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Connection-ten-years-of-building-community

July 28th, 2009 Posted in In the Media

The ROC recognizes that it can best respond to the community only by being part of that communityThe ROC recognizes that it can best respond to the community only by being part of that community

To outsiders, the towns and villages that are sprinkled along the old Route 333 that traces Nova Scotia’s south shore may appear small, traditional, isolated, and rugged. Historically they are places that have been more oriented to the sea than to one another, or to the city just up the coast.

Times have changed though and with them, so have the communities. One of the engines of this change has been the Resource Opportunities Center (ROC.) Sitting in her sun-soaked backyard, Barbara Allen of Terence Bay tells the story of the ROC and the role it has played in helping to nurture the many assets of the Prospect Communities.

The ROC had its beginning ten years ago as the Terence Bay and Area C@P Site. With its focus on providing access to information and technology-related learning for the communities it served, it was a busy place indeed. In 2002, the ROC was developed as a way to expand the services the C@P Site offered the communities.

For the ROC, the tools that serve its commitment to building “a thriving healthy community” are computers and computer technology. The ROC aims to connect people, and thus strengthen the community, by making technology accessible to as many community members as possible.

It’s an interesting and successful fit, these rural and often isolated communities and the latest in computer technology. In the six years since its inception, the ROC has successfully linked people in ways that were not possible before computer technology was made so accessible. Over the years, the ROC has conducted hundreds of classes, programs, and projects focused on building the capacity of as many people as possible to use the computers and available technology.

A major accomplishment has been the development of an interactive open source community portal. Logging onto www.prospectcommunities.com, a person comes upon a wealth of information. With links to local histories, coverage of local events, advertisements for local businesses, job postings and educational opportunities, it serves as the hub for information for and about the region.

Complementing this hub, the ROC also produces a regular newsletter and continues to sustain the extensive network that they have grown so effectively. Together, these form one of the spines of the vibrant Prospect Communities which include: Terence Bay, Prospect, Shad Bay, McGrath’s Cove, East and West Dover, Brookside, Blind Bay, Lower Prospect, White’s Lake, Hatchet Lake, and Goodwood.

Relationships and connections are key to the work of the ROC. The ROC recognizes that it can best respond to the community only by being part of that community. To accomplish this, the ROC is funded by many partners; the Board and staff have become masterful at securing funds for their many projects.

It has made of the ROC a vibrant and creative resource for the wide community. As Barbara says, collaboration and partnerships are critical to effective community development and community building and the ROC is a fine example of this.

Times have indeed changed and, with them, the communities have shifted. What hasn’t changed is the importance of connection. That will never change.

With Thanks to Barbara Allen.

Community Health, Capital Health, Together – Ten Years of Building Community , January 2009, Page 8

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