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People, Connection, Our Work, Health, Arts and Culture

“We are more than our trauma, we are the community that shows up with lasagna on your doorstep” Connectedness, Belongingness and Rural Resilience in Oxford County

Curated by Karli Longthorne

Storyteller: Jenilee Halls

February 7, 2023

Rural communities prosper when the mental health and well-being needs of its members are met. Although programming, and resource allocation are key contributors, it’s the people behind these initiatives— like Jenilee Halls, a social worker and small business owner committed to the mental health and healing of Oxford County—who act as a positive undercurrent of hope and healing.

Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County is at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403. It is situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland and agriculture and is home to eight major municipalities: Township of Blandford-Blenheim, Township of East Zorra Tavistock, Town of Ingersoll, Township of Norwich, Township of Southwest Oxford, Town of Tillsonburg, City of Woodstock, and the Township of Zorra.

Alongside the mental health challenges and healing of rural folk, are the untold stories of leaders contributing to social change. Meet Jenilee Halls and hear her journey, as she sheds light on her experience living and working as a racial minority, and about the challenges and sources of mental health supports in the City of Woodstock.

Jenilee Halls sitting in her kitchen, smiling. Photo credits: Karli Longthorne

“I was born in Woodstock and raised in Innerkip—I’ve been here my whole life—and even when I left to pursue a master’s in social work, I did all my social work placements here.”

As a fellow resident of Woodstock herself, Jenilee shares her experience living and working in a rural community as a white-passing racial minority. “My mom is Black, and my dad was white. Because I am not visibly Black—and appear white to many folks—I have found it difficult advocating for Black Lives Matter in a rural community because of my mixed-raced background. I find myself asking, am marginalized enough to relate to the challenges of my Black community?”

“Even as a forty-year-old, I have begun to realize how being white passing and not visibly marginalized, and yet, being marginalized in a rural community has had an effect on me.” Jenilee shares how “as a social worker, I have learned to talk to my therapist, read, and take on professional development activities to educate others about marginalized social workers. I put myself in places and spaces where I can have conversations about challenges like racial discrimination.

Jenilee has exemplified leadership in her many roles working within the city of Woodstock since 2011, to serve and support folks’ mental health as a front-line clinical social worker—providing counselling, and rehabilitation therapies—and eventually, acting as a liaison between folks and mental health resources as a community outreach social worker.

“Community mental health work can’t be done alone. No one person can take that on,” says Jenilee. To her, leadership means working alongside community partners to support the mental health of residents through the innovative use of limited financial resources. “As a leader it’s about networking and creating a team of people to identify the gaps and figure out how to fill them as a community. It’s also about creating a community where people feel safe and like they belong.”

An increased awareness of the drug and human trafficking that occurs along the 401 and 403, —and how to protect ourselves and our families—more mental health beds in hospitals to support rehabilitation, and eating disorder services are some key needs of the City of Woodstock. “At the heart of these needs is the importance of community education and awareness,” notes Jenilee.

Public awareness of mental health resources, transit and accessibility, and loss of community members due to suicide are other key challenges facing Oxford County, according to Jenilee. “Oxford County is vast, which means it can take about one hour to get from one side to the other and with that, comes accessibility issues for folks living in surrounding cities. If you don’t have access to a car, or public transit of some kind it’s difficult to access the free mental health services offered, like walk-in counselling for example.”

Free walk-in counselling is the most used mental health resource in Oxford County, says Jenilee. Folks located in Oxford County—Woodstock, Tillsonburg, Ingersoll, Norwich, or Tavistock—can receive free walk-in counselling services for five days a week, if needed. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, these services have become more accessible as a counselling appointment can be delivered in-person, or virtually by phone or video chat.

Building a stronger, more resilient community begins by forging connections with community members, stakeholders, and community partners to deliver more seamless mental health care. Jenilee shares that, “our capacity to offer free walk-in counselling five days a week to local residents is due to our partnerships with five agencies— Canadian Mental Health Association, the Woodstock General Hospital, Ingersoll Nurse practitioner led clinic and the Community Health Centre and Welkin Youth Mental Wellness—that work together to ensure there is free counselling for everyone.” This innovative approach to mental health service provision has been around for many years.

It's not just mental health programming that makes Oxford County resilient, it’s the people. “I’m always talking about how resilient our community is. We are a traumatized community and when something happens, whether it’s in Tillsonburg or Hickson, or Princeton, we’re all affected in some way, and we come together to take care of one another. We show up for each other and stand together,” says Jenilee. “We are more than our trauma; we are the community that shows up with lasagna on your doorstep.”

Jenilee has continued serving the city of Woodstock in her new role supporting folks to heal and grow away from disordered eating and nourish their authentic selves as a psychotherapist and small business owner of Nourish Your True Self, alongside Registered Dietitian, Angie Cornwell. Having gone through her own disordered eating journey, Jenilee brings a unique perspective to her whole-self-health approach to therapy and counseling.

Jenilee Halls and Angie Cornwell smile at the camera, while sitting on chairs.
Picture of Jenilee Halls (left) and Angie Cornwell (right). Photo credits: Jenilee Halls.

In so many ways, Woodstock feels like home to Jenilee. “I see truth in the motto of Woodstock as the friendly city. We are the type of people who smile and open doors for strangers. It’s a place where your neighbours are your friends and even if you don’t have familial ties here, the community is like your family”, shares Jenilee. “These are my people, and they are why I keep coming back and why I won’t leave.”

To visit Nourish Your True Self click here:


Video Reel Transcription:

Jenilee: I guess I am Jenilee Halls, I was born in Woodstock Ontario and raised just outside of Woodstock in Innerkip. I’ve been here my whole life. And even when I went away to school to pursue social work, I did pretty much all my placements here in Oxford County. I’ve always wanted to come back to this space and come back and be in this place.

Poem 1:

The big city of Woodstock, 40,000 people where you still have the opportunity to know everyone

especially when you grow up in the area, one thing I love about small rural communities. It’s kind of like cheers in real life, everyone knows your name.

Being marginalized, in grade 4 it becomes unavoidably obvious that I’m different. Iggy’s house by Judy Bloom actually.

My mom is black, my dad was white. I’m white passing which makes things a little extra confusing to navigate.

Did anyone see colour when reading miss blooms book?

Fast forward to high school, jaws dropped meeting friends at my home I learned I had to warn them that my mom was black...yes my bio mom is black.

Fast forward to high school and I don’t understand why my mom is thankful that my skin is light. It’s likely because a white supremist group was allowed to recruit people in our local Newpaper under the vail of freedom of speech.

I remember, though, walking out of a bank and seeing a young woman harassed. Small community, I look to my right and ask the young gentlemen for help, and he didn’t even pause before going over and saving her from the racist ignorance that was happening on the corner of our main street.

Resilience, community. One thing I love about it, we’ve always got each other’s back.

Poem 2:

From the smell of fresh air to the smack in the face of manure, something that became reminiscent of my dad coming home from working out on the farms.

We know everyone and unfortunately, their business, although it’s often heard like a game of telephone. A story of truths taking on a mind of their own muffled from one mouth to another.

Welcome to rural life.

[insert clip 1: What’s it like living and working as a minority in a rural community?]

Karli: What has it been like living or working as a visible minority in a rural community?

Jenilee: So this is a really interesting question because when I'm with my mom so my mom is black and my dad was white, my dad died in my 20s but it's an interesting question because I'm not actually a visible minority. If I'm not with my mom I'm actually white passing and so it created this interesting well it was hard to find myself in a community and so especially in Innerkip a very white community when I was growing up for sure I think my mom was literally the only black person and we had one I remember Mark, he was mixed Asian and we were like the only two until like grade 5 until like my best friend who's half Japanese moved to town yeah and yeah and so it made it interesting though I never really understood in high school why my mom was so thankful that I was light skinned but I've later come to know because I mean racism is ramped here in town and being white passing I didn't I didn't experience those things but being white passing is complicated in itself because then well I've learned very young that I had to like warn “quote on quote’ warn people that my mom was black and then explain that that's my bio mom right and then now as an adult I do a lot of advocacy and mental health and just humans in general and I'm very passionate about Black Lives Matter and sometimes I actually get called ignorant and told to go talk to the community of black people which is interesting because the community is my community and to look at me most people wouldn't know right yeah so it's made for an interesting this dichotomy would call it knowing that I have like this mixed background but very much am white passing yeah yeah so yeah it was interesting growing up finding myself figuring that out and you know what I wasn't I just turned 40 and I think even as a 40 year old starting to realize how being white passing and not visibly marginalized, but marginalized in a rural community how much that actually had an effect on me yeah I really explored that I never really thought about it yeah but the more I dig into it the more like yeah I really did have this huge effect on me.

Karli: How do you think you…I mean I'm sure it's a process that you cope with kind of how how you deal with that?

Jenilee: I think well so I'm a social worker and I say good therapists have good therapists right that I can talk through about stuff like that yeah I do a lot of reading but I also attend a lot of professional development around marginalized social workers after actually and I often have to talk through it wouldn't break out groups around am I a marginalized enough to be here and then I realize someone once said to me just by asking that question anyway Jenilee, then of course you are right but when you actually go into a marginalized say social work learning experience and you see on the zoom screen visible minorities and you, I do do often go oh gosh am I too white to be here? so yeah I do, I put myself in places and spaces like that where I can have those conversations and process it with my therapist.

[insert clip 2: What does it mean to be a leader in a rural context?]

Karli: I wondered if you could talk about what does it mean to you to be a supportive leader in a rural context?

Jenilee: yeah totally in a rural context yeah being a supportive leader we live obviously rural we're really innovative community and so I think that it was a big piece of it working together and networking and you can't do community work mental health work alone yeah no one person can take it all on and you know we're innovative but we don't have as many resources as a big city right we don't you know we're not we're not the government isn't financially sending Oxford County money like it is in the bigger cities around us and so I think as a leader it's learning to advocate for those things it's learning how to play nice together in the sandbox per se it's about networking and creating a team of people and and being innovative. Absolutely. To figure out the gaps and how we're going to fill them yeah as a community and I think as a leader those things are really important to keep in mind and how we create a sense of safety and belonging in the rural communities as well I think is really important to keep in mind as a leader. And without a sense of belonging people are kind of wandering around aimlessly safety as well safety is important right and in rural it's like that looks different in Woodstock than it does in Drumbo then it doesn't Brownsville and so how do we actually as a leader in a rural community how do we see here in Oxford county anyways how do we see the differences between our little villages and towns and cities how do we see their individual needs but also collectively as a county right OK yeah yeah yeah yeah for sure.

Karli: In terms of those individual needs what would you say Oxford County what are the needs there?

Jenilee: Uh, we’re a complex little community we really are we're on two… we’re rural of course and but we're on two highways right on the 401 and 403 and so you know not I think we don't love to talk about it and think about it but being on two highways makes us a hot pocket spot for movement of drugs totally human trafficking and so like our needs or the awareness about that and like community awareness so that we can to learn about how do we protect ourselves our families or friends from that how are we having conversations that you know are friendly city that they call Woodstock in this beautiful Oxford county which absolutely is has its has those needs and I think that's one of the biggest things I think we need you know of course I could talk about resources and money and not enough mental health beds and you know we don't really have a ton of I work in eating disorders we don't have a ton of eating disorder supports and we have a lot of really great things but you know we could talk about some of those gaps I think one of the hugest needs is community awareness about what's actually going on in our community 'cause nobody wants to talk like yeah you don't wanna talk about it's a beautiful county and you almost don't wanna you don't wanna talk about those things but ask anyone on the street like people who call us oxy county like we can't deny that stuff and so I think yeah the biggest thing for me is community education and awareness.

Karli: OK do you know like what have they done to kind of address that so far?

Jenilee: yeah so it's cool we have a social planning council in Oxford county and and so they do a lot of like research and putting research papers and things together and so they've been a huge piece of community education around that OK and then I think also sometimes our hands are forced so with the pandemic and a lot of our shelters went into hotels and then it was like you couldn't not ignore but it was really in your face about how close trafficking was to home really was and so then our hand is forced to move on things like that and so then there becomes even more talk about it and radio interviews and how to keep yourself safe and you can see many kind of like social media videos on like warning signs or things and so we see those happening agencies will do little education sessions yeah I you know the part that I can do 'cause I don't work in community anymore, is share the information about those sessions or ones that I stumbled upon 'cause we're not the only community struggling and so we see more and more of those you know one hour kind of webinars, Q&A opportunities popping up right yeah happened and then community conversations are always happening between agencies here in town about how can we address this collectively 'cause it's not a one person or one agency or version of one corner of the community job yeah yeah it takes everybody.

Karli: Would you say that's prioritized in the leadership here those issues?

Jenilee: yeah yeah I do I do think so I think that like on at a community kind of agency level yeah I think that for sure in the last couple of years absolutely just more so more talk about it more yeah it's definitely and I know like say the community health centre and domestic abuse services just came together collectively to create another position for sexual abuse survivors and they got funding for a position for that and so like those things to me I'm like say the collectivity that happens to address a piece of that is absolutely in the leadership mind in our community.

Karli: And is the funding for government or public?

Jenilee: I don't actually know on that one because in community here in Oxford county we do a lot of like provincial grants of course but our United Way is incredible and they have a super awesome model that they changed a few years ago on how to funnel money into the community and so a lot of the innovative things I think we've seen in our community a lot of them have started with the temporary grant from United Way here in Oxford county yeah they are amazing they channel it through Kids Community Safety I think it is uh I forget there's four pillars and they changed their model and it's just so brilliant and they are funding a lot of the innovative things that are happening or community outreach bus housing stability workers yeah yeah this new role I think between Daso the CHC there wouldn't be surprised it was I'm not actually sure

[insert clip 3- What inspired you to start Nourish Your True Self?]

Jenilee: So Nourish Your True Self is mainly services for disordered eating and eating disorders that's not all we do but that’s mainly what we do and so it came from a few places I guess my own journey through eating disorder recovery and when I worked in community I worked with a dietitian who amazingly had has done a lot of work in eating disorders in a lot of different roles including like helping creating hospital based programs and so I don't know we would banter back and forth about starting this business and we kind of joked we joked about it for years probably and and finally it's so funny her husbands like super logical and like I’m way more irrational spontaneous and one day I guess he just looked at her and said you guys just need to do it and so she called and she's like you're not gonna believe like Steve said we should just do it and so we did it and it was for a few reasons because I was passionate about sharing my story and the things that I've learned in helping people through that recovery but also here in Oxford county we have minimal resources for eating disorders so our hospital has a program that's a satellite of London’s bigger program have a couple of family health teams that will hold and support people while they're waiting to go to treatment programs but besides that um, and well and I knew that when I came out of treatment and came here I advocated hard for an agency to run like an eating disorder support group and and at that time like no one wanted to touch eating disorders with a 10 foot pole so I actually ended up going back to my place of work and twisting the arm of the dietitian my now business partner Angie and she ran it for a little while because I was like I need something yeah right but it was awesome because I said to her, I need it but then people came where is cool and so yeah it was really something we're both passionate about we're passionate about busting down the walls of diet culture and radically you know, sharing this like what feels like a radical stance against diet culture I mean the work that we do you know health at every size, body trust, intuitive eating you know movement that feels good in your body rather than a chore but it really came from a place of passion but also we recognized we'd be filling a gap yeah and then we had no idea how big the gap though 'cause once the pandemic had we had to go virtual with clients from like Chatham to Timmins, oh wow, and everywhere in between mainly here in Oxford though 'cause.

Karli: This is actually something that really is makes me curious because I didn't actually realize how how big of a problem it was in Oxford county so I don't know if you could kind of talk a bit about that gap?

Jenilee: yeah you know pre pandemic was one thing and now during the pandemic eating disorders like spiked I don't know how much it just like went through the roof so and yeah I think it's complex because it's a mental illness people often think of it as something quite superficial and but it's not it's a mental illness and it's not talked about a lot I mean mental health is being talked about more and more but I think we talk a lot about depression and anxiety and those types of things that we miss kind of eating disorders which just means kind of the education around warning signs and what to watch for and and often times you know like I was talking to a parent the other day that said I'm worried about kid but my doctor just keeps saying they're picky, it's a phase it's a phase and so on I think things get missed that way and then the complexity of tossing and diet culture messaging around well… for women it would be shrink your body you'll be happy or you'll fall in love you have everything you want and even desire for men it’s like bulk up maybe they get the opposite message often so that complicates it and then throw social media in there and it creeps through every corner of those messages I mean I hate to think about it but like look around you know you're in the grocery store the magazines are yelling at you from the rack you know driving down the street in a billboard yells at you or you know our local radio station I love them but I'm like feel like I'm messaging them every other week to be like did you seriously just play that you know and so all of those things I think create this looks like the perfect storm right that disordered eating and eating disorders different but the same so eating disorders would be like you know diagnosably which people would often know as anorexia or bulimia or binge eating disorder there's tons more but those are the ones people know and then disordered eating we say I don't know this isn't a real stat it was like 98% of people likely struggle with some form of disordered eating and that's just you know a complex disordered relationship with food and movement often and I think that's the other thing is we don't realize that that's a like that that's a thing right….you know I'm on my scale every day or you know I'm and it dictates my mood and people like oh it's just a thing like that would always happened in my house growing up no actually but that's not it that doesn't have to be a thing yeah so we think that's likely why yeah we didn't we didn't realize we don't realize how big it is until we start kind of like you don't know what you need until you need it right so it's kind of like we built this thing and they come yeah right and we already knew 'cause of our resources in town were bombarded you know Angie was doing some eating disorder work in community alongside the hospital family health teams and we knew that yeah they were really busy.

Karli: How does this I don't know if this is the right the right word for it but like this kind of issue…you know it’s everywhere not just rural communities but how is it different in a rural community and how would you solve that in a rural community compared to say it like an urban context?

Jenilee: yeah so it's really cool a few years ago is those hospital family health teams, Angie and I we created a consultation group and so we met every few months to just kind of talk about community and the needs of eating disorders and stuff in community and we would refer amongst each other and and we actually learned that kind of each resource was at a different phase of recovery and so you know like the family health teams could hold while people were going to treatment but Woodstock was actually doing some treatment and then Angie and I were doing some supportive work at the community health centre and so we work together and I think that's what we had to do rurally you know is compared to urban where there might have been or maybe even more resources or way more like you know Angie number two people at the community health centre so more urban might have more people doing the work in these agencies we didn't so it was really great that we started to come together and think about how we could do this work together but then also share stories about things that we were noticing if there was a need to run this or this was getting quiet which was also helped us as providers not feel so alone either 'cause that's the other thing I think when we go urban there's lots more people to consult and chat with about these things and then come here rurally and sometimes it can feel a little lonely right yeah I can feel the lonely and isolating.

Video Interview Clip

Question 1: What do you enjoy most about living and working in a rural community?

Jenilee: What do I enjoy most about working in a rural community…and living in a rural community? I love well I also have to say I’m a bit bias, but my personality is that like I've grown up around here I've always had a big personality I've always been pretty confident in my opinions and the things that I know and so one thing I love about living here is that I know tons of people. I love it. Like I said the reason why my sister left is the reason I love it here. I love that say, this thing I wanted to do on my bucket list…. I wanted to host a backyard concert and I made a social media post and 20 people showed up to my backyard and from all walks of life. Some that I barely know but all from around like all from probably Woodstock. I love that I love that it's a community that I can just be like hey I wanted to check a backyard concert off my bucket list who wants to come and we can actually just gather people and it was so cool because and this is what I think it is like on a small scale in my backyard but this is why I think I love living here so much is because they were from all different walks of life some knew me very well from like preschool some barely knew me at all and everybody sat and laughed together and listened to live music and sang and cheered and like some people didn't even know each other but it was like in for a moment it was just like we were all friends in a backyard at a backyard concert. And I love that about Oxford County I feel like that's like the small scale of what I feel about it in a way and in terms of working here I think the same thing. Sometimes people will say to me I'm surprised you haven't ended up in Toronto I get that a lot and I actually couldn’t imagine being in Toronto. Being here and being able to connect with people like I, you know even when I went off to school my placements… I did them back in Oxford county so I've been networking here since in my 20s and I mean maybe even before that before I even got into that sort of work…I didn't realize that the networking that I was doing but I just have so many connections and even now not working in community and as an entrepreneur in a private practice I still talk to my community colleagues and I always when I speak about them I always talk to them like they are my brothers and sisters in community. And I really do feel like that and so I love that yeah the networking and even like not working in community I went down to the market the other day and seeing some of my like agency “sisters” and they really…I was just so excited and we got to catch up and they told me about some of their new initiatives and they were asking about mine and so I guess that's a little bit of like living here and working here. Now that I'm not even working with them, I still head down to the market and see them all and you can chat and brainstorm a little bit still and I love connection yeah that I feel in rural communities. I love that I can walk around and smile and say hello and people will smile back.

Question 2: What are the challenges facing the people of Oxford County?

For people in a rural community especially Oxford county one of the big things that comes to mind to me is that Oxford county is so vast and so to get from one side of it to the other I think is probably close to an hour 'cause like it takes half an hour for us to get Tillsonburg from Woodstock and one of the hugest things is accessibility of resources and in Woodstock, where we are, there is a hub of resources it’s actually the largest city in Oxford county and so making sure all of our extra rural communities, villages, towns around us have access to mental health resources, like our free walk-in counseling resources and even Internet right. Like there's places in Oxford county that don't have high speed Internet still and so yeah like I have colleagues in Tillsonburg that you know in certain areas on the edges of Tillsonburg can't do video appointments with people because the Internet is unstable right and so we think about that especially during the pandemic making sure that people could access those was very very tricky we had to be really innovative and so I think that to me the number one thing is accessibility in a rural community.

Karli: When you say accessibility do you mean physically being accessible, do you mean people don't know about it…. people don't know how to use it…?

Jenilee: Yes, all of the above. 'Cause I was thinking like the vastness of the county in Woodstock and how do we get everything else to the people for sure but also how do you let everybody know what's available to them absolutely that's a tough one I would say the people will not, well no one actually knows what they need until they need it right so that's the other thing we can try and blasting blasting blasting blast and trying to get all the corners of the county but unless you really need it are you picking up the pamphlet are you are you reading the poster you know? Where are you absorbing it in until you actually need it which is I mean I guess that's maybe not role specific but but it is hard to get all the corners of the county to know what is available to them.

Question 3: What do you think is the most used mental health resource in Oxford County?

I probably say an probably because it's our biggest and been around the longest is a free walk-in counseling that we have an is super innovative I don't actually know if there's any other communities doing it quite like us what it is is at one point it was five days a week somewhere in the county you could go for free counseling you can walk in and during the pandemic that change too booking appointments by phone or video depending on what was accessible for people but it's great because there's locations in Woodstock but there's also locations in our small smaller areas so tillsonburg ingersoll there was one in Norway age Tavistock yeah and so essentially you could go five days a week into different spot if you want if you needed to just endless like you could go and it's just endless it's their single session you walk in there free yeah and you just go in and if you need to go in at any other time you go back in at any other time and I think that that's been around several years so and so we think it's used a lot because well it's iaccessible it's in various ways from the county after the pandemic it's even more accessible 'cause I think what we did was stay we brought in person back but we also stayed video info which we weren't necessarily doing before the pandemic yeah and so I would say that's probably and it's a great partnership between Canadian mental health association the hospital ingersoll nurse practitioner LED clinic community health centre and welcome child and youth mental Wellness Wellness five agencies that work together to ensure that five days a week there's free counseling for people in north county well so cool I thought is really cool yeah yes

What makes Oxford County resilient?

Jenilee: What makes Oxford County resilient? Our people. Totally, our people, our community we are you know I was thinking about this and if you googled us there's some pretty traumatic stories coming out of Oxford county and yeah I just think I'm always talking about how resilient our community is because we really are or were traumatized community and when something happens whether it's in Tillsonburg or Hickson or Princeton like we are rural and we are all effected at some level and yeah it's the people we keep on trucking and I mean the agency show up for people it's cool or innovative so our agencies go to people now instead of making the people always come to the agencies and so there's agency support but there's also the resilience of our community taking care of each other I just see like lots of I guess they would formally call it peer-to-peer support you know like people helping people but I think that happens so informally in our community that those are like it's our people that keep us resilient. Taking care of each other and showing up for each other when stuff happens in our community and standing together because if like I said if you Google does there's some pretty dramatic stories coming in here but I like to think of people and we're more than what you hear on BBC or CBC or whatever come see for yourself where we are more than that we got quite a very resilient community geez.

Karli: Again, this is kind of specific but I wondered if I could dig a bit more when you say we are a resilient community in what in what way, like you do talk about the peers helping peers is there anything more but you could say that?

Jenilee: Well resilience…

Karli: Like for example if you think of urban communities perhaps one thing that might make them a bit less resilient is there's not that necessary generational tie because people don't necessarily know everyone so in rural community there might be perhaps more resilience because there is that familial tie but also you know your neighbors

Jenilee: Like it's like yeah it's funny I was going to say when I was talking about resiliency before I was gonna say we're like the community that like shows up with like lasagna on your doorstep totally right because it is a place where you do have the opportunity to know your neighbors and a know everybody right and of course there's pros and cons to that yeah you know you kind of hear stories like a game of telephones. But for sure yeah I think and I guess that's when I think about the people I think because yeah we know each other you know that's one thing I guess like I think about me and say my personal resilience here in town it's funny because if I'm having a like a rough day and I need a pick me up I'm going to go to the grocery store 'cause I'm bound to run into people that I know and not just did not because I need to talk to anybody but it'll be like hey Jenilee hey hi how's it going and in a few years ago I ran I guess it was a number of years ago I ran and community initiative called smile and say hello and we built on the idea about really when you walk around in Oxford county in the rural communities like really like lots of people smile and say hello and even if you don't know each other we are quite a friendly community and it was funny because the momentum of that initiative just exploded because it's true we hold doors for people earlier anymore it's like we're like that it's funny I laugh because it's the reason my sister left the rural community, she's like I don't like that part like I don't like the wherever I go I know someone or someone knows me or someone like are you in Ramona's daughter you know and I love that that like feeds my soul that's like that's the sense of belonging I think that we have in this community and I think that and I think that proven when people are drawn to come here you know I was reading a post from someone who had moved to Woodstock just recently talking about how friendly people were and I really do think you're right Karli like we know our neighbors and and you know like I don't have familial ties here I mean my mom so have that but my family didn't grow up here my family doesn't live here but I definitely…so cheesy feel like yeah OK shutting this little bit hippy dippy I say like the community is my family I don't know I say they are like these are my people This is why I keep coming back and why I won't leave I feel at home in Oxford county yeah

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