Just Create Community with Cindy Cosenzo

By Kate Ristau

Just Create Community- Cindy Cosenzo
Cindy Cosenzo, Founder of Just Create Community, LLC

In 2003, Cindy Cosenzo had a profound momentary flash of insight.

 

“I saw with tremendous clarity that we are all the same,” Cindy said. “We are all connected, and we need each other’s help along life’s journey.”

Since that moment, Cindy has worked tirelessly to help others see and feel what she experienced – that feeling of profound connection with all humans. She founded AgeCelebration within months of that insight, and recently renamed the business Just Create Community, LLC. Cindy works as a business consultant in Business Community Development helping organizations prioritize community, belonging, and connection as a model for growth. “Wherever there are humans, there is a need to create more community. Wherever there is a feeling of community, there is health, productivity, and growth.”

For Cindy, this feeling of connection is deeply necessary and very human: “When we feel connected and know we belong, we feel better,” Cindy said. “It’s in our DNA. When we feel better, we take better care of ourselves and each other. There is no downside to increasing belonging and connection. As human beings, we thrive on it.”

Just Create Community- Community Art EventIn addition to business development, Just Create Community also provides community-supported programs designed to bring humans together to discover our connection to each other and realize we all belong together. Ongoing programs like Hillsboro Community Pickleball, Community Greeters, and COMMUNITY WALKS throughout Washington County have helped her encourage those community moments. Cindy also works diligently to connect community members to local businesses and local places, through programs like LOVE ME SOME LOCAL and WALK.LEARN.CONNECT. “When we recognize a person or a place, it creates a sense of belonging in us. The more we recognize and feel at home in the environments around us, the more at ease we feel. Belonging creates that feeling. My goal through these many community programs is to have people meet everyone in a positive uplifting environment so that we all happily recognize each other in the grocery store and wave Hello!”

Just Create Community- Hillsboro Community Pickleball
Hillsboro Community Pickleball

“Connection promotes sustainable long-term growth; the opposite may have short term bursts but does not last. Connection and belonging work in natural alignment with who we are as humans.” Cindy said.

An eye-opening community art project in April 2020 at EmpRes Rehabilitation in partnership with Washington County Health & Human Services, Boys and Girls Aid Safe Place Shelter for Youth, and local artists Christine Martell and Martin Conley helped her foster that feeling of connection and joy. Cindy explained that outside EmpRes, in front of a large bay window, the youth were invited to each paint a canvas depicting “Love and Nature,” while residents who were not able to receive visitors due to strict Covid restrictions at the time watched them transform their canvases. Then, the youth

Just Create Community- LOVE on the FENCE
LOVE on the FENCE

installed the paintings on the outside of residents’ apartments, so that residents could be reminded daily of the experience of art and the joy of that moment. “The peace that descended on the youth while

working on their pieces moved me deeply. In those peaceful moments, I witnessed the power of creating art outdoors together especially when done to create joy and connection for another. That was the genesis of the long-running LOVE on the FENCE community art project which launched in the Fall of 2020…I wanted to create the opportunity for participants to have that peaceful feeling…Creating a simple piece of art. For others. Together.”

The project continued with “LOVE [and the ARTS] in the time of Covid,” a multi-week community art project this past Fall.

Every project brings Just Create Community closer to its goals of manifesting connection and belonging throughout businesses, organizations, communities, and social systems. As Cindy said, “Creating community and belonging helps everyone have a great day. It’s magic every time!”

 

How Businesses Can Connect with Just Create Community
Businesses and organizations can contract with Just Create Community for business analysis, training, workshops, public speaking, program and partnership development.

 

How the Community Can Connect with Just Create Community
The community is invited to join COMMUNITY WALKS on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and Hillsboro Community Pickleball Wednesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

 

Find Out More About Just Create Community on Facebook and Instagram at @justcreatecommunity or email [email protected].

 


About the Author

Kate Ristau is an author, folklorist, and the Executive Director of Willamette Writers. She serves on the board of Tualatin Valley Creates and writes from her home in Tigard, Oregon.