In 2018, our Founder, Jeanette Langston, was living in the desert of Southern Utah. After a few years in the area, Jeanette was fortunate to find an incredible group of fierce women who surrounded her and her family, creating a sense of belonging for them. These women pointed out her natural ability to connect people in meaningful ways and they encouraged her to embrace and grow this ability. With this support, Jeanette realized the impact her casual connecting was having on the people around her and she began doing this more intentionally with greater awareness. She also realized the impact of having a strong social support network. From their shared commitment to being together to grow their friendships, she and the other women had naturally encouraged and elevated each other simply because they had grown this shared sense of belonging and acceptance among themselves. She started reading about things like social connection, happiness, and belonging, and she reflected on her own life history and the stories she lived and how that impacted her ability to connect with other people. She became determined to intentionally help others become aware of how significant healthy human connection is in all of our lives; to spread the feeling of belonging to as many people as possible. As Jeanette worked on developing her ideas, she saw that social isolation was at the root of our disconnection from each other, that it happened for a variety of reasons, and that it took many different forms. She knew that she had to create a completely new way of bringing people together, rooted in healing social isolation in order to grow belonging and happiness.
In today’s world, our traditional ways of connecting with each other are no longer serving most people. The places where we usually connect often hold barriers that prevent people from being able to participate. Lack of money and family support, access to technology and transportation, bias and discrimination, health factors, and many other barriers exist that prevent people from being able to build their social support networks - from feeling like they belong. In addition, many people are embracing who they truly are, setting aside cultural “norms” that stifle and prevent them from being who they fully are. Our awareness and understanding of social justice and health issues, community challenges, and how they intersect is increasing every day. More people than ever are taking the time to learn about these topics and how they can help affect change in their daily lives.
In January of 2020 our founder created Social Tinkering: A Human Connection Project, and in the spring of 2021, we established our nonprofit organization to support this good work. The concept of Social Tinkering has been poked and prodded at, molded and shaped, into the vision it is today. We champion flexibility, openness, space, and time, to build the meaningful connections and trust that allow us to feel belonging. This human connection project is a constant work in progress and will require integrating a new, slower, more mindful way of doing things to achieve the greatest impact of our work. We work to dismantle the barriers that prevent people from being able to participate in building their social networks. We focus on an experiential method of social connection, where all people are welcome to prioritize simply being together to really feel how meaningful it is to take time to connect with others; where they can feel healthy belonging and experience the growth of sustainable happiness inside themselves and between each other.
We invite you to connect with us and build community at our gatherings, events, and in this grassroots social change movement to help spread the wisdom of healthy social connection and belonging. Together we will grow healthy and thriving communities filled with people developing and sustaining genuine happiness in themselves and throughout our communities.
We hope to see you soon!