In my initial post, I wrote about community and how it pertains to comfort; community as an extension of the home. After working at HOPE Village for these past few weeks, I stand by this definition. So many of the residents would come to the farmers markets week after week, just to sit at our picnic tables under the umbrellas, to chat for hours, and to show their support. In a customer survey that I had taken, one resident wrote in the ‘comments’ section, “HOPE Village is the place to be.”
I would like to add to my definition of community the importance of being a resource to one another (and/or connecting one another with resources). At the HOPE village offices, people are constantly knocking on the front door and volunteering their time and expertise. In fact, 2 of the long term volunteers at HOPE Village (who are basically like full time employees) spend day in and day out making phone calls to their friends and neighbors in the community and sharing information about our programming (like flood assistance and any grants that we are giving out at that time). I saw firsthand how ready and willing people are to help each other, and I really admire this.
One of my goals that I wrote about in my first post was to be able to build relationships and make connections. I feel that I have accomplished this goal, and have grown very close to the people at my organization and in the HOPE Village community. On market days, I would spend hours just talking to each person as they enter the gates of the park. I would also spend time with my mentors and the other volunteers, taking every opportunity I had to get to know them. And people at the market are not shy; it’s commonplace to introduce oneself to anyone and everyone that you see. I am so thankful for all of the connections I made at HOPE Village, and I am sure I will stay in touch.