The holiday season is here. It’s time for family, friends, gifts, gatherings, and all things wonderful and good. At least that's what all the retailers, TV commercials and social media ads tell us. But what is holiday spirit really about? At the end of the day, we can all agree that we want more real-life connection in the communities that matter to us.
A sense of belonging is just as important to our survival as food and shelter. In the realm of social media, many equate this with “likes and hearts”—the need to be accepted. Many of us have built online communities, but the positive mental health effects we get from being truly connected, in person, often don’t transfer from online to real life. Mental health issues are on the rise coupled with an increased culture of disconnection and loneliness.
In any given year, one in five people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
So what do you do if you don’t feel connected to “community?” What if you’re a single parent, struggling to make ends meet, with nowhere to turn? Or a newcomer wondering where to meet people or find resources? Or you’re simply done with the overwhelming toxicity and judgment that goes hand-in-hand with current social media platforms? The answer to all those questions, according to Ashley Stone, a Kelowna-based tech founder/CEO, is to take a new direction and build your in-real-life community using The Village App.
The idea for The Village App came to Stone in 2019 when a surprising third pregnancy turned out to be twins.
“I needed help,” Stone says. “I found there wasn’t a lack of people offering, but actually asking and connecting with them was tricky, especially as my family and closest friends don’t live nearby. I knew there had to be a better way, one that made reaching out for help less awkward and more efficient. When I couldn’t find what I needed, I knew I had to create it.”
In August 2021, Stone and the team at Atomic47 Labs launched The Village App, a communication tool designed for hyperlocal connectivity with the goal to give every person the opportunity to build an “in-real-life” community completely tailored to their own needs without all the noise and toxicity currently found online. The Village App has grown to more than 1,000 users and is expected to double that by the end of 2021.
Now is the perfect time to get on board. The Village App is hosting a 31-day “event” to help Canadians build better communities for themselves and others. The “Give. Get. Gather.” event aims to bring people together to brighten up this holiday season. During “Give. Get. Gather.,” folks are encouraged to share their wish list, their “give” list or broadcast an event to their local community through The Village App.
How does it work? Using The Village App, you share “requests” and “offers,” see when they’ve been accepted, and know that they only get shared with people in your neighbourhood or in your personal support network, which you can easily create.
Here are just a few examples of the kinds of requests and offers you can send or receive using The Village App:
• I’m looking for a Star Wars Lego set for my daughter. Have one you no longer need?
• I have too many holiday decorations. Anyone need some? Pick up at my house.
• The kids and I are heading out skating at Stuart Park tonight at 6 p.m. Come join us!
• This year has been tough. Looking for a turkey and some sides to feed my family a nice holiday meal.
• We’re hosting an LGBTQ2A+ Holiday party. All are welcome. This is a safe space for everyone.
• The holidays always make me feel sad since my mom passed. I’d love to get out and have a coffee with someone.
• Look at all this snow. It’s a powder day. I’m heading up to the hill. Does anyone need a ride? Room for 3 + gear.
• See more ideas here!
Share ALL your wishes, offers or gatherings with people you know or those nearby that you’ve yet to meet—without interference from social media algorithms or the usual noise of online groups.
Don’t miss out. Download The Village App right now.
For more information and to download, visit Give. Get. Gather. on the Village website.