“Community Development” is one of those terms that is widely used and, perhaps even more widely interpreted. It can mean something different to each organization that focuses its efforts in that direction, and even to each individual who hears the term.
Here in Mississippi Mills, we have an organization devoted to Community Development, so we asked them what the term means to them.
“Community Development is all about improving the quality of life of all residents. Positive change comes when we share what we all have to offer. It’s just that simple” says Jeff Mills, Community Development Coordinator at Mills Community Support. “That really was the basis of the original name of The Mills, which was the Almonte Community Development Corporation, and while the name may change, the intent is still exactly the same.”
Think of a community as a very diverse group of people, brought together by geography and where they choose to live. Each and every person living in the community brings their own unique talents, skills and abilities to that community. Whether the skill is computer expertise, or the skill required to pack groceries so that they make it home without the eggs breaking, there is a purpose and a need for each and every one.
Programs that make use of the talents available in the community encourage community members to become more involved and more engaged in the everyday life in that community. The programs in turn make an investment in the future of these communities, whether it is arranging volunteer drives for seniors to medical appointments, operating a group home for persons with developmental disabilities, providing appropriate and affordable housing, or programs that bring residents together for potluck dinners. All of the programs have the same objective and the same result: they improve the quality of life for those who live there.
One of the most well-known sons of the Ottawa Valley area, Dr. James Naismith, said “I want to leave the world a better place for me having been there.” By making use of the talents available in our community through programs that make the quality of life better for those who live there, we are also making the world a better place… one community at a time. Believe in the power of community!
Mills Community Support is a not-for-profit registered charity working towards achievement of an age-friendly community in which people of all abilities can live in a state of dignity, share in all elements of living in a community and have the opportunity to participate effectively. They assist over 1,000 people of all ages, abilities, and economic circumstances to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.