Community Engagement: Why is it important?
SECC has been involved with community engagement for more than 40 years. It’s how we develop programming, address service gaps and create awareness in the broader community. What is community engagement? The Tamarack Institute (www.tamarackcommunity.ca) believes it means “people working collaboratively, through inspired action and learning, to create and realize bold visions for their common future“. Community engagement can be passive or proactive. It’s a process that empowers communities and is not limited by time. Community engagement also favours multisectoral collaboration. For example, this can mean non-profit or governmental organzations working with private sector companies to create new learning programs for workers or churches and community centres working together to provide neighbourhood engagement projects.
SECC exists for the communities it serves. The organization is serious about engaging with a wide variety of people, businesses and service providers to make sure the communities of South Essex are the best they can be. We believe that SECC can play a role in economic development, community and neighbourhood engagement, social service development, and local training and education opportunities. SECC is committed to the community and we think individual citizens should be too. It’s important to each of us to be engaged in our community, whether it be through volunteering, municipal politics, serving on boards, or getting involved with community projects. But one of the best ways to become engaged in your community is simply by reaching out to your neighbours. It’s easy to do and it can help develop networks and friendships over time. It can create safer neighbourhoods and it can create connections to people and things we many not have been previously connected to. It’s all a part of getting involved in our community and its engagement that can lead to new initiatives, new services and new opportunities. So get out there–become engaged! Look for opportunities to connect with others. The Communities In Bloom initiative in Leamington (www.communitiesinbloompleamington.ca) is a perfect opportunity to engage. So is the Kingsville Folk Music Festival (www.kingsvillefolkfest.org). They’re looking for volunteers. Get involved, and tell us what you’re doing to be engaged in your community.