By Deron Hamel
Sharon Gashgarian says Brantford needs a “strong team” of likeminded people to help create initiatives and events that are important to locals, and Belonging Brant is providing this.
A member of ViBrant Arc (Art Reconnecting Community), one of Belonging Brant’s many citizen-led groups, Sharon says there’s a void in what can be provided by the government, but Belonging Brant is filling that gap.
“Belonging Brant has always been available to help with organizing and problem solving as well as providing financial support to ViBrant ARC,” Sharon says. “Brantford needs this strong team of connectors, organizers, social workers, as there is a void in the governmental system that cannot always be there when people need it.”
“This is a unique group of people who have given of themselves, and I, as a community member, have benefited from their tireless and unwavering efforts to be a part of my journey.”
Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Belonging Brant is dedicated to creating connections and building relationships across Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations to help people contribute to their community in a meaningful way.
The project, which creates and encourages citizen-led initiatives, is particularly focused on creating opportunities for human connection and decreasing the isolation faced by so many in the community.
Sharon says she’s often telling people outside of the Brantford geographical community about the work Belonging Brant does and the successes it has generated. By sharing Belonging Brant’s successes, Sharon says her hope is that others will be inspired to create their own version of the initiative in their cities.
“I think that what Belonging Brant does could work well in other communities in Ontario,” she says.
If other communities began similar initiatives of their own, Sharon says this would be “the icing on the cake.”
“This is a unique group of people who have given of themselves, and I, as a community member, have benefited from their tireless and unwavering efforts to be a part of my journey,” she says.
Sharon says the more Belonging Brant is talked about, the more people will realize they have gifts and talents to give back to their communities.
“The philosophy of ‘let’s think about what is strong, not what is wrong’ has resonated throughout the past few years, not just in the Belonging Brant community, but in the fabric of all communities,” she says.
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What If Belonging Brant Became a Lasting Community Beacon?
Belonging Brant is already a light in our community. It is the place to be. With three years under our belt and our initial funding coming to an end this October, we have the opportunity to fashion our future anew. We’d love to hear what you’ve loved about Belonging Brant, what you’d like for it to become, and what you might like to do to make that dream come true. Consider taking a few minutes to share your answers to these questions.
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