Optimistic Thoughts for a New Year
I recently heard a radio show about what we could be optimistic about. Every day we are bombarded with news that shows that our future is uncertain. In the face of this unrelenting torrent, it is sometimes difficult to be optimistic. Yet, what is there without hope?
A Dream of Hope
I created the Happy Community Project™ because I am hopeful that we, the real and ordinary people of our world, do not have to passively accept a fate designed by others. That we can create a new destiny of self-reliance, wellbeing and resiliency. It is founded on the simple idea that when we are socially connected across our diversity, we will take care of each other. Our rallying cry is, “There is no they should…., only we should….”
The Happy Community Project™ is barely one year old and it has proven that my hope is well founded. Most people want to make a difference. Most people want real personal connections. And there is a growing desire to return to some old-fashioned ideas like talking with each other, making real friends, and taking responsibility for our community.
I have been inspired by the hundreds of people who have shown The Happy Community Project™ is a social experiment that is baring fruit. Every day I get enquiries from people who say they want to help, who want to be part of and who want to bring the Happy Community Project™ to their community.
From our early experiments in Sackville, to North End Halifax where they hold quarterly potlucks (yes – communities can have potlucks), to Windsor / West Hants where we have really shown what can happen when citizens put their mind to it, The Happy Community Project™ has renewed my optimism.
600 citizens cheered on by 5000 of their neighbours have established a farmer’s market, the community gardens, a community farm that supplies the local foodbank, Welcome Newcomers that socially connects new citizens to the community, the Ellershouse breakfast which regularly brings 250 citizens together, the Greatest Community Picnic Ever and the Corn Boil Challenge. The citizens of Windsor / West Hants are developing new projects that will continue to create opportunities for citizens to come together across their differences. For example, Grab a Meal, My Community Kitchen Party and Adopt a Grandparent are in the works. And we are developing a better way to let people know of the more than 3000 events that happen each year that bring people together. And that is just 14 months of activities in one community.
The Happy Community Project™ has also become truly international with our launch in Calcutta India a few weeks ago and an invite to participate in the World Community Development Conference in Scotland. In India, a strong leadership team is preparing to launch Clean our Neighbourhood program across Calcutta with the real objective to bring people of different religions and castes together around a common deed.
And of course, we have received lots of recognition from Universities, Governments and the media. On average, we are in the news once every two weeks and Universities like Yale, Dalhousie, Acadia, St Marys, and Mount Allison have commented on our results and have cited us in articles.
All this has shown me what is possible and has given me hope. We can make a difference that matters. And I am truly grateful for this.
I have learned we have lots to be optimistic about. We live in a world of strong human spirit and we can use that to make sure our children and grandchildren have a good future.
We the people have the potential, the power and the ability to change our course of history.
But we have to be determined to make sure our world goes the way we want. The risk is being passive and leaving our destiny to others. We have to act on that determination – each in our own way. It doesn’t have to be big – it is in our collective shared activities that we have the power to shift history.
So I ask you this New Years Eve to reflect on what you are going to do differently? What contribution can you make that can move our history in a direction that is more hopeful? It is when we each actively take our responsibility for the future that we can collectively have real hope.
Thank you for being part of the Happy Community Project
And Happy New Year
A special thank you to all the businesses that have supported us in the past year