What Matters/Community

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Community[edit | edit source]

A community is a group of people who have significant, positive social interactions. Citizen-to-citizen engagement, a focus on the well-being of the whole, and hospitality to all are the essential elements of a healthy community.

Extensive research strongly supports the conclusion that happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of one’s social connections. [1]

Communities create social capital—trust, goodwill, and cooperation among people. Social capital provides many benefits including: improved education and children’s welfare, safe and productive neighborhoods, economic prosperity, health and happiness, and stronger democracy. [2]

Engage with communities where you belong and can thrive and contribute.

Assignment:[edit | edit source]

  • Identify the communities you belong to that require meeting face-to-face with other people. Consider work you do for a political party, civic groups, religious groups, sports clubs, work or school groups, informal social connections, volunteer efforts and other such activities.
    • List (privately) the people you have met through those communities whom: 1) you trust, 2) you would be comfortable asking for a favor, and 3) you would be happy to help out if they asked for a favor.
    • Thinking about your neighbors, how many do you know by name? How many have you accumulated social capital with?
  • Increase social capital—trust and cooperation among community members—through your participation in those communities.
    • The Saguaro Seminar is a long-term research project aimed at significantly increasing Americans' connectedness to one another and to community institutions. You may wish to study their work and help to implement their suggestions.
  • Engage with and strengthen your community.
  • Strengthen and renew your friendships.

Suggestions for further reading:[edit | edit source]

References:[edit | edit source]

  1. Putnam, Robert D. (2000). Bowling Alone. Touchstone Books by Simon & Schuster. pp. 544. ISBN 978-0743203043.  Page 332
  2. Putnam, Robert D. (2000). Bowling Alone. Touchstone Books by Simon & Schuster. pp. 544. ISBN 978-0743203043.  Section IV