What is Community?
When you think about the word community, what do you picture? Certain people, with whom you’ve formed a bond through shared values and experiences? A location that offers a shared sense of space; a place where you always feel welcome? Maybe it’s simply a feeling; one of purpose and belonging.
There are so many ways to define community, and it’s different for everyone. But no matter how you understand it, one aspect always holds true: Community is Support. This year, we’ve all reached out a hand or two for support, and in return, we’ve found that our communities have been our lifelines.
For some of us, music has been our best friend. For others, it’s been our pets. For many, having someone to talk to has been essential. This is what has made up our communities over the last year; all of the bits and pieces of life that have helped us make it through, together, or apart. And the impact of this cannot be understated.
Research show that having a strong community has a positive impact on our mental health:
- People in neighbourhoods with higher levels of social cohesion experience lower rates of mental health problems (mentalhealth.org.uk)
- Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression and high blood pressure (Mayo Clinic)
- Having a healthy, positive relationship with friends is vital to maintaining emotional wellbeing (Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health at Bupa UK)
We get so much out of being a part of a community. But community isn’t just about getting, it’s also about giving back. From Ghandi’s famous quote, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” to a study that demonstrated a marked difference in eudonic happiness (doing good) and hedonic happiness (feeling good), wherein eudonic happiness resulted in better overall health — we know that giving back is good for the body, mind, and soul. Having one genuine friend that you can reach out to through a difficult time, is just as important as being a genuine friend who can be reached out to. In the same way that having community support around you is just as important as supporting your community.
That’s why this Community Day, we want to acknowledge the ways in which community helps us move forward. Through a Democratization of Giving, we can encourage everyone to get behind community actions that mean something to them.
There are over 86,000 charities across Canada. This June, we want you to ask yourself, “what organisations are important to me, and how can I be a part of them?”
At Lixar Fuelled by BDO, we have been proud supporters of BGC since 2015. The community-based organisation has club houses all across Canada to provide barrier-free environments where kids aged 6-18 years are safe and supported while building positive relationships and developing healthy living skills. As a top-ranked Canadian charity, BGC continues to evolve throughout the pandemic, ensuring youth across the country get what they need to thrive, especially those in vulnerable circumstances.
We also support Canadian musicians, through the Polaris Music Prize and HPX. Music is so important to us; it helps people heal, grow, and feel. The pandemic has taken a major toll on the music community, with a direct impact on the livelihoods of so many talented artists who haven’t been able to perform, or even create together, side by side. Thankfully, this is changing as vaccines continue to roll out. We’re all anxious to attend live shows again, but in the meantime, we are excited to announce that for this Community Day, we will be presenting Toronto artist, Julian Taylor, in a virtual performance. He will be bringing his solid slice of roots-oriented folk and soul right into our living rooms, and we are so looking forward to it.
But that’s not all. We want to give everyone the opportunity to give back in their own way. Our You + Me = Community campaign is all about reflection. We want our team members to share what has helped them get through this intense time. We’re asking, what’s important to you? And as an act of kindness, what organisations can you support in turn?
It’s simple. Be Kind. Listen Up. Open Up. Because being part of a community can make all the difference, for you, and for those around you.