Building Caring Communities… One Story at a Time

Goodlad Garden

Goodlad Garden

By Katherine Allen & Laura Kosciecha

Photo Courtesy of Katherine Allen & Laura Kosciecha



Building Caring Communities (BCC) is an Asset Based Community Development initiative that strives to foster meaningful connections in community. We do this by discovering the gifts and interests of individuals or groups of people (associations). The role of the Community Connector is to remain curious all the while searching for welcoming people and places. By spending time in neighborhoods, we are able to build a map of the assets there – the gifts and interests of neighbors, local businesses, best cafes, friendly faces, and welcoming places. Community Connectors often meet people who are in search of something; whether it be a friend, a helping hand, a space, or a mentor. Our role is to help thread a web of connections in an already-abundant community. Much of what we seek is already there, but perhaps we just didn’t know it yet, or had to adjust our lens to see it. We do this because we believe the more connected a community, the more vibrant, safe, and welcoming it is – for all members of the community. Following are some stories that capture the essence of our work.


The Little Garden That Could


Goodlad community garden, one of the original Can You Dig It community gardens, is nestled behind a friendly residence in Burnaby and has12 garden plots, a greenhouse, compost piles, hazelnut trees, grapevines, and picnic tables. Over the years, despite much effort to engage neighbors and gardeners, the garden had yet to flourish, and the vision of a thriving community space had yet to be realized.


This past spring, BCC collaborated with Can You Dig It to make this original vision a reality. After many conversations in the community, a potential partner for the garden was identified – a community residency group called Edmonds People in Community (EPIC). As it turned out, EPIC was more than willing to adopt Goodlad as they had a garden sub-committee but nowhere to garden.


After just one growing season, EPIC has had incredible success in transforming the garden into the thriving and bustling community space. In July, EPIC hosted a happy hour themed backyard picnic, which brought gardeners and neighbors together for an evening of garden-inspired eats, music, and conversation. There’s no doubt that the EPIC gardeners and Goodlad will continue to grow together.


High 5 Intervention

High 5 Intervention

Urban Acupuncture
Just as Traditional Chinese Acupuncture can be used to relieve stress in our bodies, Urban Acupuncture is a social-environmental theory that uses urban design and small-scale interventions to transform and relieve stress in the city. Inspired by Improv Anywhere, the BCC team decided that the hustle bustle of Burrard Sky Train Station needed some stress relieving.

It was the crack of dawn on a crisp fall day when we came together to create an early morning of disruption. Members of the BCC team lined the escalator with five separate signs that read (in ascending order): “Nick Wants…” “To Give You…” “A High Five!” “Get Ready!” “Nick (with arrow pointing to Nick)”. At the top of the escalator, commuters were greeted by the charismatic Nick and a high five. Though many commuters seemed unenthused at the beginning of their escalator ride, the majority walked out of the station with something different – a smile!

Our hope is that these small but uplifting interventions inspire others to find simple but meaningful ways to engage with their city. In this way, we can use Urban Acupuncture to create positive chain reactions and create a culture of connection.


Contact if you’re interested in participating in our next urban acupuncture intervention!


Dixit, Dominoes & Dominion


Greg at Boardgame Night

Greg at Boardgame Night


For a few months now, Greg has been attending the Boardgame Night at Drexoll Games. Having a deep love of games, Greg took an immediate liking to the event and, on most Fridays, can now be found hunched over a table conquering fantasy lands and defeating evil villains. Greg not only gets to learn new games every week, but has been making real connections in his community. He now gets a phone call every few weeks for an invitation to noodles and boardgames with a group of people he met there.


When asked what his favorite thing about Boardgame Night is, Greg will tell you it isn’t the games, it’s meeting new people. He enjoys his Friday nights at Drexoll Games because the people are nice and he gets along with everybody.


For more information about Building Caring Communities, please visit our website or send us an email. We would love to hear from you!