Jul 23, 2018

By Joanne Edey-Nicoll, Instructor

This summer, I spent two months in the community on Vancouver Island. While in this area, I started to think about what makes a community and realize that it starts and ends with the people. It’s the people that make a place a community. Now that seems like an obvious statement! But to me, it’s more than that; it’s the things that people do that makes a place a community. What makes a community a good place to live? What features of a community provide people with a good quality of life?

Some things that come to mind is that people care, they are friendly and welcoming, and they are supportive of each other. It was through this lens that I started to notice simple things that people do to create community and discovered that creating a friendly, welcoming community is easier and more fun than I ever imagined. 

Sharing Garden Flowers –This kind person who has a lush garden in her backyard put out several small bouquets of flowers with a sign that read, “Please take home a bouquet for someone you love including yourself”. I took a bouquet and gave it to my sister. Not only did it brighten her day and made me feel good, but her friend saw the idea and decided to do the same in her neighborhood.


Free Little Libraries – These birdhouse-like mini libraries are run on the honor system; take a book when you see one that interests you and contributes a book when you have one to share. Beyond promoting literacy, Free Little Libraries connect people and make the community a better place. When people stop by to look at the current books, they are likely to strike up a conversation with a neighbour.


Kindness Rocks – Small rocks of different shapes and sizes are painted in bright colors and have kind messages and images. They are placed in green spaces and on beaches and are meant for people to randomly find. A friend who is battling cancer found a kindness rock on the beach on a day that she was feeling especially low. The heart shaped rock was beautifully decorated and had the words, ‘Life is tough’ on one side; ‘So are you’ painted on the other side. It made my friend’s day a little brighter and gave her strength.


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