“I alone can do it, but I cannot do it alone.”
One of our major aims is to create a strong and supportive KCWA community of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, in order to facilitate a sense of belonging, create hope, cultivate pride, and enhance self-esteem. These factors all facilitate healing.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why community development is so important to KCWA.
Firstly, we want to bring together all those people involved in, or connected in some way with, our foster care programs. It is important – particularly for the children concerned – that people interact and get to know each other, and support and learn from each other. There is always something that a person can learn from someone else that makes their life that little bit easier.
Secondly, community and relationships are key to healing and recovery. Healing is something that comes from the person – it is not something done by a doctor or some other practitioner. However, people do not heal or recover in isolation. They need to be connected to other people to facilitate healing.
Being connected to other people creates a sense of belonging, which is a key factor underlying healing. Being connected to a community increases the likelihood of the person being supported by other people. It allows one to meet and learn from someone who is further along in their healing journey. Role models provide hope (that recovery is possible) and understanding (of how it can be achieved).
Thirdly, a thriving community provides opportunities for a recovering person to become engaged in meaningful activities and gain a sense of agency. Feeling that you are doing something that impacts positively on yourself and others is key to healing and recovery. People who have suffered an addiction to drugs and alcohol, for example, also need to find things to do that fill the considerable time they used to devote to their substances.
Fourthly, communities have been damaged and they need to heal as well. Moreover, people within our communities have been disconnected from each other and from the community as a whole. The contributions that individuals used to make to each other and to their community have greatly diminished over the years. In many cases, the resulting void in the community has been filled by professional services, which has led to further disconnection and depersonalisation – and problems within the community.
We will use the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) model to develop the KCWA community and impact on the wider social environment.
We consider local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local people, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, will allow us to draw upon existing community strengths to build a stronger, more sustainable community for the future. This will greatly facilitate healing at an individual, family and community level.