Ideas, Details and Possibilities regarding the Happy Community Project

What is a Whole Community?

Recently I had a conversation with a good friend about his experience of raising a special needs person into adulthood. His son has reached the legal age of adulthood and has the mental state of a normal two year old. His goal is to give his son as normal as possible life experience of community, love and acceptance.

As we continued the conversation, he shared how difficult it is to have fellow community members offer to take his son for a walk. This simple gesture would have so much benefit for his son and for the rest of his family. Taking his son for a walk would provide his son with new experiences of the community world while offering respite and acceptance to my friend and his family. It would relieve the burden of being alone in this incredibly important journey.

Yet, our fellow community members often stay aloof from people like my friend. It isn’t that we don’t have … Read the rest

Do social connections include machines?

We are in an epic era of depression and loneliness and the technology world is always there to pick up on an opportunity. But is this the solution we want?

Well, whether we want it or not, people in the AI world are finding ways to take advantage of the commercial opportunities to exploit people’s loneliness.

For example, there are several versions of the hug a bot. You can get anything from a virtual hug to a ‘real’ hug from your favorite machine that adjusts itself to fit you perfectly?

But if you need more than a hug, and you need a best friend to talk to, well there are several contenders coming to the forefront. These Artificial intelligence machines want to be your best friend.  Well actually, Google and Facebook want them to be your best friend.

Of course, sometimes we just need a helping hand. If we are unwell, maybe we need someone to bring us food, medicine … Read the rest

I Am the People We Have Been Waiting For

Recently, a good friend shared an idea that originates with Edward Snowden.

But first some background.

The phrase “We are the people we have been waiting for” originated in England as a call for change. There is great truth in this phrase. All great change initiates with us common grass root citizens. We have the power to initiate or stop change. The Arab Spring started with ‘We are the people’.  Environmental change happens at the pace that we the people enable our politicians and businesspeople to make. And Black Lives Matter is a movement of ‘We are the people’

But the problem with ‘We are the people’ is we are waiting for the people who are waiting for us. All good initiatives start with someone.  Margaret Mead famously said

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Change starts with someone who brings together a small … Read the rest

The Wisdom of my Granddaughter

My Granddaughter, Abby, is visiting from Toronto. After spending 2 weeks in quarantine, we went out for an icecream.

Here is what she told me.

While in quarantine, neighbours would stop and talk to her from the sidewalk while she stayed on the front porch. While we were out for ice cream, we sat down at a picnic table where a big burly man was having his lunch. He picked up a conversation starting off with the weather and moving into the Covid crisis in the USA.

Afterwards Abby shared these thoughts. “Do strangers always talk with each other here, it rarely happens in Toronto.” I asked her whether she thought this was good and she replied “I like it that people talk with me – it feels good.”

There is lots of speculation as to how the world will be when we come out of Covid 19 Pandemic. No one really knows how it will be, but the general … Read the rest

The Politics of Belonging

The goal of the Happy Community Project is to strengthen the connectedness, belonging and caring across many communities. More and more, we are hearing that our future depends on it. And more and more experts are telling us the Happy Community project is going about it in the right way. For example, George Mombiot talks about the importance of the ‘politics of belonging’ where people do things together.

We know from experience and talking with thousands of people that we all want the same thing. We want to belong in a community where we can find friends and know that others care about us.

We also know that communities have the power to strengthen their connectedness, belonging and caring for each other. We have proven this in Windsor Nova Scotia, Kolkata India. And after just a few weeks, Stewiacke Nova Scotia has already attracted dozens of people committed to making their community a stronger community.

In 2019, I made … Read the rest

Reflections on a Thanks Giving Weekend

Being grateful every day is always a good practice for wellbeing, this weekend is an extra special time to take some reflection time.

So here I go.

As I listen to the news, I am truly grateful that we live where we do – in a democracy that works, in a place where we can talk out ideas and a place where our fellow citizens understand that our collective wellbeing is important to our personal wellbeing.

Every day, I get feedback that it is important to strengthen our culture of taking personal responsibility for the wellbeing of each other. Aren’t we lucky that we have the luxury of holding these kind of thoughts?

I am lucky that I can be optimistic about my grandchildren’s future because in spite of other people’s agendas, common sense and good will still prevails.

And Most of all, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to make a difference through the Happy Community Project. … Read the rest

We used to remember


I have lots of conversations across the generations from my 97 year old neighbor to my 3 year old grandson and everyone in between. The older people remember a time when ‘everyone knew everyone’ and if the community decided they needed a school or a park, people would show up with wagon loads of lumber and food and hammers and build a school or a park on the land donated by one of the citizens. This is a totally foreign concept to those under thirty. If a community needs something now, we say “They should….” And we wait to see if they do or don’t.

There are good reasons for this in some cases, but not nearly as many cases as we think. If we make our dependence too high on “they”, the “We” becomes diminished. When “We” doesn’t have to do anything but pay taxes and complain, “We” also doesn’t have the need to interact with neighbors. In … Read the rest

A new year – a new beginning with new hope


A meaningful life is the foundation for happiness. When we have the power to make a difference, when we choose to make a difference, we feel good, no matter what else may be going on. The good news is people everywhere are waking up. We are recognizing  that we have the power.

This was clearly brought to light in West Hants / Windsor in 2017. After years of disappointing political results, the community chose new representation. But we weren’t just satisfied with trusting a new group of politicians with their ‘they shoulds…’. Our community has moved past ‘they should…’ and fully embraced ‘we should….’ in recognition of our own responsibilities and power as citizens.

And we have discovered ‘we can…’

‘We can make the kind of community we want – an economically vibrant, culturally rich and socially connected community.’ And so West Hants / Windsor has launched a series of projects that are on their way to reality. Coincidently, the … Read the rest

The Happy Community Project is made of many collaborations

The Happy Community Project continues to gain momentum

New communities are starting up, third party organizations are taking an interest in us, and most importantly, real projects are getting launched – projects that bring people together as a community.

The foundational idea is that communities that are highly socially connected across diversity enjoy a greater sense of belonging, meaning, sufficiency, security and fairness – the fundamentals for a contented life. I recently had a meeting with Anne who captured our goals beautifully. “I used to be able to walk our streets and meet people I knew – it used to be a social event. Now people don’t walk, they drive up to the store they want, and if they do walk, they have their head down and you don’t get a chance to make those connections. I want people to remember how important those accidental connections are to their wellbeing. We used to know and now we have forgotten.”


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What the Core Group Does

What the Core Group Does

  • Keeper of the Vision
  • Helps launch new Action Groups ideas.
  • Links Action Groups to a common vision for our community
  • Provides centralized services to Action Groups so they can concentrate on doing their work and less on administration – for example – a common website and maintenance, media communications,
  • Creates a community network hub for sharing ideas, connecting with resources and people
  • Designing and implementing social incentives for greater participation of community citizens
  • Creating Celebration Events for the Happy Community action pods members and their participants.
  • Provide transparent feedback on our progress and achievements
  • Offer training on how to design projects that increase community participation and connections.

Read the rest