For Communities to Thrive Individuals and Families Must Thrive

The Thriving Communities Collaborative envisions

a Baltimore where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

We asked community members to express their vision

of what was needed for a thriving Baltimore.

Here’s what they said…

Hear more from Marciss, Taylor, Neviah, Olivia, and Bernedda, by scrolling through the videos.

As we listen to the voices of community members, it becomes very clear that poverty and its resultant, homelessness, lack of jobs, lack of a quality education — are huge obstacles when it comes to building a thriving community.  Another thing becomes apparent as we talk to community members, and that is that connections matter…

connections between individuals
and people who care about them

connections between communities
and police/governmental officials.

Also, place matters.  When neighborhoods are clean, drug-free, not littered with abandoned, dilapidated housing and have safe spaces for children to play, they offer the base from which communities can thrive.

So many of our communities, families, and individuals will need to heal before they can move from “surviving to thriving.”

Toward Healing

By the time someone reaches out for help, there’s likely a long history of hurt. Think about it. A child acting out in school may have lost a parent to incarceration or may be suffering from frequent verbal or physical abuse. A teen locked up for shooting someone may have looked to the streets for love and support because his parents weren’t there for him – weren’t able to provide needed support because they were suffering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
Instead of trying to understand what happened to that child — that teenager — his parents — we instead ask:
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Why are you acting that way?”

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Our Body Remembers

Human beings have an amazing capacity to bounce back from difficult, unimaginable circumstances. But part of that resilience lies in our ability to develop coping mechanisms or ways to ensure that we can get through the difficult times. Sometimes, if a person is constantly bombarded by trauma and toxic levels of stress the brain can actually change. People who are constantly exposed to these toxic levels of stress switch into “protection” mode much faster than a person who hasn’t been exposed to constant stress.  It’s the body’s way of ensuring survival. But, when we are constantly on alert and in “protect” mode, we can’t relax. We have difficulty focusing. It’s difficult to perform daily tasks.

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Building Resilience

There are so many things that we as individuals can do to help people in our communities, especially children and youth, build the resilience they need to overcome some of the problems that occur in life. We can begin by making a commitment to learn more about the types of things that can disrupt people’s lives – so that — whenever possible — we can avoid them.  Additionally, we can make a commitment to connect with another individual and offer them the support they need to become more resilient and thrive.  Further, we can actively advocate for and lobby our local leadership for policies that help our communities thrive rather than plunge them deeper into poverty, chaos, and despair.

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“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me.  No fear.”

Nina Simone