Community Connectedness is Learnable

Healthy City Strategy

The RBS aims to support the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy model. More specifically it targets a good start and the city’s aim that children have the best chance of enjoying a healthy childhood.
As displayed in the diagram above, several key elements of the Healthy City Strategy are congruent with the four pillars of the RBS.  Read more about City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy.

Pillar Four: Community

At the heart of a healthy society is a strong community. Community can help shape our identity as a collective and interdependent people. It creates the opportunity for us to care for others and, in turn, to be cared for. Caring and giving bring meaning to our life and are the key interactions to building a sense of belonging and meaningful relationships (Born, 2014). According to Dr. John Helliwell, RBS advisory board member and international expert on community and happiness, the art of community connectedness is inherently learnable, and caring for one another is the premise of a healthy society. When children care for one another, they take important steps on the road to achieving their personal potential—all the while improving the world through their actions. It creates a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties. When you lend your hand to others, the universe lends its hand to you. You invite abundance into your life. When we belong and enjoy meaningful relationships with one another, this makes us more resilient, and it makes us healthier and happier.

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD)

The RBS has spent an extensive period of time to identify the assets of individuals (RBS advisory board professionals, parents, educators and teachers, ambassadors, and high school, and university students), associations (Decoda, Dalai Lama Center), and institutions (HELP) before they are mobilized to work together to build on the identified assets of all involved.

The ABCD framework is inherently conducive to a sustainable organization, and the RBS aims to integrate this into every level of its structure. Our goal is to see kindergarten buddies, upon reaching high school, equipped to give back to the community by acting as reading buddies for younger students. Opportunities are also provided for enthusiastic high school buddies to take leadership within their school communities by leading Reading Bear school clubs.
The ABCD framework, as well as the RBS school clubs, is also consistent with the inquiry-based learning approach, allowing adolescents and children to best find solutions to issues that they identify as important (Green & Haines, 2012, chapter 1).

“Children who have a good start in life do better at school, secure better paid jobs, and enjoy better physical and mental health as adolescents and adults. Children who do not experience a good start are at greater risk of doing poorly at school, enjoying fewer economic opportunities as adults, and are more likely to be involved in criminal activities and problematic substance use throughout their lives. All children benefit from quality care, family support, and opportunities for play, learning and connection.” – City of Vancouver, 2014