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How do we create Receptive Communities?
The third element of the WINs initiative in New Westminster, the Receptive Communities project, created a community dialogues toolkit to provide guidance that will facilitate awareness-building, intercultural relations and mutual trust.
The toolkit allows participants to find what they have in common through individual perceptions, shared feelings and personal experiences.
In November 2013 Family Services of Greater Vancouver, in partnership with Immigrant Services Society of BC, used the toolkit to implement a series of community dialogues named “Common Ground Circles”.
The dialogues focused on four different social groups in New Westminster—seniors, men, women and youth—and incorporated best practices for engaging the community in order to build broader support for newcomers living in New Westminster.
The dialogues created space for real listening and understanding, and provided opportunities for all New West residents—newcomers, refugees, naturalized Canadians and native-born Canadians—to create long-term and positive relationships.
The Common Ground Circles turned the shared immigrant stories and experiences into an informational tool, developing sympathy and connection among participants.
As a result, non-immigrant residents left with positive thoughts about their understanding and appreciation of their immigrant neighbours.
A video series of the community dialogues highlighting the stories shared and connections made can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/commongroundscircle.