Being part of a community

Katrina Breen
People have always lived in groups, or communities. Being part of a community is important for people. I like being involved in different communities. They are about connecting with each other. I belong to a yoga group and a mental health support group. It is an opportunity to make friends, have interesting discussions and help one another. There are community programs people can join. In the Street by Street program you can volunteer to help people in your neighbourhood. In The Sharehood program you share your time, skills and equipment to people nearby. I would like to start my own neighbourhood community.
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Katrina Breen on 10/09/2012
Three women's hands holding each other.

It's an opportunity to make friends.

Community is important to human beings. Our ancient ancestors lived in tribes as hunters/gatherers working together for basic survival and raising children. In some cultures people still live in this traditional way.

As societies change over time, different types of communities are formed. One simple description of community can be people supporting each other in an inclusive way,and sharing their qualities and gifts.

My communities

One of the communities I belong to is a yoga group. Those of us who have been initiated within this yoga lineage believe we share the vibration of our guru. This special connection helps pave the way to developing friendships.

The DiVine website is also a community because we all benefit by reading each others' stories and comments, including the stories that advocate changes to the lives of people with disabilities.

A sense of community means a lot to me. I am interested in seeing new communities start up, and seeing existing groups look for ways to work together and achieve new goals.

Neighbourhood communities

I went to a conference on communities run by an organisation called Civil Society. It had presentations on programs and projects including The Sharehood. This program is about sharing your time, skills, knowledge and equipment with your neighbours and people in nearby suburbs.

Another program is Street By Street. It is an Australia-wide neighbourhood program that involves helping those who need it due to age, illness or disability. It can involve doing something as simple as volunteering to put someone's rubbish bin out for them.

A person who receives help using Street By Street also has the opportunity to help others, if there are ways in which they are capable and wish to do so. I think this is very important. Street by Street can be started by anyone in any neighbourhood.

Setting up my own community

Living in a city, a lot of people are too busy or may not be interested in talking with their neighbours. This is why I have yet to try starting up a community network like Street by Street in my neighbourhood.

A friend recently suggested I could put a notice in a local community centre offering to help someone for free. For example, I might do someone's grocery shopping if they're unable to do so themselves. I thought that was a fantastic idea. Start by carrying out the actions myself.

Mental health community

Past DiVine writer Heidi Everett has begun a group called POWERS, which currently meets for two hours on the second Friday of each month at the North Melbourne Town Hall.

POWERS is for people who have a mental illness. It is suitable for people wanting friendly group support, including those interested in helping to make a difference. Group discussions to get us started have included the topics, who we are as individuals, What makes us tick? and what we can offer the group.

POWERS is exciting for me because I can contribute by helping people to help themselves so they can do what they want in life. I suggest ideas for group discussion activities relating to self-discovery, pursuing goals, identity, overcoming resistance and uncovering personal gifts.

I am grateful to have these opportunities to be an active community participant. It gives me a lot to look forward to.

Street By Street

POWERS, contact Heidi at,

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If you want to find more information on Street by Street, it can be found on the website for Civil Society!

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