Creating community: an Aeon resident’s perspective

Last October, along with five other Aeon residents and several social work mentors from Simpson Housing, I was pleased to be invited to participate in the Community Leadership Institute (CLI), an annual conference produced by NeighborWorks America. Not until recently did I discover that I had not previously explored what community means to me or to others, and why it is important. It was at this conference that what had been an abstract concept to me – community – started to become a bit less vague.

In part for our participation in CLI – as well as the grant proposal writing acumen of Aeon and Simpson Housing staff – we were privileged to receive a grant for community project seed money from the NeighborWorks organization. After several months of brainstorming, discussion and detailed planning, we’re at last in the midst of executing our project plan, which seeks to promote healthier living within the Aeon resident community.

Our most recent healthy living event this past Tuesday brought us Manny Gonzalez, owner of Manny’s Tortas. The charming Manny guided residents from The Lamoreaux and Continental Hotel through a mélange of delicious and nutritious made-from-scratch Mexican dishes. Participants were actively involved in assisting him in the menu preparation, with engaging dialogue and banter throughout.

And that’s where it occurred to me that community was happening. It’s not so much about a locality, or a subset of individuals. It’s an activity, where there is active participation, an exchange of diverse ideas, where people learn, listen, share and teach together, and achieve a common good. That night our common good was a hearty homemade meal shared by all.

Thank you Manny, and to everyone involved in making this event a success, for strengthening the Aeon resident community!

– Matt Ruch is an Aeon resident and an active member of the Lamoreaux Council and the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) planning group. 

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