The Back Story
The story starts with an idea.
In June 2013, Barry Braun imagined his 1 year old granddaughter’s life 30 years from now. He wanted to do something about it.
He started by talking to experts and he soon discovered that the most powerful force that can affect the experience of our children and grandchildren is the culture of our communities. If our communities have a healthy culture of taking care of each other, they will have the support and resiliency to deal with any disruptions that may come their way.
So he asked – how can we strengthen a culture of citizens taking care of each other?
After talking with more experts and reading the research, Barry came to the conclusion it all boils down to two big variables: Social Connectedness and Belonging across diversity. The more a community lives together as a whole, the stronger they are. The more they live as silos – either small groups of sameness or worse yet, as isolated individuals, the more vulnerable they are.
So he initiated The Happy Community Project with the simple idea that if we can remember the real purpose of community – for citizens to take care of each other – our children and grandchildren are more likely to have the support they will need. And to do that, he focused on developing a process and support where communities could have the tools to take their own destiny into their own hands. He called it the Happy Community Project™
“We need to remember our true happiness comes from simple things like: belonging, social connectedness, meaning, sufficiency and safety. If we build our communities around these basic ideas, we and our children can have a better world. They will get the support they need to deal with the future.”
– Barry Braun, Founder of Reshaping Our World
The Present Story
Our present story is expanding almost daily. We have more stories to tell of how the Happy Community Project has transformed the lives of individuals as well as communities. For example, we were recently told that a rural medical doctor chose to live in West Hants because it was a “Happy Community” that would give him and his family quality of life. He chose this over a concern for more money. We have also seen how the Happy Community Project has stimulated economic activity by creating an environment that gives entrepreneurs the confidence to open their businesses. And we have seen how great ideas can spread from one community to another. Say No to Plastic, Keep the world Fantastic started in Kolkata and was adopted by West Hants.
When you are part of the Happy Community Project, you are part of a growing family of communities that care about the wellbeing and happiness of their citizens.
We have piloted the Happy Community Project™ Tool Kit in three communities: West Hants Nova Scotia, Stewiacke Nova Scotia and Kolkata India.
Through this experience we have proven that transforming a community is a lot easier than most people think. With the right tools, it is possible for every community to be a happy community. The Happy Community Project is an inspiring idea that is proven in results.
The Future Story
Our goal is to create the possibility that our children will be able to find a community where they can enjoy the happiness that comes from belonging, social connections, meaning, sufficiency and safety. The great news is that as we develop our communities this way, the benefits are here and now in the present. People today have more smiles and feel better because their neighbours will be there for them as they will be there for them as well. This brings meaning and purpose beyond just trying to get by in a busy world.
To meet this goal, we see the Happy Community Project showing up in communities across Canada and around the world. We see us having a small team of Core people who are experts in supporting communities to achieve this goal. We see us having the technology to share the Happy Community project widely and provide support so that it is a success in every community that wants to be a Happy Community.
We see this happening with the support of you, the people who want the same kind of world as we do. Perhaps it is because you can lend us your expertise, make the valuable connections, be part of our team or financially support our efforts.
Together we can change the world. Most people want to be on a different path. They just want to know what they can do and know they have the support behind them so it works out for the good. The Happy Community Project makes this possible..
Our Guiding Principles
- The strength, wellbeing and resiliency of our community is in our social connectedness and belonging across our diversity.
- There is no “they should…… It is up to us to make our community the way we want.”
- It is easy when all citizens embrace their responsibility to our community
- Deep down content happiness comes from experiencing belonging, social connectedness, meaning, having enough and safety.
- Meaning comes from looking out for others
- Social connectedness and safety come form belonging
- Many hands make light work – citizens do as much as they want, what they want and when they want – and no more.
Who is part of the Happy Community Project?
The Happy Community project consists of literally thousands of people:
- 85,000 citizens whose lives have been affected by the Happy Community Project
- 900 volunteers who have helped strengthen community connections and belonging
- 51 Core Group Leaders who have inspired their communities into action
- 24 advisors who have guided the strategy and planning
- 12 professional volunteers who have brought technology, process and knowledge to the development of the Happy Community Project Tool Kit
- 5 Confidents who have provided oversight, guidance and encouragement
- Thousand and thousands of people who every day cheer us along and support us with their desire to see us succeed.
Meet Our Team
While we have been working our way through Covid 19, we have also been building a great team. Meet our team: Together we are committed to fulfilling our dream and vision:
Our Big Dream:
What would our world be like if every person on earth had the connectedness, belonging and caring support from the people who live nearby, the support that includes the full diversity of their community?
That is our Big Dream.
We and our children experience a better future where a global network of people transform the social connectedness of our world one neighborhood at a time. And it is happening now.
Barry was reflecting on his granddaughter’s future and decided he wanted to do something about it. He has come to the conclusion that communities that have strong connectedness, belonging and caring provide for the wellbeing and resiliency we need now and our children will need in the future. He founded Reshaping Our World Inc., so that it can develop and make available the tools that ordinary citizens can use to strengthen their communities.
Julie shares Barry’s passion for community. She has expressed this passion from many perspectives: Political, CEO, Executive Director and Business Consultant. Julie brings a special talent fr making Big Dreams happen and she has decided to make the Dreams of Reshaping our World a reality. She believes community is the foundation for our happiness and wellbeing.
Dr. Will Webster
Recently retired Dean of the Faculty of Health Professions at Dalhousie University, Will brings great wisdom and leadership to Reshaping Our World; and his chocolate cookies are awesome.
Dr. Dawn Henwood
Dawn is an acclaimed expert in learning design, passionate about spiritual community and has a piercing mind that gets to the heart of the matter.
A social activist, family man and project manager, Jason brings experience and insight to the real reason why Reshaping Our World and Happy Community Project are so important.
Dr. Tami Meredith
My background in EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion) advocacy and education, personally motivated by being a transperson, makes me fully aware of the challenges that many encounter when trying to find meaningful connections within our neighbourhoods and communities.
About The Founder
When Barry Braun became a grandfather, he was visioning the future of his grandchildren. He decided to do something about it. He created the Happy Community Project.
But first Barry consulted with experts, he read the research literature and then he used his own expertise and collaborated with others to develop a powerful, and simple to apply process that could make a big difference for communities.
Barry Braun is an engineer, has deep business experience across several industries, and was one of the first business coaches in North America.
Through his 30 years as a business coach, he focused on guiding business owners on making their businesses more successful by bringing out the spirit of the business – the spirit that attracted customers because the business was genuinely offering a social good to the world. He worked with senior managers and business owners to create a culture that reflected this spirit.
Barry was ahead of his time as a business coach and now he is ahead of his time in helping the world prepare for the disruptions ahead.
His main guiding principles come from two visionaries:
Joseph Campbell – “You can look at people and our environment as ‘its’ or you can look at them as ‘Thous’ – the difference in how you act is profound.”
Audre Lorde – “When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
Our Core Values
COMMUNITY is vital to our wellbeing.
We know that community is vital to our wellbeing and that citizens taking care of each other will lead to an increase in wellbeing, self-reliance, and resiliency.
Shared STORIES and XPERIENCE drives change.
We have proven that the telling of shared stories and experiences lead to people believing that change is possible, and that is why it is at the heart of all that we do.
PEOPLE COLLABORATING must be part of the solution.
We enable people to contribute on their own terms on things that they perceive as meaningful. Together we are better and can deliver more success through shared mutual support.
ACCEPTANCE comes from people building trust by doing things together.
Projects enable people to get their “hands dirty” as equals. We are all equally different. In those differences, we have a commonality of all wanting to belong and be accepted.
INSPIRATION drives hope.
We take people from impossibilities to possibilities and in a way that they have ownership.
Big Change comes from THINKING BIG.
Positioning ourselves as the experts on Connecting Communities requires asking lots of questions, making room for curiosity, and having the courage to execute ideas with the belief that we never compromise on our vision, mission or values.
Latest Blog Posts
FAQs- The Happy Community ProjectBlog, Ideas, Musings and Details
The 7 Criteria for a Happy Community ProjectBlog, Ideas, Musings and Details
Why is Reshaping Our World Important?Blog, Ideas, Musings and Details
The Happy Community Project
Providing Community Champions with the tools to build a strong foundation for their community.
Recognition & Partners
We have proven the effectiveness of the Happy Community Project Tool Kit. Our success has been recognized internationally by several universities and organizations. Our partners are critical to our success.