One of Rainier Valley Corps (RVC) values is COMMUNITY. I think this is the most important value that the organization is constantly doing through the work of the RVC fellows. We, the fellows are working for these COMMUNITY based organizations because we want to make a change in the COMMUNITY. I remember when I first interview with RVC, they had asked me which of the values resonate with me the most. Knowing how I work and my own personal values, I chose COMMUNITY. For this blog post, I decided I want to reflect on the value and how it relates to me in a more extended version.
But first, what is COMMUNITY? How do I or you or someone define COMMUNITY? And so of course, I searched for the definition. And wow, different online dictionaries have a lot of definitions for COMMUNITY but I think the one that made the most sense to me is from the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines it as:
COMMUNITY (n) \kə-ˈmyü -nə-tē\ a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests
This definition makes sense to me because yeah, I do agree that a COMMUNITY is just basically a group of people who share common interests whether it’s culture, religion, history, etc. But COMMUNITY can also be a group of people who are there to teach you, to strengthen you, and to support you.
And I really value COMMUNITY especially my own Filipin@ COMMUNITY. I’d have to say that my idea of COMMUNITY is deeply rooted in my Filipin@ culture. I never had a constant COMMUNITY to feel connected to and to look back on until I lived in Seattle. I moved a lot as a kid because of my father’s job. I never felt there was a COMMUNITY that I could really rely on. What made it even harder was that my family was the only family in the places I’ve lived in. Yes, I’ve found mentors and close friends growing up but it wasn’t the same as having a whole COMMUNITY.
I moved to Seattle for college but also for a fresh start. I was in search of COMMUNITY and wanted to find that COMMUNITY that I was lacking growing up. I wanted to learn more about my Filipin@ identity and have a sense of belonging. My first year at UW, I got involved with Filipin@ American Student Association. I remember thinking, “Yes, finally! This is what I needed. I get to meet people who are interested in learning more about Filipin@ culture. I’m going to attend all the meetings and events. Blah blah blah.”
After I graduated from UW, I knew that I wanted something more. I wanted to serve and be a part of the greater Filipin@ COMMUNITY. The fact that the Filipin@ Community has done so much got me interested in wanting to do the same and contribute my part to the strong legacy of the Filipin@ Community. I’m eternally grateful for the RVC Fellowship because it allowed me to pursue that passion. Over the past months of my fellowship, I get to see COMMUNITY in my work. I can’t help but feel happy to be part of this COMMUNITY. I never felt more proud of my Filipin@ COMMUNITY. Because of this COMMUNITY, I’ve grown a lot with the knowledge I’ve gained and all the things I’ve learned from the members of this COMMUNITY, from the staff and the board members. And I’m glad to say that I’ve finally found a COMMUNITY.
It’s so powerful to read your words on the meaning of community! I’m glad RVC has given you the space to pursue this passion.
Glad to be part of your COMMUNITY. Great reflections and sharing. Looking forward to seeing more of your community building work.