BELONGING

 

Belonging is feeling part of a community, embraced for who you are and valued for what you bring. – Belonging Group
In October 2019, Imagine Fox Cities (IFC), a visioning initiative focused on enhancing the well-being of folks in the region, held its first convening of more than 300 stakeholders from various sectors around the area. Throughout the day, across all discussions, one theme was central: the importance of belonging. As a result, the members of the IFC committee decided to make the promotion of belonging in the Fox Cities an initial focus of its work. This page is intended to provide information about the group’s work in this regard and more importantly, share information about how you can help to make our region a more inclusive place in which everyone who lives and works in the Fox Cities feels they belong. We hope you will join us in this important work!
The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.   – James Baldwin 

WHAT IT MEANS TO BELONG

HOW TO FOSTER BELONGING IN THE COMMUNITY

Community Commons- Dialogue guide to strengthen a sense of belonging and connection by reflecting on the personal and community impact of the coronavirus pandemic. http://www.communitycommons.org/entities/c707bce6-9309-43cd-8ca1-92e3e98f95d2

Principles & Practice of Community Placemaking- Guide to provide a basic understanding of key principles of community design for local officials, technical professionals and citizen planners involved in planning and development. https://blogs.extension.wisc.edu/community/files/2014/08/Placemaking-Document-Principles-and-Practice-of-Community-Placemaking-updated-5-14-14.pdf

Teaching Tolerance- Free resources to K-12 educators to supplement curriculum, inform practices, and create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants. https://www.tolerance.org/

Give Help, Get Help Fox Cities https://givehelpgethelpfoxcities.org/

Books on belonging, community, and togetherness. https://www.infosoup.info/booklist/togetherness

Tamarack Institute “Building Virtual Communities of Practice”- https://events.tamarackcommunity.ca/webinar-building-virtual-communities-of-practice

Tamarack Institute “Ending Loneliness and Social Isolation: A Public Health Perspective”- https://www.tamarackcommunity.ca/library/endling-loneliness-and-social-isolation

ABOUT THE BELONGING GROUP

PURPOSE

The purpose of the Belonging Working Group of the Imagine Fox Cities initiative is to serve as a catalyst for creating a community in which all who live in the region see themselves, their needs, contributions and culture, represented every day in the life and work of their community. Our efforts are intended to increase the ability of individuals to belong across all the constituencies within the Fox Cities region.

OBJECTIVES

Our objectives are to (1) educate the community about what it means to belong and strategies to promote a sense of belonging, (2) provide opportunities for active engagement in activities on the part of individuals, groups and institutions that facilitate greater empathy, trust, mutual understanding and cooperation among community members and 3) monitor and share our progress by identifying measures of belonging for the community as a whole and across various segments on a regular basis. 

Our ultimate goal is to promote positive change that enhances the wellbeing of all who live and work in the Fox Cities by convening, catalyzing, measuring, connecting and influencing members of the community to enhance the sense of belonging of everyone in our community.

OUR WORKING DEFINITION OF BELONGING

Feeling part of a community, embraced for who you are and valued for what you bring.

A few related terms are:

Community- A community is a unified body of individuals. For the purposes of our work, community refers to the municipalities, neighborhoods and affinity groups that make up the Fox Cities.

Social Connection- Social connectedness is a psychological term used to describe the quality and number of connections we have with other people in our social networks of family, friends and acquaintances. These connections can be both in real life, as well as online.

Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. —Brené Brown, Professor of social work at the University of Houston

Interdependence- A relationship among autonomous individuals who are emotionally, economically, ecologically and/or morally reliant on and responsible to each other. 

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