Residents of 835 Cameron St. housing have worked together to make good stuff happen for their neighbourhood in the past. And after a gathering last Friday, a number of them are hopeful those moments of positive collaboration will happen more often and involve more people, making the future that much brighter for their community and children.
In answer to a question, “What’s working in your neighbourhood that you’d like to see more of?” people who participated in the gathering told stories of groups of parents creating fireworks shows for their children. Community bonfires hosted by different residents have also been appreciated as a way for people to get to know one another better. And one resident has taken it on himself to help get the area a little more cleaned up by setting out a garbage can so that people don’t have to walk as far to get rid of waste.
Community members shared these stories in groups of three during the gathering. The triads allowed everyone a chance to listen deeply to each other as every person received a full three minutes to answer each question. Advice giving, helping and relating were discouraged.
People were invited to sit with those they knew the least as those familiar to us reinforce an old story about ourselves, co-host Peter Pula said. But it is in connecting with strangers that we begin to shape a new story to live into.
Participants then had a chance to reflect back what they were hearing to the larger group, validating and affirming what had been spoken to them as well as those who had spoken.
“It is in connecting with strangers that we begin to shape a new story to live into.”
— Peter Pula
As people shared, Peter noted the strong energy around bringing back or expanding on some of the positive activities and events that community have appreciated.
The group agreed and is now looking to organize a larger gathering, inviting more of their neighbours, to talk about what they’d like to see more of in the Cameron St. housing complex and how they could work together to bring those community dreams to life.
Watch this brief video to hear from residents themselves about what they were taking away from that first gathering.
Co-host Marion Little organized the gathering to lay the groundwork for a new community mediation program in partnership with the Peterborough Housing Corporation, Peterborough Police Service, and the John Howard Society. The community mediation project has been funded by a grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.