Cities Fit For Children in Vernon
We are very pleased to announce that the City of Vernon has been selected to be the host municipality for the 2015 Cities Fit for Children Summit.
Cities Fit for Children is a biennial conference that brings together municipal leaders with child development professionals, parents, and community champions to promote and increase collaboration towards creating local environments where children, youth and families thrive.
BCHC’s Cities Fit for Children’s Provincial Advisory Group will support Vernon’s local organizing committee to ensure continuity for the initiative and to provide support, resources and sponsorships for the 2015 event. Stay tuned for more details.
For more information, please visit the BCHC website or contact: email@example.com
Apply Now! Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP) Grant
Local governments and First Nations that own or manage venues where liquor is served can access support and funding (up to $7000) to develop a Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP). This is a useful tool to reduce the health and financial costs caused by alcohol. A MAP provides clear guidelines for alcohol use in facilities owned and managed by local government .
The $7000 grant is being offered on a first-come first-served basis by BC Healthy Communities, in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health. As part of the grant, you will also receive:
- Workshop and facilitation support,
- Workbook and toolkit,
- Monthly telephone support,
- Access to example MAPs,
- Overview of legal issues.
City of Victoria Youth Council Gearing Up to Take Action
By Sarah Graham
In October 2014, twenty-five youth came together at the City of Victoria Youth Council (CVYC) retreat to discuss strategies for working together effectively and to decide on the focus areas for new youth projects. The CVYC members decided to pursue three new projects in 2015: a second Employability Fair, Peer-to-Peer Workshops, and a project with a focus on combating Mental Health stigma.
These priorities arose from past CVYC meetings. In November, the CVYC had heard from Volunteer Victoria’s Youth Vital Signs and Bipolar Babe about important issues that youth are facing today. The Youth Vital Signs Report highlighted concerns about the cost of living, employment and mental illness, while Bipolar Babe’s Andrea Paquette spoke to the importance of support systems for youth that are dealing with mental health issues.
Aside from planning new initiatives, the CVYC has completed three projects since September 2014. Prior to the civic elections, the CVYC partnered with Youth for Community and Inclusion (YCI) to host a Q&A with Victoria’s Mayoral Candidates: Lisa Helps, Stephen Andrew, Dean Fortin and Ida Chong; over 50 youth attended. Furthermore, a partnership with the Saanich Youth Council led to a social media campaign to promote the civic elections. And lastly, three dedicated members have been working tirelessly to recruit mentors and youth for the Art Mentorship Program (AMP). In late January 2015, professional artists will be paired with youth for a two-month visual art’s mentorship, culminating with a gallery opening.
To stay updated about the CVYC, visit www.cvyc.ca.
Jill Zacharias: Supporting Social Sustainability
By Michelle Sandsmark
If you have had the privilege of meeting Jill Zacharias, you will know that she is incredibly devoted to her community development and social sustainability work in Revelstoke. Jill’s uncanny ability to engage, inspire and actualize plans is admirable, and her special touch can be traced throughout numerous community initiatives.
Driven by a passion to make a difference in her community, Jill became involved in various volunteer positions after moving to Revelstoke in 1992. This work allowed her to engage with issues directly impacting Revelstoke, which motivated her to complete post-graduate work at Simon Fraser University with a diploma in Sustainable Community Development.
She now holds the position as Revelstoke’s Social Development Coordinator where she has cultivated powerful grassroots collaboration. While she is quick to praise her peers from the City of Revelstoke, the community’s various committees, and numerous leaders in the social services sector for all their incredible work and dedication to the community, she also deserves to be recognized as a loyal and humble contributor to the complex and multifaceted work that is social development. Jill is the ultimate connector-of-the-dots as she is often found rallying together various organizations and sectors to tackle the most complex issues, including developing and implementing a Poverty Reduction Strategy.
“For poverty reduction to be successful it needs to be comprehensive in nature [and] everybody needs to be involved, because social issues are complex;
there is no silver bullet.”
She is extremely committed to the work that the City and multiple community partners have been able to achieve in addressing the needs of community members. Among many other projects, she has helped the City to: obtain four Age-Friendly Grants, complete research for a strategy to address substance use, and to develop a structural foundation to support and engage youth. Her most recent moment of satisfaction stems from engaging the business sector with the City’s Living Wage Initiative. This engagement process has resulted in strong commitment and leadership from two businesses in becoming Living Wage certified.
To Jill, social sustainability is the underlying foundation to a healthy and prosperous community. Focusing attention on improving local social supports allows residents to thrive in a way that, in turn, supports the local economy and environment. As she continues to pursue the vision of a healthier, stronger Revelstoke, she has helped to catapult the City forward as a leader in social sustainability.
The True North: Uncovering the Complex Roots of Rural and Remote Living
By Michelle Sandsmark
Northern BC’s wild landscape is incredible; the vast terrain astounds the senses with a calming presence of peace and inspiration. Northern BC is an oasis of wildlife, free from the hustle and bustle of the southern urban regions. While this can be seen as a retreat from the big city lifestyle, there are also numerous challenges that residents face when it comes to addressing personal health and community well-being.
While health services are essential to tend to our ailments, research has shown that preventative, upstream approaches are more effective than reactive, downstream approaches in addressing health and well-being. It is known that BC’s northern residents have greater challenges and barriers to good health than any other region in BC. At the same time, these challenges are giving Northern Health an opportunity to demonstrate how to address the root causes to have a positive influence on social, economic and environmental outcomes in Northern BC.
Source: Statistics Canada (2013) 1, 2, 3, 4
BC’s Great North is faced with many diverse challenges: the boom-bust cycle of various industries; difficulty retaining young adults as they see other opportunities in urban areas; limited access to provincial health and social services, supports and resources; a lack of culturally appropriate assistance; and a need to establish strong local food systems. These are only a few obstacles to overcome in order to achieve better outcomes in the northern rural and remote locations.
While the North is rife with barriers to good health, numerous actions have been taken and innovative community-based solutions are being developed. The following are just a few examples of initiatives taking place in BC’s northern communities:
- Finalized in April 2014, the Northern First Nations Health and Wellness Plan was developed by the Northern First Nations Health Partnership Committee (a partnership among Northern Health, the Northern Regional Health Caucus, and the First Nations Health Authority). With over one third of BC’s registered First Nations represented in the north, it became imperative that a plan be developed to ensure culturally responsive services, mutual respect and inclusive participation in all processes, and strong support for collaborative, community-driven, Nation-based programs.
- Many northern communities are faced with the challenge of youth out-migration and an aging baby boomer population. Recognizing this challenge, the Fraser Basin Council and the BC Rural Network have supported bright solutions through Project ComeBack. Through the pilot program, five communities received funding, including the City of Williams Lake, Village of Chase, Smithers District Chamber of Commerce, Regional District of Mount Waddington, and the Village of Kaslo. Over two years, youth and young adults were engaged in a process to find out how to retain young adults in these rural and remote communities.
- The Greater Terrace Agricultural Area Plan was created to address the decline in agricultural production, increase economic activity, and improve food security in the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and the expanding area. Research was undertaken to consult and engage residents within the Greater Terrace region in the development of the Plan, which resulted in a thorough set of recommendations to improve local food production.
Want to learn more?
We are celebrating our fifth year of FREE Citizen Series Webinars, which focuses specifically on the learning needs of northern, rural and remote communities. Register now to reserve your spot in the webinar and join the discussion!
Northern BC Citizen Series Webinars
- THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 2015 (1:30-3:30 PM PST)
Risky Business: Why Communities, Government and Industry Need To Work Together To Support a Healthier Approach to Resource Development. Register Here.
- TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2015 (10:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST)
Partnering for Change: Building New Relationships for the Health and Well-being of Northern First Nations People and Communities. Register Here.
- THURSDAY, APRIL 16, 2015 (1:30-3:30 PM PST)
The Best is Yet to Be: Engaging Seniors' Wisdom and Voices in Building Healthy Age-friendly Communities. Register Here.
- THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2015 (1:30-3:30 PM PST)
It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Leveraging the Canada Winter Games for Healthy Active Communities in the Long Run. Register Here.
Recommended by Michelle Sandsmark
Community Conversations: Mobilizing the Ideas, Skills, and Passion of Community Organizations, Governments, Businesses, and People
By Paul Born
Communities around the world are entering a new era of community building. Whether improving economic conditions and reducing poverty, re-energizing citizens and social programs, reducing crime, or revitalizing a troubled neighborhood, they are engaging people from all sectors as never before to work together as equals to improve their quality of life.
Full of informative and inspiring examples of collaboration, Community Conversations captures the essence of creating such conversations and offers ten practical techniques to host conversations in your community.