A Culture of Engagement/Building Community

Community is more than just a location or a collection of individuals who happen to live or work in the same place. When MI ESCUELITA talks about a ‘sense of community’ we usually mean the quality of the relationships and connections that bring people together rather than just the fact that we see each other regularly on South 3rd Street.
While the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ may have become a cliché, the idea behind it—that children grow up as a part of a group—remains an important one. Children develop in the context of a community. How we acknowledge this and engage with our own neighbors will have a significant impact on children and families, as well as on our own ways of working.For children, a sense of community plays an important role in the development of their feelings of belonging and security. Children thrive in an environment of mutually supportive and caring relationships. For this reason developing a sense of connection has been a crucial part of our mission at MI ESCUELITA for over ten years. It is valuable for children to feel part of a wider world that extends beyond the learning environment. As they grow and develop, connections to the outside world help them to find their place and to develop an understanding of how society’s shared values work.

For many families, MI ESCUELITA provides a first contact with a broader network beyond the home. Because of this, MI ESCUELITA acts as an important point of connection for families. We can foster supportive relationships between families as well as outreach to other organizations and services in our local area. Recognizing and building these bonds are simple ways to engage with our neighborhood. Finding time and effective ways to engage can be challenging, especially in a place like NYC, we tend to think ‘big’, however small is beautiful!

Ask yourself, who do I already know? And importantly, who else do they know? Even within the smallest group, the number of connections will be surprisingly large—a parent who can play guitar or teaches yoga, someone who has an art show, or simply wants to share one of his/her talents.

We feel extremely privileged and honored to be a space that honors a sense of connection. Please continue to reach out to your community of MI ESCUELITA friends and family at local area events, in public spaces, at each other’s homes, and on social media. In support us, we have several tools available to MI ESCUELITA’s network: our website ,and our new Facebook page. As always, feel free to email and call us with any great ideas for connections.

Please connect and share your projects, events, and most importantly your thoughts on how we can continue growing in this amazing place called Brooklyn and keep building our great community!

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