We can thrive in place thanks to the ingenuity of non-profits and for-profits in our neighbourhoods

Written by Lisa Hrabluk

Best-selling author. Award-winning journalist. Purpose-led entrepreneur. Find me hanging out where culture, people and ideas collide.

April 30, 2020

For two hours every Thursday I listen to my teen daughter laugh…and I exhale.

Out here in New Brunswick we’re into our sixth week of the COVID-induced school break and the kids are beyond bored. They’re missing the routine of the school room and they are missing their friends. Not even Tik Tok can fill that void.

Which is why I love Thursdays; it’s InterAction day. A week after the schools closed and with it all after-school activities, my daughter received her first Zoom call invitation. Before COVID happened, her class at InterAction School of the Performing Arts, a local youth theatre non-profit, was writing and rehearsing an original one-act play. But not even a global pandemic can stop teen creativity. Together with their instructor Jo Dixon as their guide they’re still at it, creating on Zoom, and by the sounds of giggles and exclamations coming out of my daughter’s room, they’re having a great time.

InterAction is my personal example of a community-based organization stepping up and out to serve its community during COVID-19. They’re adapting on the fly, learning as they go and I am equal parts grateful and excited to witness that change.

The other day I was on my own Zoom call, with some fellow Canadian B Corp women leaders and we were talking about what comes next. I was hand-talking as I explained the immediate, short-term and longer-term planning I think is needed to begin the task of building back better.

Kim Fuller, owner of Phil, a purpose-driven communications company, looked back at me from her home office in Montreal and said she explains it to her clients this way: react, recover, thrive.

I love it. React. Recover. Thrive. No hand-talking required to explain the clarity of those words. Thanks Kim.

The people leading and working in community-based organizations and businesses are doing some combination of this every day. They are legion and I count myself and my husband Michael Hawkins in their numbers. My Centre for Deep Change co-founder Dhirendra Shukla is another, working to launch his new start-up Gray Wolf Analytics. We’re each small business owners figuring out this new world as we go, reacting to the direct and in-direct effects restrictions have had, recovering via experimenting on the fly with new processes, products, services and workflows, and redefining what it means to thrive in a pandemic-saturated world.

I know we are not alone.

Who in your world is stepping up and out to serve their community? Who’s showing their work in the way they have quickly adapted their service offerings or product lines, both in the non-profit and for-profit space?

Who through their actions is helping you and the people you love to thrive in place?

Let’s start naming names so we can truly understand the breadth and depth of talent and tenacity that serves our communities.

It’s the start to mapping our way forward together, in place.

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