June is Seniors Month: Living Your Best Life

Celebrating Seniors Month Each June  Ontario celebrates seniors, and the contributions that they make within our communities. This year is the 33rd annual senior’s month, and the theme is “Living Your Best Life”.  For many seniors, living their best life means aging in a healthy way that allows for full life and community engagement. According to the World … Continue reading June is Seniors Month: Living Your Best Life

Self-Help Resource Centre Closes Doors After 29 Years

I have volunteered with the Self-Help Resource Centre (SHRC) for many years. And, I have admired the SHRC’s 29 year history of using the peer support (or self-help) model to empower individuals and communities across Ontario. With this, I was quite sad when I heard the news that the SHRC will be closing their doors … Continue reading Self-Help Resource Centre Closes Doors After 29 Years

Happy National Volunteer Week!

“Volunteers are the heartbeat of the charitable and nonprofit sector.” Depending on who you speak to, the evolution of volunteering as a vital form of support for those in need (and marginalized communities) can be viewed as either a good or a bad thing. Or, if you’re more politically inclined, it can be viewed as a bit … Continue reading Happy National Volunteer Week!

Happy International Day of Happiness: Learn How the Distress Centres Promote Happiness Through Mental Health Support in Ontario

Today is International Day of Happiness. And, this usually begs the following question: What is International Day of Happiness? Beyond being a day about being happy, it is a day that promotes awareness about the social determinants that support happiness and or general well-being.The United Nations celebrates  International Day of Happiness “as a way to … Continue reading Happy International Day of Happiness: Learn How the Distress Centres Promote Happiness Through Mental Health Support in Ontario

New Government Report Looks At Precarious Work

The Wold Health Organization (WHO) defines the social determinants of health as the “conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. These conditions influence a person’s opportunity to be healthy, his/her risk of illness and life expectancy. Social inequities in health – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status across … Continue reading New Government Report Looks At Precarious Work

Self-Care In A Worrisome World: When Social Problems Create Stress

There’s no amount of counseling, kale, or yoga — even if these were available or affordable to everyone in the U.S. — that will alter the economic, political, and social forces that sustain poverty or war in the age of terrorism, or what we glibly call “work-family conflict.” We’re going to have to throw out … Continue reading Self-Care In A Worrisome World: When Social Problems Create Stress

Retiring on a Low Income: Plain Language Advice

A growing cohort of seniors are working well past the retirement age, and not because they want to, but because they have to. With this, early retirement has become somewhat of a unicorn. Many Canadian seniors are retiring in poverty, or with a barely livable income. There are many reasons for this, including but not … Continue reading Retiring on a Low Income: Plain Language Advice

Making Time For Art: Two Artists Worth Knowing About

I am often disheartened by the history and politics attached to the defining , and ownership of “art” (i.e. who gets to own and preserve cultural artifacts/art). With this being so, I have often shied away from frequenting (and by default promoting) the larger galleries (and museums) , choosing instead to seek out the smaller, … Continue reading Making Time For Art: Two Artists Worth Knowing About

A New Peer Support Model For Your Self Help ToolKit

I love to source and introduce people to a variety of peer support  models. I am also inspired by the way that certain individuals  – or communities –  will take the best elements from certain models, to create a process that works best for them.  As an example, a late friend of mine was inspired by the work of Harvey … Continue reading A New Peer Support Model For Your Self Help ToolKit

If you support volunteers in Toronto you should join TAVA

“Volunteers are the heartbeat of the charitable and nonprofit sector.” According to Imagine Canada, the “charitable and nonprofit sector contributes an average of 8.1% of total Canadian GDP, more than the retail trade industry and close to the value of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry”. This can be attributed – in no small part – … Continue reading If you support volunteers in Toronto you should join TAVA

Walking In Toronto: Alone Or With A Group

These days we tend to have very sedentary lifestyles. We drive or take public transit to work. While at work, we sit in front of computers for most of the day. Then, we head home to sit in front of our television or computers. And, if we go out we choose to go somewhere to sit  – … Continue reading Walking In Toronto: Alone Or With A Group

Charity Events Can Be Fun: Don’t Miss SHRC’s Harry Potter & Game of Thrones TRIVIA NIGHT!

The  Self Help Resource Centre (SHRC) would like you to team up and get your game on, at their Sunday August 28th Game of Potter Trivia Night. This is an SHRC fundraising event, where all proceeds will go directly back into SHRC’s work. ALL THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SELF-HELP RESOURCE CENTRE: The SHRC … Continue reading Charity Events Can Be Fun: Don’t Miss SHRC’s Harry Potter & Game of Thrones TRIVIA NIGHT!

June is All About PRIDE

This month Canada will host its first-ever Pride Month; which will be officially launched on June 1, 2016. Pride Month is expected to start with its inaugural city proclamation and the raising of the Rainbow flag at Toronto City Hall. The month will feature extended programming, educational forums, and provocative events throughout the city, culminating … Continue reading June is All About PRIDE

Building volunteer loyalty

The success and relevance of any business almost entirely depends on their ability to cultivate customer loyalty. And, ensuring customer satisfaction at each “organizational touchpoint”  (in-person, phone, email, website, and external media) can lead to customer loyalty; where the customer returns and also tells others about their great customer experience. For-profit organizations invest heavily in the development … Continue reading Building volunteer loyalty

October 19th Is Election Day! Are You Ready To Vote Canada?

  Voting matters! And, just as important as voting is “understanding” what you are voting for. Take some time to find out about each federal party (i.e. visit their websites, research their political track records, etc.). While October 19, 2015 is Election Day, this is not the only day that you have to vote. Elections Canada tries … Continue reading October 19th Is Election Day! Are You Ready To Vote Canada?

Happy Labour Day!

For "most" people, Labour Day is a public holiday, which affords us some  downtime to rest and to see our friends/loved ones. And, this is great. However, in addition to the former, it might also benefit us to think of Labour Day as a time to pause and to remember the reason for, and or history … Continue reading Happy Labour Day!

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

August 30, 2015 is International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances . The United Nations (2015) provides the following information about International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances: Enforced disappearance has frequently been used as a strategy to spread terror within the society. The feeling of insecurity generated by this practice is not limited to … Continue reading International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

AIDS Walk Toronto – Sunday, September 13 2015

The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life is an national awareness and fundraising event that takes place every year in communities all across Canada. Local events are hosted by AIDS Service Organizations in your community. And, all Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life proceeds remain in the community and provide necessary funds for support services and programs for … Continue reading AIDS Walk Toronto – Sunday, September 13 2015

2015 International Youth Day: Youth Civic Engagement

Youth civic engagement matters! “In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world”. - Secretary-General … Continue reading 2015 International Youth Day: Youth Civic Engagement

The Self-Help Resource Centre Launches Better Together Campaign

The  Self Help Resource Centre (SHRC) launched their Better Together campaign today. Listed below are 7 things that the SHRC would like you to know about this campaign. WHAT IS THIS CAMPAIGN ABOUT? The Better Together campaign recognizes that the world is better when we work together. We all support each other in a myriad of ways, … Continue reading The Self-Help Resource Centre Launches Better Together Campaign

Making Friends in Adulthood

“Living a long life, the conventional wisdom at the time said, depended to a great extent on who we were—that is, our genes. It depended on the decisions we made—on what we chose to eat, and how much we chose to exercise, and how effectively we were treated by the medical system. No one was … Continue reading Making Friends in Adulthood

Recession & Depression: 10 Tips For Supporting Good Mental Health

Global News just reported that the Bank of Canada has cut their key interest rates, as the “economy falls into recession” (July 15, 2015). For those working in mental health (and other helping professions), this is sobering news. Mental health service providers know that this kind of news – and reality – can be devastating to individuals and their families. Quite frequently, … Continue reading Recession & Depression: 10 Tips For Supporting Good Mental Health

Happy Canada Day & Summerlicious Week!

HAPPY CANADA DAY!  Happy Canada Day, All! And, what a beautiful day it is.  On a day like today, it feels good to pause and to take in the sights and sounds of Toronto (see my YouTube video below)! HAPPY SUMMERLICIOUS WEEK! One of the many great things about Canada is its people. And, another … Continue reading Happy Canada Day & Summerlicious Week!

They Left Us Everything: A Memoir (Plum Johnson Book Reading)

“EVERYONE IS INTERESTING, AS LONG AS YOU ASK THEM THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.”–PLUM JOHNSON Author Plum Johnson won the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize, for her book They Left Us Everything: A Memoir. As the winner of this annual award, which celebrates excellence in Canadian literary non-fiction, she received $25,000. Since receiving this award, Johnson has been … Continue reading They Left Us Everything: A Memoir (Plum Johnson Book Reading)

2015 AIDS Candlelight Vigil: Getting To Zero

The 2015 AIDS Candlelight Vigil: Getting to Zero event was held at The 519 yesterday.  This annual community memorial honours, remembers and celebrates the lives of people who have died of AIDS. It is an event that also recognizes and honours those affected by and living with HIV/AIDS. Last night I attended this event. While … Continue reading 2015 AIDS Candlelight Vigil: Getting To Zero

A Local Pottery Studio to Visit

Joan Spears is the much beloved owner of Pleasant Pottery, located in the Eglinton & Mount Pleasant community. She has been working with clay for over 35 years; and yet it has not diminished her pleasure in seeing new forms emerge from a lump of clay. After losing her graphic design job in 1996, Joan … Continue reading A Local Pottery Studio to Visit

Help for Donors: New Charity Giving Guide

Imagine Canada has released their new Guide to Giving manual. This resource will provide donors with practical information about charitable giving. According to Imagine Canada: Charities and non-profits have helped to build and shape our nation. These organizations engage and empower Canadians, provide communities with vital services, and contribute to quality of life by supporting … Continue reading Help for Donors: New Charity Giving Guide

Help for Charities Completing the Canada Revenue Agency’s T3010

Imagine Canada has a new T3010 Quick Prep tool, to assist charities in completing their T3010 registered charity information return.  Imagine Canada notes the following about this new tool: To be in compliance with Canada Revenue Agency’s regulations, all charities must complete and submit their T3010 filings to the CRA within six months of their fiscal year … Continue reading Help for Charities Completing the Canada Revenue Agency’s T3010

Supporting Inclusive Service

In a diverse Country like Canada (and in an even more diverse city like Toronto), those in the helping professions (health, social service, social justice, etc.) are forever grappling to stay abreast of the needs of their service users. With this, an investment in continuing education provides an opportunity to gain the insights needed, to … Continue reading Supporting Inclusive Service

JUNE 21, 2015 IS NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY!

What is National Aboriginal Day? The  Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) website notes the following about   National Aboriginal Day: June 21st is National Aboriginal Day (NAD), a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal … Continue reading JUNE 21, 2015 IS NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY!

Ride Don’t Hide: Support Family Mental Health on June 21st

On June 21, 2015 join Ride Don’t Hide, in support of family mental health in Ontario, BC, and Alberta. The event is organized by CMHA , and it increases awareness about mental illness, and also raises funds that make a significant impact in various communities across BC, Alberta and Ontario. There are many ways that you can support … Continue reading Ride Don’t Hide: Support Family Mental Health on June 21st

Senior’s Month 2015: Vibrant Seniors, Vibrant Communities

In Ontario, June is all about seniors.  Each year Ontario celebrates seniors, and the contributions that they make within our communities. This year is the 31st annual senior’s month, and the theme is Vibrant Seniors, Vibrant Communities.   Events are hosted all month long to celebrate and recognize seniors. One such event is the  50+ Festival, … Continue reading Senior’s Month 2015: Vibrant Seniors, Vibrant Communities

March 17th is World Social Work Day!

Today, March 17, is World Social Work Day! The Australian Association of Social Workers (2015) provides the following information about World Social Work Day: World Social Work Day 2015  (WSWD) is on March 17. The theme ‘Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples’ relates to the sorld Social Work Day 2015econd pillar of the Global Agenda for Social … Continue reading March 17th is World Social Work Day!

Today is International Women’s Day

Today, March 6, is International Women’s Day. The Wold Health Organization (2015) provides the following information about International Women’s Day: 6 March 2015 -- International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women and their achievements. It’s also a day to take stock of how women’s rights, especially the right to health, are fulfilled in the … Continue reading Today is International Women’s Day

2014 International Youth Day: Youth and Mental Health

Today, August 12, is International Youth Day. The United Nations (2014) provides the following information about International Youth Day: On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. … Continue reading 2014 International Youth Day: Youth and Mental Health

World Breastfeeding Week: August 1-7, 2014

August 1-7, 2014 is World Breastfeeding Week. The World Health Organization (2014) provides the following information about World Breastfeeding Week: World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed … Continue reading World Breastfeeding Week: August 1-7, 2014

Morning Walks: A Healthy Way to Start Your Day

Walking is an easy way to integrate exercise into your life, and to improve your health. However, while evening walks are great, they don’t compare to morning walks. There is nothing quite like a brisk morning walk in nature, to recharge your spirits. In addition, if you are looking to improve your fitness level, Preventions … Continue reading Morning Walks: A Healthy Way to Start Your Day

Statistics Canada offers Workshops that can support your agency goals

Most organizations are unaware that Statistics Canada  offers workshops, on survey methodology and analysis. The Statistics Canada  workshops  are offered through their regional offices around the country.  The workshops provide a great way for agencies to learn how to effectively use statistics, to define their target audience and to better clarify and augment their agency … Continue reading Statistics Canada offers Workshops that can support your agency goals

A Website for Seniors with Depression

Seniors grappling with late life depression can often suffer in silence.  This is a concern, because if left untreated depression can greatly diminish their quality of life. Research shows that depression symptoms among seniors are similar to people of any age. However, those symptoms can manifest differently. According to author Mark Hager, some of the … Continue reading A Website for Seniors with Depression

Toronto shows WorldPride

Toronto showed its  PRIDE, to an international audience, at last weeks WorldPride event. WorldPride is an event “for people identifying as Lesbian, Gay Men, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and/or other emerging sexual identities” (InterPride, 2014). The event is the brainchild of InterPride, an “international organization that ties Pride together globally” (InterPride, 2014). As a charitable organization, InterPride boasts the … Continue reading Toronto shows WorldPride

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

The Canadian Anti-spam Legislation (CASL) will be effective on July 1, 2014. The intent of this new law is to “deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam from occurring in Canada”. The new law will change the way the for-profit and non-profit sectors can fundraise, and market to existing and prospective clients, via commercial … Continue reading The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

World Refugee Day

June 20, 2014 is World Refugee Day . Every year World Refugee Day is observed on June 20th, to raise awareness about the plight of refugees throughout the world. The United Nations (2014) provides the following information about World Refugee Day: For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own Refugee Days and … Continue reading World Refugee Day

Talking to strangers & leaving a community foot print

While on the train today, an elderly lady gingerly glided into the seat beside me. We exchanged a friendly smile, and she offered me a digestive biscuit (I don’t know why they call it that, they are anything but easily digested). I took a piece, and asked her if I could take a picture of … Continue reading Talking to strangers & leaving a community foot print

Host a life celebration party for your friends!

If we are not careful we can spend our life consumed by our jobs and our to-do lists. However, this is no way to live, if we want an enjoyable and meaningful life! I was reminded of just that, this past weekend, when I heard the song Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think). It‘s such … Continue reading Host a life celebration party for your friends!

The Midday Work Reboot

There are days when my mornings are spent tending to unanticipated customer emergencies, participating in last minute staff/team meetings , and responding to overly complicated — and time consuming — emails. On mornings like this, everything gets done — except the things originally on my to do list. On days like this, it is important to implement a midday work reboot, … Continue reading The Midday Work Reboot

CRA: Charities and their participation in political activities video series

On April 26, 2014 the Canada Revenue Agency launched their new video series, Charities and their participation in political activities. The series includes the following three videos: Overview of political activities for charities: This video provides an overview of political activities for registered charities. What is a political activity?: This video provides a definition of political activities … Continue reading CRA: Charities and their participation in political activities video series

Let’s talk about equity in healthcare!

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH)  provides the Canadian public health community with “knowledge and resources to take action on the social determinants of health, to close the gap between those who are most and least healthy”. As an extension of this goal, the NCCDH developed their free downloadable let’s talk series … Continue reading Let’s talk about equity in healthcare!

Healthy Rustic (Busy Persons) Oat Bar

Total prep and cooking time: Approx. 10 minutes Good food and good health go hand in hand. With this, I love healthy and portable snacks, that I can throw into my bag and eat throughout the day. One of my favourite healthy and portable snack is the oat bar. However, a quick glance at the ingredient list of  most … Continue reading Healthy Rustic (Busy Persons) Oat Bar

Tell your organizations story through the YouTube Charities Programme!

This month I want to highlight the YouTube Charities Programme. It's a wonderful YouTube service offering, that  provides all the information that a charitable organization might require, to effectively promote their cause online, and to launch an impactful campaign via YouTube. To qualify for the YouTube Charities Programme your organisation “must be a registered nonprofit … Continue reading Tell your organizations story through the YouTube Charities Programme!

Emotional Intelligence And Peer Support At Work

THE UNCERTAIN WORLD OF WORK In recent years, most companies, through their employee assistant programs (EAPs), have noticed an upswing in the number of employee mental health claims. Unfortunately, with the changing and increasingly uncertain world of work, these numbers are expected to grow. However, good self-care, emotional intelligence and peer support can go a … Continue reading Emotional Intelligence And Peer Support At Work

April 6 to 12, 2014 is National Volunteer Week

Volunteer Canada  Sets Up a Volunteer Hotline to Thank Volunteers Volunteer Canada is asking Canadians to call the Volunt-Hear Hotline (1-855-372-5077) to leave a message of thanks for a volunteer. Volunteer Canada had the following to say about the hotline: “Canadians from coast to coast are encouraged to call the Volunt-Hear Hotline and participate in a national … Continue reading April 6 to 12, 2014 is National Volunteer Week

Does cultural competency inadvertently create a new form of discrimination?

Cultural competency training is now commonplace in most health and social service organizations. However, some critics have noted that while the model can be useful in certain contexts, it can also inadvertently lead to discriminatory, and or unhelpful, practices in others. As an example, according to Arthur Kleinmanand Peter Benson (Anthropology in the Clinic: The Problem … Continue reading Does cultural competency inadvertently create a new form of discrimination?

Grants that support the integration of new Canadians

The Maytree Foundation “believes that immigrants and refugees can play a significant role in building and strengthening Canada – in particular its urban communities”. One of the ways that they assist with this process is through grant opportunities, for not-for-profit/charitable organizations. Organizations with new ideas “on how to better integrate new arrivals to Canada” can … Continue reading Grants that support the integration of new Canadians

World Health Day

April 7, 2014 is World Health Day. Every year World Health Day is observed on April 7th. It is a day set aside to mark " the anniversary of the founding of WHO  in 1948”. Each year for World Health Day “a theme is selected that highlights a priority area of public health”. Also, the day “provides an … Continue reading World Health Day

Respecting the earth, your style and your wallet

One non-profit companys look at the financial and environmental impact of our clothes: WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) is a  UK "not for profit company limited by guarantee, set up with an independent board to promote resource efficiency". In 2011 WRAP released their eye opening report ‘Valuing our clothes’. This report provided a “look at the financial … Continue reading Respecting the earth, your style and your wallet

Cultural And Global Awareness at Work

According to the 2011 Statistics Canada census findings “one out of 5 people in Canada's population is foreign-born”. In addition, "more than 200 ethnic origins were reported ". Further, “Canada had a total of about 6,775,800 foreign-born individuals who arrived as immigrants”, which “represented 20.6% of the total population, compared with 19.8% in the 2006 Census”. Canada’s population … Continue reading Cultural And Global Awareness at Work

Setting Your Life to Music

Music affects us  in deep and beneficial  ways. When we integrate music into our daily life it can enhance a happy moment or help us to muddle through a difficult one. So, it’s a wonder that more people don’t make a conscious effort to find more ways to integrate music into their daily life. Here are three easy ways … Continue reading Setting Your Life to Music

Form follows function in the new world of work

Form follows function is an architectural  principle that suggests that “the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose”. This principle is being applied more and more in the modern world of work (literally and figuratively, in regards to approaches to work and the actual work environment). … Continue reading Form follows function in the new world of work

Riding To Support Canadian Communities!

CLARA'S BIG RIDE: “Clara’s Big Ride is reaching into communities large and small in every province and territory, to encourage all Canadians to be part of the conversation about mental health and help end the stigma around mental illness…Community events will create meaningful opportunities for community building or fundraising in support of local mental health … Continue reading Riding To Support Canadian Communities!

Catching Health in the Workplace

It’s relatively easy to sneeze a cold virus on to a coworker. Spreading great health habits, both personal and professional, however, is a much more complex task in the workplace. There’s no simple and fast way to do it but health is like a cultural virus and the ways that viruses spread can teach us … Continue reading Catching Health in the Workplace

Leading yourself through change

Constant change has become a day-to-day reality for not for profit organizations. They must adapt to the changing needs and requirements of their stakeholders in areas such as funding and fundraising, community engagement, financial reporting and technology upgrades. The ability to be productive while accommodating multiple changes is a must-have skill for managers, staff and … Continue reading Leading yourself through change

Support Family Mental Health on June 22nd!

Ride Don’t Hide  is an annual charity event organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) . On June 22, 2014, through this event, the public will have the opportunity to raise awareness for, and to help eliminate the stigma surrounding, mental illness. Ride Don’t Hide provides participants with the opportunity to improve their fitness, while … Continue reading Support Family Mental Health on June 22nd!

The OECD and Global Wellness

The current - and global - discontent with governments and financial institutions begs a question. What is the goal of economics? According to José Ángel Gurría Treviño, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) , it is “to improve the lives of people”! And, I am hard pressed to disagree with … Continue reading The OECD and Global Wellness

Imagine Canada with a NEW charitable narrative

According to Imagine Canada, "the charitable and non-profit sector in Canada has a remarkable story to tell". Imagine Canada  has started to tell this story with the release of their NEW Narrative Toolkit (which will be a part of a series). The goal of this initiative is to assist the Canadian charitable sector to do … Continue reading Imagine Canada with a NEW charitable narrative

It’s okay to be lonely and alone (sometimes)!

In our competition obsessed culture (in all its forms) it’s becoming harder for anyone to be content — alone or with others. We now consume the perfectly manufactured scenes of happy people on T.V. (which captures fantasy), and on Facebook (which captures a moment in time). We then assume that life should be comprised of a continuous … Continue reading It’s okay to be lonely and alone (sometimes)!

I went back to the library!

As a child, going to the library provided me with my first real taste of autonomy. It was free and I was allowed to go there on my own. Also, the librarian treated me like an adult. He recommended books based on my preferences. And, unlike my parents, he never questioned my reading choices (i.e. … Continue reading I went back to the library!