Want to feel welcomed in community? Just ‘Engage’

Engage Columbus’ mission is to connect residents — whether new or lifelong — to the information, resources, opportunities and people that will make them feel welcomed and engaged in the community.

Based on its first major undertaking, the agency is proving its worth.

Its Love Where You Live challenge, which ran from July 13 through Aug. 27, invited participants to complete four weekly challenges that took them to businesses, organizations and landmarks throughout Columbus. The purpose was for residents to experience the community and visit places they had not been before.

Another benefit of Love Where You Live is that it brought into contact people of difference races, and those with disabilities — which aids the goal of being a welcoming community.

The social media platform of Facebook was used to reach a wider audience, and allowed participants to post videos of their challenges online. Participants qualified for prize drawings as they completed challenges.

That’s a good start for Engage Columbus, a three-year pilot operated by the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Columbus. Its birth was rooted in the results of the 2004 and 2011 Heritage Fund Welcoming Community surveys, which showed residents were having trouble getting connected with groups and resources. What resulted was the creation of a one-stop resource to answer people’s questions.

Engage Columbus has become a worthwhile community addition to the benefit of its residents. The Love Where You Live challenge was a great way for residents to learn about the organization and the city.