Many people have different perceptions about the meaning of sense of community. A widely held academic definition of this term is ” the sense of community is a feeling members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and the group, and a shared faith that member’s needs will be met through their commitment to be together” (McMillan and Chavis, 1986). No matter how serious people’s level of involvement in the community, there are four main elements that compose a person’s sense of community.
Community is what enables us to think beyond ourselves and have a sense of social justice. Most of the time when we speak of someone who is kind, who listens, who always seems to know the right thing to say, who seems genuinely interested in us and with whom we feel at home, we are describing a person who understands community. In this realm, community may be thought of as being composed of two specific feelings – empathy and sympathy.