Communication pivotal to building community

Editor’s Note: MAPP, Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships, is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our indi- vidual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, envi- ronmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.

I am a beekeeper. I love the dynamics of these tiny social creatures. Really they aren’t that different from humans in many ways. They like sweets and like to dance, for instance. What’s not to like?

The famous bee dance is the way they communicate in their society, the way a bee can let everyone know where the food resources are and how to get there. Homer is abuzz with activity as well, but it’s not always as easy to find out where the activity is and how to get there.

Communication is key to community. We are social creatures just like bees and we need each other to keep going. No family is completely self-sufficient.

Are you your own teacher, doctor, dentist, hair dresser, employer, counselor, entertainment and food provider? Of course not. So how do you connect to the resources you need?

Luckily the Homer area has several resources available to plug into. There are always Facebook pages that are quick to inform you of the activities happening around town, whether they are kid-friendly, whether or not they cost anything, or what they provide. All you have to do is “like” the pages of the organizations and groups you like and you will get perfectly timed updates.

But Facebook is not for everyone and not all services show up there. Dentists, for example, don’t have Facebook events, so how to you find out where to go for dental work? Or playgroups for toddlers? Or for disability services? Or for counseling? You can crowd source for opinions about what dentist to use from your friends, but you probably aren’t going to put it out there to the Facebook world that you are looking for a counselor.

This is where the Southern Kenai Peninsula Resource Directory comes in. Whether you are looking for a service or looking to post a service, is the place to go. Specific to our area, it can be updated regularly by the person who provides the service. This way it can stay current and relevant. If you have a service for the community, you can create a page of details about it and provide search words that people looking for your service may use. (And it’s free.)

If you are searching for services, you can look at the directory for the category of service. The list of categories spans business, housing, children, legal, church, senior, pregnancy, transportation, training and many other services. It’s the go-to resource like a phone book but more up-to-date, detailed with specific information about each service, and at your fingertips.

Why stop there?

There are two other resources that join our community bee dance to keep you informed as to where the services are. One is focused on family. The Family Resource Booklet put out by Sprout Family Services can be downloaded at This handy reference is a must for all parents listing resources ranging from faith-based support to play spaces to crisis contacts to medical care.

It’s nice to know there is support in our community for parents, but we also have resources for youth. The Homer Youth Resource Guide is online at and full of activities and opportunities for youth in town. There are links titled “Arts and Culture,” “Community Calendar,” “Shopping,” “Places to Chill,” “Education,” “I Need Help Now,” “Rides and Car Care,” and more, all with the focus for youth. Also an active page easily updated, this stays relevant as well.

The key to a healthy community is not that it has tons of services, but that people know how to access those services. So if your life is abuzz, check out what our community has to offer through these resources and get plugged in.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and a member of the MAPP steering committee.