2005 National Host Conference
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[ Section 3 ] Conference Workshops
Workshop 3C - Host Programs and The Development of Social Capital
Merek Jagielski, Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA), Halifax, Nova Scotia
The workshop examined the correlation between the hosts volunteering and development of social capital in the host service delivery. The objectives included:
- To analyze how host volunteering can contribute to social capital development and civic participation of newcomers
- To analyze factors that enhance social capital and civic participation through host volunteering
- To discuss best strategies on how Host Programs can better contribute to the development of social capital
The correlation between the development of social capital and the settlement and integration process of newcomers include:
- Bonding Stage - Initial Settlement
- Newcomers are primarily interested in accessing groups that have already established networks of shared norms and values that sustain their sense of identity i.e. ethno-cultural associations.
- Strong attachments to ethnic groups and religious associations play a key role in helping newcomers settle and adapt. Immediate settlement needs are addressed by bonding organizations.
- Bridging Stage - Adaptation
- Newcomers access organizations or groups or activities such as support groups, and/or capacity building groups.
- Linking Stage - Integration
- Newcomers participate/join organizations/activities that facilitate community participation, and civic engagement.
- Linking networks across ethnic, racial and linguistic boundaries.
Development of Social Capital and Host Programs
- Social capital works best when host and newcomer populations interact in building trust, a mutual understanding of shared values that bind communities and individuals together while creating a stronger sense of belonging among newcomers
- Host Programs can provide the context and contact needed to develop the relationship between diversity and civic attitudes and behaviours.
- Venues for social interaction
- Opportunities for participation in formal and informal activities, social encounters (it plays an important positive role in shaping civic attitudes and behaviours.)
- Meaningful interaction in ethnically diverse settings to extend a sense of trust
- Host Program & Development of Social Capital on the Settlement and Integration Continuum
Host - Short Term Focus: (settlement and bonding)
- Language tutoring and mentoring
- Welcome to the local neighbourhood
- Conversational activities
- Orientation activities
Host - Long Term Focus (adaptation and bridging)
- Access and participation in social and cultural events
- Specific social activities
- Building the community settlement capacity
- Sense of welcome
Host and Integration (Linking)
- Innovative practices that aim to maximize social and human capital
- Stronger support networks and enhancement of social relationships
- Increased levels of social interaction and civic participation
- Bridging and linking stages of social capital are critical in making Host Programs better reflect current trends and demands in settlement and integration.
The Development of Social Capital and the Host Program
Incorporating social capital dimensions to the context of Host Programs provides an opportunity to look beyond the current host practices to shift their focus on:
- Building/creating social networks to strengthen the integration process
- Integrating Host practices with social capital functions (i.e. building social resources, social relations, and strengthening social networks and community participation)
- Incorporating social capital concepts (bridging and linking) into the Host Program (i.e. networks for interaction, connecting individuals and groups)
- Developing new host initiatives that combine social integration with the development of social capital
- Creating resources to increase Host Program capacities to support active participation in diverse society that meets specific social needs of newcomers
- The Host Program’ Potential Contribution to the Development of Social Capital
- Engagement and support of civic participation of newcomers
- Establishment and maintenance of social networks for newcomers
- Promotion of active participation of newcomers in the networks
- Investment in the development of social and civic competencies of newcomers and a sense of responsibility through action
- Promotion of a cooperation across host and newcomer communities
- Fostering the existence of networks of mutual help
- Cooperation enhanced between settlement agencies and communities
- Should the Host Program be focusing on addressing settlement immediate needs or should it be developing along the social integration continuum?
- How can the existing Host Program effectively strengthen social capital efforts within and through settlement organizations?
- How can the Host Program effectively build (create) social capital around a settlement agency’s identified specific issues?
- What are the key factors needed to bring about the success of the Host Programs contributions to social capital building efforts?
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