A community is more than streets, buildings and the people who live there. Beneath the surface is a network of connections and people relating to each other in many ways that make up the essentials of community life.

In Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), a concept of community based on work by John McKnight, a distinction is made between institutions and associations. Institutions (like a health clinic, restaurant, or car dealer) relate to community members based upon a need that people want to fill. Institutions meet needs for medical care, food, transportation, etc.

Associations (like a garden club, sewing group, or book club) relate to community members based upon the gifts, talents, and assets people bring to them. Associations provide an opportunity for people to share their gifts of playing a game well, using a needle and thread, literary understanding, etc. People who are members of associations have an opportunity to enrich the community by sharing their interests and talents. As a result, they enjoy a sense of belonging and increased self-esteem.

Associations are an often overlooked resource. When we are trying to support someone to build a better life, it is "easy" for professionals to rely upon other professionals (and their institutions) to find solutions. We sometimes forget the power inherent in all the informal connections and networks that exist in our community.

Click here to find out more about how you can help build community and improve the lives of all people at risk of isolation from community.

There are a number of resources available for the Monadnock region. Check out the MDS resource pages, and also the LifeArt resource listings.

We have created an Associations list for you to use.Think about your own interests or the interests of someone you support. What are all the ways you might act on those interests? Look through the Associations list for organizations or groups you might contact. Click the tabs at the bottom of the list to see Local Government, Churches, Clubs, Community, Libraries, Parks, Public Schools, and Recreation Centers. Information is organized by towns. If you think of an association to add to the list, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'll add your suggestion right away!