A question that I often get is “how do I help someone integrate with the community?” In response to this question I’ve written several posts including “Three things you need to know about Community Integration” and “What is Community?” And today’s post includes five more things that you need to know to help someone “integrate” with the “community”.
1. There are many different kinds of communities. Keep in mind that the definition of community that I like to use is “community is a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. And there are all kinds of communities! There are religious communities, neighborhood communities, sports communities, school communities, volunteer communities, political communities, hobby, and interest-based communities, etc.
2. Online communities can provide meaningful connections. Online communities are another way that people can get that “feeling of fellowship with others” (e.g. gaming communities, Facebook groups, etc.). The possibilities are endless! For example, there are online communities for people who love specific breeds of dogs (e.g. I Love Boxers). There are online communities for people who love a specific color (e.g. I love Purple). There is even an online community called “Hair Bands of the 1980s.” (Yes, that is a real thing!) And if there isn’t an existing community for a specific interest area….well, one could always be created!
3. Most people belong to multiple communities. Think about the communities that you are a part of. You might get that “feeling of fellowship with others” by being a part of a religious community, a sports community, a neighborhood community, a work community, and an online community…..all at the same time.
4. People participate in their communities differently. A person may spend 2 hours a week involved in their religious community, 4 hours a week involved with their sports community, and only occasionally involved in their neighborhood community. However, another person may spend 20 hours a week involved with their religious community, 5 hours a week with their neighborhood community, and is only occasionally involved with their sports community.
5. A person’s communities can change. We ALL grow and change. We learn new things and have new experiences. We develop new interests (and sometimes abandon old ones). And as we grow and change, the “communities” that we choose to engage in may also change.
As I’ve shared in previous posts, you can’t help a person “integrate” with their “community” until you know the person! Once you know the person (what is important TO them and FOR them), you can then help the person “integrate” with the communities of their choosing. And the five points (above) will help you get there!
If you missed our other blogs on community, check them out.