BC Profile: Kyrsten Devonshire

KD

What are some of the things you are doing right now to build relationships between your neighbours in your corner of Mahogany?

Two years ago, I decided to shake it up 😉 by creating some flyers and going door to door in Mahogany South, asking ladies if they wanted to join a monthly dice game. That flyer resulted in three different bunco groups of neighbours meeting once a month to spoil ourselves with good food, great conversations, and true friendships. Since I was on a roll, I created a Facebook group called Crafty Connections, which is open to any ladies in the south east who are looking to build friendships through participating or leading events like painting, cooking, pottery, etc. Sometimes it is easier to push yourself to try a new craft, if you have a familiar face doing it with you. Group members are encouraged to post their interest in classes/activities and offer up their talents if they would like to teach their Art. One of our recent events was held at Pinnovate, as we try to support our community businesses.

Last year, I made some flyers and decided to try and organize our first block party for Neighbour Day. Again going door to door, I met with so many familiar faces, and our neighbours seemed eager to join in the party. I was thrilled when several wonderful families jumped into the party planning. The actual party allowed all those familiar faces to become friendly faces. Sitting around and sharing stories and laughter shifted our relationships from the “idea of neighbours” to an understanding of being neighbourly. We no longer water our grass with a simple wave to the neighbour mowing his lawn, instead we put down the hose, stop the mower, and meet in the middle of the street for a visit. We jokingly yell at our neighbours to keep it down while they are throwing a backyard bbq, and we are invited over for a hamburger. No plans on a Friday night- Let’s see if the neighbours across the street want to come over for a drink.

These new relationships inspired another Facebook group, Mahogany South, where we post information about parties (neighbours inviting everyone on their block to Halloween, Christmas, and Canada Day parties) missing pets, suspicious activity in the neighbourhood, offering up free items, etc.

Our Little Free Library outside our home is something that brings me a lot of happiness. On any given day, 20 different people will stop and take/leave a book, write in our guest book, and sit for a few minutes reading on our bench. It has been so successful that we are adding a second Little Free Library for children’s books this week.

I am also proud to be a Mahogany Angel. Our group was inspired by the love and support demonstrated by the Auburn Bay Angels in caring for their community members in times of need. If you know of a community member needing a lift up, please refer them to the Mahogany Angel’s as a resource: https://www.facebook.com/groups/982661551889329/

Where does the motivation to do these things come from for you?

My husband, Mike, and I moved here from an area where I couldn’t tell you anything about our neighbours. When we moved to Mahogany we saw it as a fresh start. The neighbourhood is young, and moldable. We have the potential to shape it into something spectacular. I want our children to be able to play on the street and know that at any given time, there are several sets of eyes on them- and the people looking out for our children know them by name, and care for them because they are part of this community we have built together.

What would you say to someone who wants this but isn’t sure that they could be a good Block Connector?

In many cases, you are probably doing it already. But if you aren’t, just wanting to already makes you “good” at it. For me it started with some simple flyers asking some ladies to get together. That first meeting, I was nervous- but so were all of them. But every meeting after became easier and easier and real friendships developed. The other thing is once you put yourself out there you will find some like-minded people. Once you connect with them, you can tag team your efforts. I am lucky to have found a couple of these people in my corner of Mahogany. They are great neighbours, and awesome friends.

If you know someone like Kyrsten we would love to share how they make their block and neighbourhood better! Please message or email us if you would like to acknowledge their contributions!Abundant Community Copperfield Mahogany (ACCM) is an asset based community development (ABCD) initiative and a sub-committee of the Copperfield Mahogany Community Association (CMCA) in partnership with the MahoganyHOA. We exist to encourage block connection, discover neighbourhood vision and gifts, and share compelling stories of neighbourliness. To find out more please look us up on Facebook or email accm@cmcommunity.ca.

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