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

More Happier Communities

Nine communities are becoming more connected, belonging and caring. Is your community next?

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What Happened in Ellershouse NS

Ellershouse is a small rural community of 450 souls about 30 minutes outside of Halifax Nova Scotia. It has always been an active community with a number of events going on in their community hall. Even so, there was a growing concern that the sense of community was slipping away. It was a great place to live, but there was little for youth to do and volunteerism was declining.

Jennifer Whynot stepped forward and said she wanted to do something about it. She reached out to the Happy Community Project at the peak of the Covid pandemic. Together, the Happy Community project and Jennifer created a vision, and a plan.

Jennifer decided the best way to bring the community together was create a community park. With training, coaching and mentoring, Jennifer was able to bring 200 people together to support the idea.

Over a 3 month period, the park emerged. The land was donated, materials were donated and people rolled … Read the rest

The Value of Nothing

How we put value on community

Values define who we are as individuals, and values define who we are as a society. But what do we actually value?

I am reading Mark Carney’s new book “Values.” Carney was the governor of the Bank of Canada and then went on to be the Governor of the Bank of England. He knows a thing or two about values and power of money.

How we fit into economy

The short and sweet of his book is: We have transformed our economy over the last four decades. It used to be that the economy was part of the social fabric of our society, now economy sees society as a resource to be used by the economy and the only things that have value are things with a price tag.

Forty years ago, the market place served the people and supported and honoured societies values. Things like trust, integrity, caring for each other and community … Read the rest

“Demonstrating Resiliency” in the wake of Tragedy

In the wake of the tragic events in April 2020 in which 23 lives were lost, two Nova Scotian communities have come together to honour those whose lives were lost and “demonstrate resiliency” to create a more positive light. The communities of West Colchester and Truro have come together to memorialize the lives that were lost in the horrific events by hosting community events and fundraising to establish a permanent memorial site.

We had the privilege of speaking with Tiffany Ward of Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society on Zoom. She told us how the organization of Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society was born after the vigil following the tragic events that occurred in April 2020. The focus of Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society is to memorialize the 23 lives lost and change how Nova Scotia views West Colchester. Tiffany Ward said it is to “remind us of who we are” in the context of community. Nova Scotia Remembers is helping … Read the rest

Super Sunday, Super Spirit

NFL teams play hard for our communities

Through “Inspire Change,” NFL teams and players are devoting time and money to non-profit organizations tackling change in areas ranging from economic advancement to criminal justice reform. It’s also showcasing how its own players are making a difference, especially when it comes to racial injustice and oppression.

In just two years, Inspire Change has donated US$95 million to over 500 different charities. The goal is to reach US$250 million in donation in its first ten years. A couple of examples of recent grant recipients are The Success for All Foundation, which promotes child literacy, and Gideon’s Promise, which works to defend marginalized communities in the fight for criminal justice.

Inspire Change was first born out of player actions such as kneeling on the field during the American National Anthem to protest racial injustices related to police brutality. Now all 32 NFL teams are actively going into the communities to encourage change.

For example, … Read the rest

Covid Paralysis

I have noticed a strange phenomena when I interact with people these days. There is a side effect to the Covid phenomena – paralysis of initiative.

It’s quite understandable – after all we have a justified fear of Covid, it is in our face several times a day and any new initiative will likely involve other people.

But while we focus on staying safe (keeping our distance from other people and wearing masks), we could also be thinking about how we can bring our community back together again in the coming few months.

We have a grand opportunity here. As we become vaccinated and are allowed to return to social connectedness again, we have the opportunity to redefine what community means. Are we going to go back to the way it was before Covid? Or do we want something different.

Perhaps we can think of our community not just as the place where we live, but the place where we … Read the rest

Sowing Happiness at Wolfville Farmers’ Market

With a global pandemic putting a damper on human activities everywhere, a farmers’ market in the Atlantic Canadian town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia is proof that it’s still possible for communities to thrive during COVID-19. Wolfville Farmers’ Market (WFM) traces its roots back to 1992, when it sprouted up from “just three vendors in a parking lot” according to the market’s website. Under the careful tending of manager Kelly Marie Redcliffe, who began working for WFM two decades ago, it’s blossomed into a fully-fledged economic and social hub that draws in people well beyond its community.

Redcliffe clearly loves her job. She loves how there are “casual conversations and relationships formed”, said Redcliffe. “Every week is different and also the same. There is a mash-up of everything the community has to offer.” The market staff and vendors have been putting more emphasis on WFM2GO – which is an online store in which customers can order products online that would normally … Read the rest

My New Years Resolution

I am making a New Years resolution. I resolve that I will do even more to enable the communities everywhere to be happy communities. I believe this is the most important thing I can do for my grandchildren.

Over the last several months, most of us have come to a new appreciation for the importance of community. It is where we find our belonging, our confidence that others care about us, and our sense of security. I believe we have also learned that we can not take community for granted.

Communities are places composed of individuals with many different backgrounds. They exist because of our communal efforts to build and maintain a culture of coming together that strengthens our social fabric. Whether we are an organizer of community places to gather, or whether we show up in these places, we are contributing to our community’s well being. It is through these kinds of connecting places that we meet new and … Read the rest

The Kindness Warriors and Christmas Thoughts.

I had been thinking about Christmas thoughts I might share when I heard about April.

April lives in Lunenburg, a small rural community in Nova Scotia. She recently immigrated to Canada from the USA, looking for a better place to raise her two children. She was looking for a place where her children could experience the values of connectedness, belonging and caring for each other that comes from a happy community. Six months ago, she chose Lunenburg and settled into the rhythm of the community.

Like every community everywhere, Lunenburg has people living in isolation, citizens needing a little helping hand. She and her two sons made a decision; they became the Kindness Warriors.

As the Kindness Warriors, each month they find a way of bringing a little love to their new community. It might be something for children, or it might be something for pets and other animals.

This Christmas, The Kindness Warriors packaged up 36 little bags of … Read the rest