West Springs Cougar Ridge President’s Message for January

WestSprings pm

In preparing to share some thoughts with the community, I reflected back on the many conversations with the wonderful volunteers of our WS/CR Community Association, as well as community members and leaders over the past year. Here are some thoughts that I feel capture the collective feeling of togetherness that emanates throughout our community.

The past couple years had the potential to be very divisive within a community. We have all experienced loss over the past year, whether it is the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of connection to things which brings us a feeling of security. The loss felt within our community did not seem to divide us, but rather shone the light on how much compassion and empathy we have for each other. There were calls for action and support when there was need, and our community seemed to band together and did what it could to look out for each other.

This year brought the start of a new safety committee. Using social media to reach our community members, this group of volunteers were able to generate awareness within the neighborhood and provided support on how to remain safe. They saw a need to work with the community association, along with the City and community liaisons to find solutions that would not incite fear, but rather empower each other.

When seemingly targeted graffiti was spray painted around the community, it did not divide us. Instead, it created the space for more understanding and provided learnings for what more we needed to do within the community for everyone to feel valuable, included, and safe. It opened up difficult dialogues and called for us to strive for better. In the end, the vandalism did not meet its intended purpose but, rather, brought our community closer and made it stronger.

I would like to acknowledge our community sponsors who have supported us through the years. These businesses are the backbone of our community and when they are called upon, they give with their time, energy, and money.

I would also like to shine the light on our hard-working volunteers who see the need for great programs that help foster neighbourly connections, especially after so many have lost social supports in the past years. They spend time away from their families and generously step up for the needs of the community.

Finally, this year we would like to acknowledge the thousands of small acts of kindness that make the WS/CR communities so great. Thank you for the snow angels who shovel their neighbor’s walk. Thank you to those who organize food trains when they see a community in need. Thank you for those who reach out to a neighbor with offers to pick up groceries while they may have been quarantining.

We are fortunate to live in a community with so many kind and compassionate people, and I am looking forward to another year in 2022 in which we can continue to build our strong community.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from my family to yours.

Paul Ghazar

President, West Springs / Cougar Ridge Community Association

Building a strong community