Through the good works of David Townsend, former Executive Director of South Frontenac Services, Compassionate Communities Kingston (CCK) was able to identify a group of connectors naturally in evolution in neighboring community South Frontenac.
David, along with Cynthia Beach, CCK Board Member volunteered to lead a community project to discover who these passionate connectors in South Frontenac are and what gifts existed in this region. Kate Kristiansen (long-time resident) and David Townsend (volunteer project lead) met with many local business owners and ‘connectors’ in the community. They held these conversations with individuals that are already active in community and are patrons of connecting the dots to enliven support. They listened to the stories and many ways a neighbour would create a positive social change to make things better.
Christine Kennedy, owner of Memory Lane Flowers, Sydenham Lions Club member, and long-time resident shares, “This is a community that supports each other. When we see someone in need, the community rallies to find ways to help. For instance, downtown Sydenham is busy for Halloween ‘trick or treaters.’ We know that it can get expensive to shell out candy, so members of the community created a Halloween donation campaign to be sure that no house or kid missed out on participating. People would buy candy make a donation and drop them in to Memory Lane Flowers and we would be sure to get candy bags to the family or house we knew needed them.”
The stories are endless of ways the Lions Club, Legion, Churches, Women’s’ Institutes, Chamber of Commerce, South Frontenac Community Services, Rotary, Employment Resource Center, Township, Libraries, and neighbours show support through programming or simply lending an ear or a hand to a neighbour in need.
When people help others in the community, it has powerful ripple effects! It was decerned that a robust community directory with all the informal community-led programs should be developed to help further support community helping community.
The Ontario government and CCK funded this initiative to create a South Frontenac community directory. The project helped uncover a list of clubs, associations, businesses, other organisations, and individuals that could help contribute to the well-being of this wider community.
In March, two Connector circle meetings were held to ignite and further gather stories, and the gifts available that make this a strong community to live in.
“We began this project with a lofty timeline of March 31 to deliver a community directory. We were blessed by learning that many organisations had started down a similar path and were able to pool resource findings, along with filling in any identified gaps. While a draft has been created there is still a need to make it easy to navigate and accessible for all. In addition, we want to ensure the connector ideas keep being shared and we can mobilize in practical ways to keep enriching our level of connectedness. We learned that there is a lot of energy and vitality in South Frontenac – it’s great place to belong too,” said Kate Kristiansen.
A celebration event is being planned for May 2023.