Over the last number of years, as organizers and helpers have emerged from Winnipeg’s inner city and Indigenous community, I have observed some consistency in the way we build our initiatives and events. With that in mind, I present: the 4 F’s of the Village!
- FREE: When working with folks from the inner city, it is known that a large portion of residents are living under the poverty line. While it is tempting to put an entry fee to raise funds, costs like that are barriers for people with less financial means. To cover costs, recruit dedicated volunteers willing to share their time or partner with other non-profits, other groups or local businesses.
- FOOD: In the North End especially, the most successful community events are ones that provide food to the people attending. Remember that people build great relationships over food and while breaking bread together. It is best if the food is relatively nutritious and is familiar to the community but don’t be afraid to try new things too (and be aware of allergies).
- FAMILY: When AYO! started it was for urban indigenous young people. As our initiatives and movement grew – it became clear that these young people wanted to create space for whole families. Spaces like Meet Me at the Bell Tower encourage inter generational relationships and also connect whole families to one another – strengthening the bond of community
- FUN: People learn best when smiling. Try to ensure there is flexibility in your event planning to make room for laughter, or jokes. Remember that humour should be family friendly and sensitive to community settings.
Example joke: What is the longest word in the English language? SMILES, because it is 2 S’s with a mile in between!
As you begin to organize and bring your neighbours and families together, remember the 4 F’s to help facilitate a successful community gathering!