I have just celebrated my 2 month anniversary as the new manager of Changing Minds, and the word I can’t get passed to sum up this time is ‘delightful’!
There are of course many others that come to mind as well, inspiring, provocative, exciting, nerve racking, powerful, insightful, at times a little overwhelming! But the word that surpasses and encompasses all that I have seen, heard, and been part of is delightful!
It has been an absolute delight to meet person after person who has a relationship with, a contribution to make, an experience to share, or a story to tell, and it reminds me of how interconnected we all are as human beings. To see the relationship and involvement in some way to what both Changing Minds stands for, and to what I am readily reminded the richness of all peoples lives are about has been deeply powerful.
I wanted to talk a little about a few places I have visited, events I have attended, and culinary delights I have encountered in the last two months that are particularly community minded, and from what I can see relationship focussed – places that delighted me.
Firstly, in the two months I have been at changing Minds I have been a part of two forums hosted and run by Changing Minds. The variety of people that attended was awesome – not to mention the yummy food! Attendee’s were not shy in voicing their opinions on whatever the topic of the day was, and the facilitators of these topics were excited about what it was they were presenting. I was struck by the powerful voice that exists collectively as a group of people, and the sense of wellbeing that they together present. Our coming forum will be no different, offering a chance to connect, learn, and contribute (and of course – yummy food!). Changing Minds August Forum
I was lucky enough to be invited to an art exhibition opening of an incredibly talented artist at Toi Ora, an art space that people use to develop and show their work, in Ponsonby. Toi Ora has a strong and constant community presence – I met people I hadn’t seen for years, and swapped stories of where we had been and what we were doing now. As I watched I saw people who had a connection with Toi Ora, artists who used the space to create work, and people who had heard about the exhibition rekindling friendships and sharing food. It was a great event, (again yummy food)! http://www.toiora.org.nz
You might have seen the Changing Minds advertising of our art initiative called ‘Mental Blocks’ (http://changingminds.org.nz/mentalblocks/what-is-it). We have been busy putting up posters all over town, and the people I have met along the way and again the community mindedness I encountered was ubiquitous. I met travellers, buskers, locksmiths, DJ’s, tattoo artists, painters, dance students, café and bar staff, gallery curators, and street artists, who wanted to be a part of the art initiative. I talked with university Lecturers, students, actors, people in queues, politicians, gardeners, club members, and school teachers, all of whom were keen to be hear about Mental Blocks. I was reminded that despite the idea of ‘community’ being at times somewhat scarce, community involvement is in fact alive and well with the people we encounter everyday.
I have met and reconnected with many people and places I have known – a few that are definitely worth checking out include:
Parent and Family Resource Centre (PFRC) – a fantastic resource, they host small workshops, run information sessions, and can direct people to numerous supports or communities. Look them up: http://pfrc.org.nz
Raeburn House – an amazing place full of almost every kind of link to almost every kind of place, person, organisation, support and community resource that you could want. One of our board members Malcolm Dixon and myself recently attended an event they held and had our photo taken. http://www.raeburnhouse.org.nz
AucklandCityLibraries – what can I say except get in there! The library is a really interactive place – with well-versed, friendly and welcoming librarians to help you, and comfy bean bangs to read whatever it is you fancy. There is a link to an interview of a librarian that featured in our recently released Diverse City magazine here.
Yet another is Community Waitakere, recently I went to a meeting in Henderson, people were talking about what their organisation does and how it connects to the local community. They have an onsite resource area, and an online newsletter: http://www.communitywaitakere.org.nz
The Changing Minds webpage is yet another way to access the community. This has a raft of information about what Changing Minds is doing, and what we have been involved in. It also has the opportunity to contribute to issues we are working on and ideas we are thinking about: http://changingminds.org.nz
The Changing Minds facebook page. There is an opportunity to find out what is happening both in the sector in the wider society, and connect with friends. You can tell people what you have doing, what’s happening out there and have your say. Changing Minds also posts updates on what we are doing: https://www.facebook.com/changingminds.nz
Finally – the Changing Minds newsletter! What a fantastic resource this is. We have an editor who is informed and insightful, we have up to date information and opportunities to find out about events, training, and positions available. Tell all your friends, family and colleagues to sign up and hear about what’s going on out there! Subscribe here.
In my short time at Changing Minds I have met a host of interesting and stimulating people. The connectedness we share through our common humanity, and the community we contribute to through our diversity, I believe can hold us together as people. It has been nothing short of a delight to be in my new role and I am absolutely sure this will only get increase.
– Ainslie Gee