Tuesday, July 26, 2011

BCHC Newsletter - July 2011


BCHC partners up with BC Housing and Fortis BC on tenant engagement project

BC Healthy Communities is working in partnership with BC Housing and Fortis BC on a tenant engagement project related to energy reduction and tenant satisfaction at three sites in Vancouver and Burnaby. Tenant engagement is key to achieving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of BC Housing buildings. Part of building tenant engagement is supporting and developing the capacity of the tenants to create and achieve a healthy community and to work together in the process.

In this picture, tenants are participating in a Live Green activity and are at the same time working together to beautify their surroundings. Please contact Deirdre Goudriaan, Kerri Klein or Magdalena Szpala, Sustainability Manager of BC Housing about this initiative.

New Youth outreach materials

The lack of sunshine isn't keeping the youth from participating in any of the events in Victoria this summer. Events such as Skafest and Pride are the perfect place for the Greater Victoria Youth Council (CVYC) and Youthcore to do some outreach and present them self with the help of some brand new materials.

To create the message for the new flashy hand bills, buttons, banners and t-shirts we used the results of the recently completed CVYC survey of over 350 people under the age of 25 in the greater Victoria area. We wanted to know about the issues that young people in Victoria identify as important so we asked about education, employment, affordable housing, youth-friendly spaces, youth voice, mental health, violence and more. The responses we received were insightful and challenging and as diverse as youth themselves. It encouraged us to imagine the possibilities of what could be in Victoria. That's why we are asking "What if...?" and encouraging youth to imagine a better city and community.

The new materials are designed to catch the eye of Youth and further inform young people about how Youthcore creates leadership opportunities and supports youth-led social change projects and the engagement opportunities that CVYC offers for people under 25 who live, work, hang out or got to school in Victoria.

Northern BC Citizen Series Webinars – Taking Flight Again!
by Theresa Healy, Regional Manager - Healthy Community Development, Northern Health

The first year of the Citizen Series on Health Webinars successfully concluded in April with the fourth webinar in the inaugural series. The final webinar hosted a panel from across BC speaking to the Healthy Schools movement. Dr. Andrew Macnab from UBC, in Prince George for other meetings, spoke to the success of the oral health program in Hartley Bay, and how the lessons of this health promotion approach of Northern BC has spread to Africa. Joann Bays spoke to the growing success of the Farm to School movement which was first trialed here in Northern BC. Sarah Lockman from the Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH) shared the work of the province’s Healthy Schools Initiative.

This final webinar demonstrated how far this “little engine that could” has gone. Originally the brainchild of Population Health and BC Healthy Communities’ partnership, the series was initially conceived with a focus on settings where citizens play a role in affecting health outcomes. The webinars invited dialogue from northern communities on specific topics that are critical to improving the health outcomes of northern people, recognizing that community and civic involvement is a cornerstone to healthy people and populations. The popularity and appeal of the webinars has grown, resulting in a commitment for a second series building on the lessons learned the first time around.

“We know people are really anxious for learning opportunities and really appreciate the resources and expertise that the speakers have so generously shared,” said Julie Kerr, Regional Manager for Population Health. She continued, "in each seminar we learned more about how we could make these effective and useful to community members, to practitioners, to partner organizations. You can see our success not just the growth of numbers but also in the diversity of people calling in. In fact, we are even attracting callers from across the province, not just the northern health region. Our dream is to see the series become a province wide program.”

The new series was launched on June 28th, 2011 with “When Local Governments and Health
Authorities Say "I do": Creating Formal Partnerships to Improve Community Health. The second webinar " Reading Between the Lines: How Libraries and Literacy Contribute to Health' will be held on October 13th 2011. As has been the practice, the panel will include strong northern based voices, as well provincial or national leaders in the topic area. All you need is access to a phone and computer with an internet connection. This is a wonderful opportunity to gather colleagues and interested advocates together to access top flight learning at a very low cost – FREE! Do plan to join us by registering on the BCHC website or send an email to bchc@bchealthycommunities.ca

Youth celebrate LGBTQ at Victoria Pride Parade!

On Sunday, July 10th Victoria had its 2011 Pride Parade. With over 20,000 in attendance, it was the most successful Victoria Pride Parade to date. Youthcore, together with Youth Combating Intolerance and the City of Victoria Youth Council, walked proudly in the parade, carrying the Youthcore banner and handing out buttons.

South Island Pride’s youth group was also there with us, launching their recently finished ‘zine called Pave the Way – MINE. A collection of stories, art work, photos, and poetry, the ‘zine was created to share – anonymously- some personal experiences and challenges of the LGBTQ community. It is the product of months of dedicated work and research, work that includes an interview with a gay military serviceman and anecdotes from Victoria drag groups. The ‘zine was sold at the South Island Pride table at Pride Parade, and will also be distributed to CampOUT campers. The project was funded by YouthCore’s SPARK Grant program, and entirely youth designed and led. We’re very proud of the zine’s success. Well done, South Island Pride! You too may be eligible for SPARK Grant funding! Check out youthcoreprogram.ca for details.

Magdalena Szpala, BC Housing

Magda is the Sustainability Planning and Reporting Manager at BC Housing. Magda completed her Master’s in Strategic Leadership toward Sustainability, at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden. She holds the Certificate of Training in GHG Accounting from the GHG Management Institute. She is a member of the GHG Management Experts network, Climate Smart Network of Trainers, and the Natural Step Associate. In her role with BC Housing, Magda leads and supports sustainability integration in all of its dimensions.

BC Healthy Communities has been working in partnership with Magda through BC Housing and enhance sustainability and energy efficiency through innovative tenant engagement practices.

Magda consistently brings her great sense of humour and passion for contributing to a better world to her work. She demonstrates that Going Green is great for the planet and also needs the support of the people!

Prior to joining BC Housing, Magda worked as a sustainability consultant focusing on climate change challenge and solutions. Her clients included: Vancity, The Co-operators, and Climate Smart (a social enterprise).

A happy community is a healthy community

by Jodi Mucha

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is Happiness?
Originating in Bhutan, India, in 1972, the Gross National Happiness Index was created based on a commitment by the 4th King of Bhutan: that happiness of the people was made the guiding goal of development. In a very summarized overview, happiness can be defined as:

1. A subjectively felt public good—a public good, since all people value it
2. It is relative and depends partly on frames of reference
3. It is relational in character
4. It arises from both external stimuli and inner contemplative methods
5. Its meaning changes with sensitivities and understanding of interdependence
6. It is the ultimate value in general

The concept of ‘happiness’ within the framework developed by Bhutan is what western cultures would consider ‘life satisfaction’ for wellbeing.

How to measure Happiness
A framework such as the Gross National Happiness Framework, developed in Bhutan, helps to support overall community health and wellbeing in that it supports multi-sectoral collaborations and provides a specific and comprehensive tool for measuring economic, social, health, and cultural and ecological aspects of a community. One excellent local example of how this framework has been adapted and is being used at the regional level is The Greater Victoria Happiness Index Partnership, a partnership between the Capital Regional District, City of Victoria, Community Social Planning Council, BC Ministry of Healthy Living, United Way, University of Victoria, Vancouver Island Health Authority, and the Victoria Foundation.

The happiness framework is evidence based and focuses on a range of determinants of health that link to wellbeing, or more specifically, ‘happiness’. These ‘happiness’ determinants include:

· Physical, mental and spiritual health
· Time use (balance among productive activities)
· Community vitality and social support
· Cultural vitality
· Education
· Living standards
· Good governance
· Ecological vitality

In late 2009, as part of the City of Colwood’s commitment to community happiness, they hosted three ‘happiness’ events: Community Happiness Roundtable, Colwood 2010 and Beyond working lunch session and an Economics of Happiness Forum. In Colwood’s comprehensive final report, they listed “A Dozen Action to Take in 2010” which were based on a report compiled by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria and the results from the three Colwood ‘happiness’ events. Recommendations listed included actions such as: hosting other such similar events throughout other municipalities followed up by a conference, adopt a Genuine Wealth model at the CRD to enhance the Happiness Index, and create a regular media column whereby regular updates on Happiness on Vancouver Island could be written by Councilor’s from a different community each week (ie. What makes (my Municipality) a genuinely happy place to live?).

If you would like to learn more about how to support happiness (life satisfaction) activities in your community you can learn more from contacting: Michael Pennock, Population Health Epidemiologist, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Michael.pennock@viha.ca

Or check out the following resources:

Forum ~ Healthy by Nature
What: A forum on the physical & mental health benefits of time spent in nature.
When: September 20 - 23, 2011
Where: Vancouver, BC
For more information click here

Webinars ~ Northern BC Citizens Series on Health Webinars
BCHC and Northern Health's Population Health Team have partnered to host a series of free web-based seminars on the role of citizens in building healthy communities. The webinars invite dialogue from northern communities on specific topics that are critical to improving the health outcomes of northern people. 

Oct. 13, 2011 - 1:30 - 3:30pm "Reading Between the Lines: How Libraries and Literacy Contribute to Health"
Jan. 19, 2012 - 1:30 - 3:30pm "Beginning With the End in Mind: Creating Safe and Nurturing Environments for Our Very Young"
April 19, 2012 - 1:30 - 3:30pm "Beyond the Nest Egg: Feathering the Nest for Healthy Retirement"
For more information or to register click here
~ Cities fit for Children
3rd Annual Provincial Summit
When: Thursday, May 10 to Friday, May 11 2012
Where: Kamloops, BC
For more information click here


RESILIENCY: Cool Ideas for Locally Elected Leaders
Edited by the Columbia Institure Centre for Civic Governance

Resiliency: Cool Ideas for Locally Elected Leaders is the fifth volume in the Going for Green Leadership Series. Inspired by conversations at the Centre for Civic Governance forums, Resiliency highlights the bold and creative ways in which leaders and communities are responding to the major environmental challenges of our time.

In this book you will find:
  • Thought provoking discussion on community resiliency
  • Big picture responses from urban design and the economy
  • Stories from places that are getting it done, including Williams Lake,BC, Craik, SK, and Toronto ON
  • Leadership tools for transforming your own community ( including BCHC's facilitator Kerri Klein's ideas on "Engaging Your Community on Climate Change)
  • A few new ideas sure to create change in the upcoming years
To find out more or to download a copy of the book click here

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