cultivate belonging for everyone

connect st. helens

photo credit to heidi timmons photography

photo credit to heidi timmons photography


who is connectSH?/

ConnectSH is a grassroots effort to recreate the culture and community of St. Helens, Oregon, so that each of its residents finds a place where they belong. The CDC says the cure for societal ills like suicide and depression is human connection. In point of fact, healthy relational connections across generational boundaries have been scientifically shown to restore a full spectrum of health benefits to all ages  … but they never tell us how to connect. They just assume we just know how to have relationships with each other.

That’s where ConnectSH comes in. We are educated by science, perspective, and have created practical tools for connecting with each other  – and we aim to get the people of St. Helens connected and building relationships one story at a time. We care about our community because we care about you. This is the heart of Connect SH.

Together, we will write a shared narrative with our community in which every citizen’s identity is acknowledged, their needs are met, and their skills and talents are valued as a contributing factor to this common mission.

Join the movement today and let’s connect. You belong. You matter. We will help you find your place and thrive right where you are by helping you nurture the connections you already have, and the connections you have yet to discover.



Our ConnectSH logo was originally created collaboratively with the Battle Ground High School students for the flagship program ConnectSH is based on, ConnectBG. Together, the parts represent intentional, relational connection. It is a message to our community that we believe being connected is better than being isolated. In short, planting a flower makes a statement about “how we do it here.” 

ConnectSH began our Plant the Flower campaign in the wake of the November 2020 elections at a time when we felt our community felt more divided than it had in a long time. We chose to kick the campaign off by repurposing political signs, many donated by former Commissioner Alex Tardif and Judge Jenefer Grant, and this is an initiative that can run year round. The idea is to “plant the flower” of ConnectSH in your own front yard and repurpose the sign of your choosing with messages of connection. Get  creative with it, make it a family activity or some zen self-care time, and create an eye-catching, inspiring piece of art that will spark a conversation.

ConnectSH Core Team Member, Joan Youngberg, has already painted dozens of signs for those who do not want to paint their own. (If that’s you, reach out to our team at (insert email) to arrange to pick up a sign.)  Our kids need to grow in a connected community. All of us do. This flower is our proverbial Bat Signal in the sky that will light the way for the disconnected. Our mental, emotional and behavioral health is learned and absorbed from our environment – and we are the creators of our own environment. The more we foster belonging and significance in our connectedness, the more our St. Helens ecosystem will find its healthy balance. As ConnectSH grows, we hope to see these little lotus flowers planted across our community. Eventually, when our community sees this flower, they’ll know they’re near friendly, like minds, ready to connect.

connection in the time of covid

How we connect at six feet apart

During 2020, ConnectSH was faced with the same challenges families and local businesses faced–how are we going to survive if we have to stay at home and socially distance? Life is about connecting. People need to know they belong. 

The Core Team took some time to gather our thoughts and went back to the drawing board. We scoured technology and focused on the ways we could still meet social needs and participate with each other as vital parts of our community. With all of our research behind us, we embraced 2020 as the year of rethinking old ways of doing things and it made us stronger by pushing us to adapt to the current situation. 

Here are some ways you can connect with us, even as we’re still navigating the pandemic:

tell us how connected you feel to your community...

take the sense of community survey

We’re looking for feedback from real St. Helen’s residents like you, so don’t just pass this by! Your survey submission will help us discover insights about St. Helens as a whole – so we can better serve you and the communities you live in.

Call Us


Visit Us

PO Box 711,
St. Helens, OR 97051

let us know how we can help

get in touch with us