We all crave connection

April 1, 2015

A grape vine evokes connection to place.

A couple of years ago, some work colleagues and I took an online survey called Strength Finder as part of a team development exercise. As its name implies, it helps you identify your core strengths.

One of my core strengths was connection. No surprises there.  Making connections has been a key theme throughout my life. I love connecting people and ideas and community, hence the title Urban Connector.

I also have a acquaintance who likes to challenge me to find images to express words.  Recently, he asked me:  If “connection” was a plant, what plant would it be?

After some consideration, I finally answered a grape vine because of the deep roots that connect the vine to the earth and the special characteristics that are imbued in the grape –terroir – that comes from being so deeply connected to place.

He then asked: what colour would “connection” be? My answer was green because it evoked cultivation and nurturing as well as a sense of optimism and renewal.

For me connection is where you find your purpose; it takes you to the heart and soul of life and community.  We are social animals.  We crave connection. And that is what the United Way is to me and why I have volunteered to serve as campaign chair in my community.

The United Way connects businesses to community. It connects people to the agencies that support our neighbours, our friends and families.  And it connects people to community who might otherwise be marginalized because of poverty, mental health, disability or a whole host of other reasons.

So this is an easy fit for me.

The United Way is also about community building which remains important to me.  During 11 years as mayor I attended many agency events – annual general meetings, BBQs, dances, volunteer appreciation events and more.  I heard their stories and the testimonials.  I met their volunteers and the people they served.

I know our community would be a shadow of what it is if it was not for the work of the agencies supported by the United Way.  And having run a community-benefit organization for 10 years, I know how much time and resources that fundraising takes away from delivering on your core mandate.  The United Way is an efficient and effective use of community resources to make an even bigger difference in the lives of individuals and families.