Community is important. I don’t remember being taught this, at least not explicitly. But as a child I knew I was part of a family, part of a community.
As I grew, I found myself part of groups that hung out together. It wasn’t until I moved to a new city with a new job that I discovered that community didn’t always come naturally. Finding a group with similar values and interests takes work and can require that someone put effort into organizing community.
Over the last several years, I’ve thought more about the topic, particularly as I found new members moving in and engaging themselves as part of our community, and as I pondered moving to another city and the steps I would need to take to find community there.
Most recently, my thoughts on community have scaled up, beyond the individual to the organization. While an organization (business, nonprofit agency, community group) is comprised of individuals, the organization itself is often supported by a community of like-minded organizations. When they engage in the broader community, the opportunities for enrichment are expanded, and the organization can derive many benefits, as can the individual members of that organization.
It is this community of organizations that I am hoping to build with PBDD, and our participation in NDIA has helped me to see how the presence of a structure and cooperation by participants can yield benefits. In recent weeks, I’ve witnessed communal responses to questions that I have been working on, allowing me to contribute and learn from the responses of others. I’ve also seen requests for help answered by many in the community, and it is gratifying to be part of an organization that is working well together to help increase digital inclusion efforts across the country.
Seeing this has really helped me appreciate why my initial suggestion to help expand the reach of PRC’s programs was met with a request to help create links between the agencies doing this work. I hope that the sharing and connections between our partner agencies continue to expand and strengthen in the coming year.