Meet your Alumni Council
Meet your 2019-2020 Councils! The students were all asked to answer the question “What does community mean to me?”
The Council is supported by:
Junior Council Coordinator, Vedanshi
Senior Council Coordinator, Keilin
Alumni Program Manager, Rachel
Heritage Fair project topic: Viola Desmond $10 bill
To me, a “community” is a place where everyone can be accepted for who they are, no strings attached. People don’t have to have the same beliefs, be from the same places or particularly enjoy each other’s company, but they care about each other and treat everyone like equals. Everyone should be able to be themselves without being criticized. A community is like a family, where everyone has a role and feels wanted. There’s a feeling of belonging. Communities are a place where everyone is respected, where people are willingly helping and making others feel better. Everyone is appreciated and gets a say, because in a community, everyone matters. People don’t have to be the same. Everyone is accepted, and that’s what makes communities unique – diverse cultures, experiences and ways of thinking. A community should be supportive of all its members and be willing to welcome new people. When a community’s bond grows strong enough, even if the community splits up for some reason, you’re still a part of it because you have that special connection to the other members. You know they’re thinking about you and they still care about you and support you, because a community should care about its members, because really, it’s not the community that makes the people, it’s the people that make a community.
Liam, South Vancouver Island
Heritage Fair project topic: Jimmy Chicken Island: From Partial Perspectives to Paddling Together
To me, community means a sense of belonging. Whether is a place or people, it is the feeling of being accepted and supported. The word community sounds like “common,” so I also think it can be a group that has similar interests and a common goal or purpose. There is a unity to this commonality, of looking for what brings people together. It is almost like what is more similar between people is more than what is different. I think community can achieve both great and simple things – from big things like changing the word in a global community, to small things, like making a friend feel good. Thinking about community makes me feel good, like I am not alone. It is like a blanket, keeping you safe and warm when it is cold outside. It is the way you can ask questions and not feel silly, like in a learning community. It can also be family, as a close community, or a good friend. I also find my neighbourhood is my community. When I walk to the library, I see my community and recognize the people who live on my street. The place and people become a part of me, and I feel like I belong. I remember hearing Senator Murray Sinclair talk about how important it is to feel a sense of belonging.
Heritage Fair project topic: W.O. Mitchell
Community to me means that it is a group of people that live in the same area and who share something in common. They work together and they may live in a city or out in the country. Members of a community solve problems together and they share common interests and goals. There are three types of communities: urban, rural and suburban. The area of Kamloops where I live is a suburban area because I am about 20 minutes away from my city center. We have a community center at my school that community members are able to use to hold meetings, vote and for various other activities. A community also has people in it like friends and neighbours who help us through difficult times. To live in a good community is to be in a safe and happy place where you feel love and support and where you are able to share common beliefs with others. It gives you a sense of belonging to other individuals.
Russ, Fraser Valley
Heritage Fair project topic: Building BC, The Indo-Canadian Pioneers of Paldi, on Vancouver Island
To me, a community is a group of people who have been able to accept and transcend their differences, regardless of the diversity of their backgrounds, whether it be on social, spiritual, educational, ethnic, economic, or political platforms. A large part of being connected in a community involves effective and open communication, which enables working together with common understandings and goals. The specific word ‘community’ often times simply refers to a specific group of people in a geographical location or people who are connected through a certain organization or passion. But, to me, it also describes a quality of a relationship where people have learned to live in terms of an interconnected ‘we’, in opposition to an isolated ‘I’. It involves making choices which reinforce a sense of belonging and interdependence that benefits everyone. I think that community begins, but doesn’t end, in direct relationships with those around us and feeling ‘accepted’ in a community can have such a positive influence on an individual.
Heritage Fair project topic: A Tale of Two Towns
One way I think about community is geographically. A good example is the Dunbar community, the area that I (and the past three generations of my family) have been living in. A community evolves over time, and while a community’s immediate goals may change, there is always a drive towards mutual cooperation and respect between its members. Dunbar as changed drastically over the years, after suffering through the Great Depression and war years, high-rolling post-war period, and more lately a focus on heritage and local history. The ethnicity of Dunbar’s inhabitants changed as well, going from predominantly Caucasian to a much more cosmopolitan community now. Other community types are more abstract. One example of a dispersed community is the soccer community. The players on my soccer team come from all over the city, and we play against teams as far away as Burnaby. The soccer community evolves over time, as the popularity of soccer in the Lower Mainland area waxes and wanes, but maintains a drive towards a fun and fair experiences for all players and coaches. An example of a partly geographical community is the school community I am currently in. Students meet in one place but come from all over the city, with a shared goal of developing academic and social skills in the students.
Heritage Fair project topic: The Duplessis Orphans
Community to me means a lot more than words can explain, but I guess it’s a sense of belonging and being a part of a team. A community is a group of people who supports one another endlessly, helps one another with their goals, and they care greatly for one another. Everyone constantly has collective tasks and goals, but sometimes these assignments will only work if we come together as one. Sometimes we may get lost. We may be going through a hard time. Or maybe we need a little push to get us back on our feet. Sometimes we just need an encouraging community that brings us that positive challenge, supportiveness and trustworthiness. Many of us have been through the same obstacles and may have the same goals. This brings us together to pass on prior knowledge to one another and work on our goals not individually, but as a group. A community is made up of us. If it were just me, or just you, there wouldn’t be much to it, but together, we make a safe, welcoming, and happier community. A community is more than just a group of people who happen to live around you. A community is known to be a group of people who you can lean on and trust when times are tough. My community includes my family, friends, teachers and so many more. I’m so grateful that I’m a part of such a loving, trustworthy, and hopeful community that I know I can count on.
Heritage Fair projects: My Family Immigration from China to Canada, Canadian Pacific Railroad, and The Matchless Six.
Community to me is the unity and fellowship of all the people inhabiting an area. Several individuals who set differences aside and come together in unity to create a strong family-like bond. Knowing that no matter what, there is someone in this community that will be able to support you. A community is much more than its base definition. A good community is one that has strong core values, one that embraces differences and celebrates different cultures and religions. A great community holds wisdom and ideas from all different perspectives of people of all different ages and origins. A strong community is a group of people that we are able to resort to when times get tough and we just need some love and encouragement. Community to me is linked with opportunities. Opportunities to learn from the elderly, as well as from the young, and opportunities to achieve great successes through the resources in our community. A thriving community helps make an impact on a larger scale. For example, climate strikes and protests, that are solely run by the communities of strong believers. I am blessed to live in a welcoming, accepting, and loving community. The Heritage Fairs Society is one of the most supportive and engaging communities. I have connected with so many wonderful people through Heritage Fair.
Heritage Fair project topic: Marina Nemat: Human Rights in Iran
I think that to most people, community means around the same thing. That is people who share the same beliefs and goals coming together to unite as a powerful force, shooting rainbows of encouragement and love. Well, I’m ‘most people.’ I love my community of Richmond, and I have a strong desire to be involved in it and collaborate with other individuals to contribute to its bright future. That is why I volunteer very often, whenever I can. My goal is to make sure that citizens of all ages in my community feel appreciated and equal. You know what, your cul-de-sac is a community! I know your neighbours would be more than happy to lend you their leaf blower if you need it, or to share the amazing apple pie that they made. But a community doesn’t have to be people who live in a common area, who say a friendly hello when they spot their friend across the street. Members of a community can live in totally different continents and never meet each other face to face, but they feel connected to each other on a meaningful level. They share the same passions, enthusiasm, and spirit. In a good community, people inspire and strengthen each other. People who come together because they are willing to put in the work to achieve a common goal is community. These goals may be total social justice, or the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Whatever the thing is that brings these individuals together, they all sense belonging, kindness, and humanity.
Rhiannon, Central Okanagan
Heritage Fair project topic: Nutritional Experimentation in Residential Schools
Community is your connection to a group of human beings. That group can consist of five people or five hundred, the size could not matter less; what matters is the presence of a connection and why it is there. Community can be based on creed, culture, identity, residence, passion, interest, anything shared. That being said, no one trait inherently ties a person to a community. Presence in a community is a choice, not an obligation. Despite relying on a series of other people, community is a personal thing. It does not and should not matter to anyone else what community you place yourself into, that solidarity comes from the individual. A community is the people and culture you find your identity in, it’s somewhere you feel you truly belong. Community is a way we reassure ourselves that we are not alone, that we have a soft place to fall and people to rely on, individuals who understand us on one level, be it surface or core. Community is a collective, it’s the feeling of being one part of a whole without losing the individuality from which that part is derived. It is strength in numbers and the unification of a people.
Heritage Fair project topic: The Canadian Walkie-Talkie – Its Impact on the World of Communication
Community. A sense of safety, home, joy, health, and prosperity. The word community doesn’t only speak to me as a place I grew up in or a place where I live. Community means being surrounded by people who truly care for me whether that be at home, school, or in extra-curriculars. Just as I continue to develop as a person, so does this world around me. We are an evolving species that is still grounded to earth with our memories filled of joy from our childhood to golden ages. A community is based on a never ending series of movies that nurtures the way one acts or thinks. It is due to the community that surrounds me which has become my chosen family outside of home that I have come to be the person I am. We are ready to help others which gives me a feeling of warmth known to others in different formats. At the end of the day, community means memories, historical growth, and bonding with one another to me.
Heritage Fair project topic: Samuel de Champlain
Community to me means that everyone can work together in harmony. It is a collection of people that are somewhat like-minded or have something in common, which is everybody. Community means to me sharing in success, sharing in “failures,” Sharing in everything! We all feel each other’s pain, happiness, anger. Simply put, a facet of community is empathy. Empathy is SO important. The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes could prevent countless conflicts! So. That’s empathy. Next: In a perfect world, everyone would be able to feel great all the time. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world. But with a good community, we could come close. It’s not incredibly hard to make a good community either. It just takes a bit of work. But, if everyone chipped in and did a part, then it would be easy! Doing your part and sharing responsibility is no small feat either. Shared responsibility is really what makes our world flow. It is incorporated into almost every aspect of our lives. Think of a task where you feel like it is to much for you, when suddenly, 5 or 10 or 15 people show up behind you and say: “We will help you.” And it will get done better, and faster, and those 5 or 10 or 15 people will all have their respective opinions heard throughout the task that you are doing. And at the end, you will feel incredible about what you and others have accomplished.
Heritage Fair Project Topic: Accessible Washrooms: Are They?; Sea Otters: Important or Just Cute?
Community to me means fellowship. It’s not only a group of people who live together. It’s people who have a history with each other, who help each other out, people who challenge each other to be better. Community doesn’t even have to be a group of people who live in the same place. It can be people who have the same interests, who have the same problems. I am part of a community of animal lovers, I am part of a community of Cubans, I have a fellowship to these people even if I have never met them. Communities can help when you have a problem, when you are feeling weak, they can support you, and help you. People in communities should challenge each other to be better every day, to improve with every step, not to stay in their comfort zone, such communities are hard to find. Many physical communities do this. A community of people can pitch in to shovel snow, can make a new person feel welcome. They could also, in the same way, make people feel excluded. There is always that group in school that thinks they are better than everyone else. There are also extremes, with groups that have extreme tribalism, which leads them to do extreme things. Hopefully one day we will have a community that includes everyone.
Mika, Fraser Valley
Heritage Fair project topic: The Japanese Internment
Community to me is a place where you can rely on others and where you can make lots of memories. Community to me is a place where people feel comfortable and place where people can come together to help one another. I think community is a very good thing to have where you live because it is very hard to live a healthy life without being able to rely on others to help you if needed and I think that having a community where you live will make your life so much better. Community to me is a safe place for people to share, for people to help one another, and for people to rely on each other.