WrapAround Hamilton exists to help communities wrap themselves around vulnerable individuals and families. We are a community-driven, volunteer initiative who responds to families overwhelmed by their life circumstances. So, when we heard about a new book about community, we had to check it out.
Deepening Community: Finding Joy in Chaotic Times is written by longtime community activist Paul Born. He describes what he calls the four pillars of deep community as 1) sharing our stories, 2) taking the time to enjoy one another, 3) taking care of one another, and 4) working together for a better world. He shares his own stories of being a child of refugees in order to show the role of each of these pillars of deep community. Born shows us that the opportunity to create community is right in front of us. All we need is the courage and conviction to pursue it.
Born’s vision of community matches and enhances that of Shalem’s WrapAround program. As a result, we were excited to host one of Born’s book launch celebrations on May 27th at Melrose United Church in Hamilton. In an afternoon of fun and celebration, we listened as Paul shared why we need a deepened sense of community today, what inspired him to write, heard stories from the book, and learned about the key actions for ways we can (and already are) deepening our sense of community. For more information about this and an upcoming book launch in Guelph, check out the Deepening Community website.
WrapAround Hamilton has been active through Shalem Mental Health Network for over five years now. We operate with the assistance of World Vision’s program called Partnering to End Child Poverty. We recently received a Hamilton Community Foundation grant that allows us to have some staffing supports in the Jamesville and Sherman neighbourhoods of Hamilton.
When the call comes in to our office from a concerned friend, a distraught mother, or a school social worker, it is usually because they are unsure where to turn for help. In Wraparound, we listen to understand the complexity of family situations, prioritize the family’s needs, hopes and goals, and recruit a team to wrap itself around them to provide the deep community they need.
In our journeying with families, we most often meet over a cup of tea. But we have also attended weddings, baptisms, and graduations. We have also attended court, taken them to the hospital when the birth of a baby was imminent and advocated with them, as the needs arose. One of our joyous moments was having a birthday dinner with one of our mothers who had never had a birthday party in her entire life or had someone sing her happy birthday. It is these moments that deepen community.