10 Signs of Belonging
By Trent Sicotte, Accessible Housing Program Coordinator
We often think of basic human needs in terms of food, shelter, and clothing but of equal importance is having a sense of belonging. One of our main goals at Accessible Housing’s Foundation Place is to have our residents and staff develop a greater sense of belonging. Here are some examples that help illustrate that.
Ten Signs of Belonging I’ve noticed at Foundation Place:
1. TJ, who used to hide in his room and was unable to make eye contact, now regularly leaves his bedroom door open throughout the day, greets staff and guests with a smile, and attends almost every planned outing or activity.
2. Carl has reached out to reconnect with and visit family members in Ontario and Manitoba after almost thirty years because he has recognized the need for connection with his family.
3. Oscar, our support worker, consistently maintains a positive friendly attitude, while working with all the residents to support their projects and activities that contribute to our community.
4. Steve, shortly after moving in, helped paint our fence with Oscar. He also painted the trim and doors of the garage as a way of contributing and showing his gratitude.
5. Bill has started a project to create memorial plaques for two of our residents who passed away in the last year to help keep the memory of his friends alive.
6. Tyler, one of our Caseworkers who has a great insight into the value of inclusion and acceptance, worked tirelessly to gather information and create a compelling case for one of our residents to receive AISH, even though the resident had been denied on several occasions. We recently received the letter that the resident will now be receiving AISH!
7. Frank, an introvert who prefers to read books, work on models, and play videogames always makes the effort to cook a meal for everyone whenever there is a holiday.
8. HJ who has a strong sense of community with her church makes a concerted effort to attend services almost every week despite often experiencing severe and acute pain.
9. Rose, our other caseworker, who doesn’t swim and has a fear of water, made an effort to go sailing with residents because she understood that getting outside her comfort zone was an important way to connect with residents who we often challenge to do the same.
10. Kevin, despite numerous health challenges, attends most of our activities and is friendly with all of residents. He has a great sense of humour that helps to create a warm friendly atmosphere for everyone.
Belonging is something we all need and when we do feel a part of something greater than ourselves it allows us to cope with life’s sometimes painful and difficult challenges. Our staff and residents are living reminders and aspiration examples of the importance of this “beyond-basic” human right.