A Community is More than a Zip Code
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A Community is More than a Zip Code

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At its heart, a community provides a safe place for its members to explore, learn, fail, and grow.

A Community is More than a Zip Code

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A community may be viewed as a point on the map—yet it is more than just a place on a map.

A community may be measured by its latest census count—yet is more than just the number of people.

A community may be known for a function it serves—yet it exists for more than just that purpose.

A community is all three. A functioning community brings together people, place, and purpose.

Richard Leider pointed out in The Power of Purpose that life is good when we can manage to have the Three Ps of our lives align with one another: People, Place, and Purpose. His book with David Shapiro, Repacking Your Bags, states the good life is “living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work, on purpose.” 

Those three Ps, also, help us understand interlocking issues affecting a community’s health and wellbeing.

My latest community service sees me sitting on a community council examining such topics with our ultimate responsibility to offer recommendations for further exploration and action as needed. As my fellow council members and I have examined the initial list of potential topics, Leider and Shapiro’s work came to my mind.

No matter what topic is addressed, the intersection of the Three Ps is evident. For instance, when learning about community assets that address “Senior Programming,” we heard about

§  Housing

§  Food insecurity 

§  Transportation

§  Resource Centers

§  Health programs

§  Mentoring

Each topic connects with another topic. It is difficult, for example, to focus on mentoring if one doesn’t know when or where the next meal will be—or where the table will be for that meal.

Consider your community’s assets and needs. Consider the interlocking nature of the people, place, and purpose your community attempts to serve. A functioning community is more than one event, initiative, or policy priority.

And it is so much more than a zip code.

How about your community?

[Previously published on The Growth and Resilience Network®. April 24, 2022]

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