Share moving stories of how your community has impacted members' lives!

(Heidi Morgan) #1

Following on from this thread, I’d love a place where we can share more ‘moving’ or inspirational stories of our community. Large or small, the stories where our community or ‘family’ has been able to impact the real, personal lives of members, has been able to create friendships and a sense of belonging that help them grow as people. After all, that’s what we’re really there for.

Later, I may share how my community saved my life, and also other smaller stories, but first, here’s a story from a few years back when I wasn’t part of the community.

Since my site focuses on the last year of high school, round September-December, it’s exploding with high stress. Soon before exams, a major member posted that she just wanted to give up and end her life because she could no longer cope with the pressure.

The entire community rallied round. Members were calling her, supporting her, telling her reasons why they needed her still and loved her, encouraging her to call Lifeline, requesting her to hold on and keep replying till they were sure she was safe. With their support, she was able to pull through. Out of the community spirit born from this event, a new mental health initiative sprang up on the site (which was sadly abandoned two years later after misuse, but the support it provided during that time time was truly amazing).

And you? It doesn’t have to be life-and-death situations - anything. :slight_smile:

(Priscilla McClay) #2

Great idea for a discussion!

I am starting to collect some stories like this that I can use to demonstrate the impact of my community internally - I’ve even been collecting ‘before and after’ quotes to show when there’s been a real tangible difference in someone’s situation or state of mind.

Here’s a couple of recent examples (I work for a hospice charity, our community covers end of life and bereavement):

A woman came to the community after finding out her brother was terminally ill. She confessed that she had been putting off going to visit him because she was scared and she was ashamed that she felt this way. A few days later, after plenty of non-judgemental support and encouragement from other members, she posted that she’d been to see him and had a good heart-to-heart.

Another member posted that he had lost his mother but felt he was having trouble grieving - he just felt numb. He later reported back that just writing the first post had helped trigger his emotions, and that the advice given by other members had also really helped him.

We also have two women who are widows who have become close friends through the site - they send each other multiple private messages every day.

(Sarah Hawk) #3

I thought I might flip this topic on its head because I have personally gained so much from working (and participating) in communities over the last 15 years.

After job satisfaction, the most valuable thing is career path related. Two of my freelance positions were found via people I met in online communities and once when [I thought] I was about to be out of work, a good friend that I met through a community that I managed reached out to his network and lined me up with a fantastic new job.

In fact when I think about it, I have never in my life ‘applied’ for a job. With the exception of my first one out of university (which wasn’t community related), new roles have always ‘found me’ via people I have met online.

I have travelled across the world to stay with people that I met in communities that I’ve participated in and have been invited to weddings by people in communities that I’ve managed.

I’ve also racked up many flyer miles over the years and seen some amazing places, both due to my remote work status and to attend events.

I’m very, very grateful for all of that.

(MHCommMgr) #4

I am really moved by the story of a member of one of our communities who passed away recently. This man was diagnosed with a life threatening illness with many complications, and as he fought those complications, which included things as serious as a form of cancer, he took it upon himself to stay in our community and share everything he learned (he also joined many advocacy and support groups for his condition, and eventually made it a job, but he never stopped volunteering on our site). His experience saved numerous lives. Unfortunately, he was too sick too late, and even as more and better treatments became available, he got sicker and sadly, died. He left such a legacy, though. His story is an extreme example of what many of our members do every day, sharing what they have learned and turning their pain into hope and answers for others. It sounds trite, but it has worked time and again over the years in many conditions and many communities. Anyway, it’s nice to remember him here, as he was a special member and person. I also like @HAWK’s answer. Community brings many joys, not just life and death ones. Great thread, thanks!