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Module 3 Finding connectors

Learning objectives


This module will help you explore connectors — people in our neighbourhoods who discover people and their assets and weave them together to perform functions in their community — their role, how to identify them, and where to find them. After completing this module, you will be better equipped to identify and support connectors in your community and navigate some of the common traps related to this critical role.

Put it into practice


Local story | Street connections are your best asset

An Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach was piloted in the southeast communities of Copperfield and Mahogany through the City’s This is My Neighbourhood Abundant Communities Initiative, which was the predecessor to the current Inspiring Neighbourhoods Grant.

The approach truly shines when neighbours form tight-knit connections within a single street. In the southeast community of Copperfield, a Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator (NPC) was keen to engage with the ABCD philosophy and model as a neighbourhood block connector. Her street is home to roughly 130 households, fostering a well-knit community where most everyone is familiar with each other. Numerous events are organized annually to encourage neighbourly interactions. For instance, the Neighbour Day celebrations are renowned throughout the broader community, attracting about 100 residents from the street to a cost-free gathering sponsored by local businesses and friends. The festivities last all afternoon, often extending into the night with neighbours chatting and laughing in their lawn chairs.

Children from the neighbourhood also participate in Lemonade Stand Day, setting up their stands and offering samples to tasting judges who roam from one stand to another. Post-tasting, the stands are open for neighbours to support the young entrepreneurs by purchasing their offerings. The Alphabet Dinner Club is a monthly event where residents dine at a restaurant corresponding to a different alphabet letter each month. This club started with 10 members from the street who were strangers before joining and now looks to expand with a second group.

A standout event that exemplifies the community’s interconnectedness began as a simple potluck in September 2023. This gathering of shared meals and conversations evolved into collective action to support one another. During this event, a couple who were among the first homeowners on the street in 2008 revealed their husband’s early-stage dementia diagnosis. With the wife at work and concerned about her husband’s ability to navigate home, while walking their dog, a family from the street stepped in to provide care, aligning with her work schedule to ensure regular check-ins. The street’s familiarity with the couple means many engage the husband in conversation during his walks, offering a sense of community and safety.

At that same event, a couple who were expecting a baby within three weeks of the potluck and new to Calgary without local family or friends received an outpouring of support. A neighbour, who had recently moved onto the street, organized the collection and delivery of two weeks’ worth of frozen meals to ease the new parents’ transition. This initiative led to the preparation of 18 meals, demonstrating the street’s collective spirit. A childcare exchange list was created, allowing neighbours to offer and receive childcare support and providing relief for those without nearby families or the means to afford babysitters.

This street’s residents know each other and actively look out for one another. A private Facebook group with over 125 members is a platform for sharing resources, from lawnmowers to baking ingredients. In the truest sense, it’s a community watch, where neighbours alert each other to open garage doors, assist with car troubles in the cold, and offer giveaways to street residents first. This street has built a community that exemplifies mutual care and connection.

Optional further learning


Modules


For any questions, email us at ABCD@calgary.ca or call 311.

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