flow.  Four citizens of Parry Sound shared with the rest of the group about how they realized their gifts, found their voice and how they came to make Parry Sound their home. These courageous speakers, Nicole Boyd, Jennifer Jaensch, Alhan Rahimi, and Sara Burns, connected people who previously had no connection by using nothing but their stories. The safe space this created empower the audience to speak to the person they sat next to and share their own story (photo). Participants were given blank cards to exchanged contact information with each other.  Everyone was given the gift of a ‘Bag of Knowledge’ – an environmentally friendly tote bag containing all sorts of information about events and opportunities around Parry Sound so they could find places they felt they belonged.

A special thank you goes to Brandi and Bill from the Community Kitchens Seniors Group for preparing the healthy and fresh appetizers; to Jodi and Jamie Contin for your tremendous (and delicious) efforts in preparing Nish tacos for us all; and to Blair Cousins and his High Skills Major Catering Class at the Parry Sound High School for wowing us with your beautiful desserts. This event would not have been a success without any of your efforts.

We asked Jodi Baker-Contin of Wasauksing to provide our facilitators, Lynda and Jack, with a thank-you gift. As Jodi shared the gift with them, she told a memory of her and her siblings carefully crafting Quill boxes for their grandmother to sell so that they could afford to eat. Her sister had hand-crafted a Quill box especially for them only 15 hours earlier. Lynda and Jack, who work closely with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, were visibly moved by this incredible and touching gift (photo).  This reflects one of the most amazing things about A Part of My Community – the unpredictability of asking people to share their stories; how moving the authenticity of it was.

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