Building Strong Relationships Essential to Community Resiliency

Basic Definitions

What is resilience?  According to Encarta Dictionary of English, it is the ability to recover quickly from setbacks.  It has become a popular term in many research fields such as sociology, psychology and psychiatry.  It is based on a person’s capacity to weather life’s storms and come out with more power and more smarts (What Is Resiliency 2009).

We have put our own twist on the research to emphasize characteristics that allow for the “bounce back” phenomenon.  From our studies, we define individual resiliency as one having…inner strength, energy, determination, connectedness, purpose, self-confidence, and a positive outlook.

These characteristics are what grounds a person.  It gives him/her hope during challenging times.  In our search for quantifying what contributes to the development of these characteristics, we have come to agree the educational research group, WestEd.  In,  Ensuring That No Child Is Left Behind:  How Are Student Health Risks & Resilience Related to the Academic Progress of Schools, they state that the key to resiliency is certain resilient assets/protective factors:  Participation in Setting & Accomplishing Goals; Guiding, Inspirational Messages; and Safe, Supportive Environments; and that these protective factors must be present in all significant environments: home, school, and community (Hanson, Austin, & Lee-Bayha, 2004).