Admission into college, or university, can present opportunities and challenges. Access to education can be a privilege, which can provide a series of life long opportunities and rewards. However, the years leading up to graduation (and sometimes afterwards) can be filled with a series of emotional and financial stressors. These stressors can be compounded by … Continue reading Peer Support 101: Peer Support Strategies for Surviving College & University
Peer support groups provide individuals with a space to address issues and gain support from others who have experienced a similar issue/s (i.e. addictions, depression, diabetes, grief, etc.). However, chance encounters with other peer support members, outside the support group setting, can sometimes create unnecessary discomfort. Outside of the group environment, most members are not always sure … Continue reading Peer Support 101: Engaging Outside Your Support Group
“Being heard meets a deep-seated human need for connection. The simple yet critically important act of being acknowledged, being listened to – truly being heard – changes everything. It changes the person being listened to and therefore everything connected to that person”. Center for Digital Storytelling We hear our first stories at home. We then use these stories to … Continue reading Peer Support 101: Using Peer Support to Tell Your Story
WHO ARE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES? Baskins (2010) defines Indigenous Peoples as “the original inhabitants of what the Haudenosaunee Nations call Turtle Island or what is also referred to as North America” (p.2). And, the Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Indigenous Peoples: Indians, Metis, and Inuit (Baskins, 2010, p.2). Also, it is often common to hear … Continue reading Homelessness Among Indigenous Peoples in Canada: Why Social Workers Should Adopt A Micro & Macro Approach to Care
Each June seniors month provides Canadians with the opportunity to reflect on how to better promote healthy aging, by supporting older adults to live their best life. Having worked directly with this community, I know that for many older adults living their best life means aging in a healthy way that allows for full life and community … Continue reading Aging in Canada: Reflecting on Seniors Month
Depending on who you speak to, the evolution of volunteering as a vital form of support for those in need - and or 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 of both. Regardless of your stance with respect to … Continue reading Volunteering is a great way to support your health and community!
Today is International Day of Happiness, which 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 recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015 the UN launched 17 Sustainable … Continue reading Distress Centres Support Social and Mental Health in Ontario
"Work plays a very important role in our quality of life, and is often defined as a social determinant of health." The Wold Health Organization (2017) 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, … Continue reading New Government Report Looks At Precarious Work
"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 Social Determinants of Health: Connecting Self-Care to Access
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
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
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
“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 TAVA: A Great Resource For Volunteer Managers in Toronto
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
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 Creating Organizations that Foster Volunteer Loyalty
Voting matters! And, just as important as voting is “understanding” who - and what - you are voting for. Before you vote, take some time to find out about all the registered political parties (i.e. visit their websites, research their political track records, research what causes or policies they are supporting, etc.). Elections Canada tries to make … Continue reading Election Day is Approaching: Are You Ready To Vote Canada?
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 A History of Labour Day in Canada
“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
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
“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)
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
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
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 Fostering More Inclusive and LGBTTIQQ2SA Friendly Services
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
Health, social service, and social justice workers now have additional support, in their quest to continually improve and provide more inclusive mental health and addiction programs. For those in helping professions, the new book Journey to Healing: Aboriginal People with Addiction and Mental Health Issues What health, social service and justice and workers need to … Continue reading Journey to Healing: Aboriginal People with Addiction and Mental Health Issues
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
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!
There are days when my mornings are spent tending to unanticipated service user 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 … Continue reading The Midday Work Reboot
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!
The recent State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for US Business Leaders report notes that workers are happier (and possibly more successful) in their jobs when they have friends at work. Yet, the workplace can be a very competitive and stressful environment. With this being so, we don’t normally think of work as … Continue reading Emotional Intelligence And Peer Support At Work
Culture is a term that is often overused, that is politically charged, and whose definition can be hard to pin down. Fellows (2013) describes culture as “an all-pervading construct of human existence but its conceptualization is contested. As such, it is problematic to define or measure culture as different paradigms adopt radically different approaches”. Also, Critical Race Theorists … Continue reading Cultural Competency Training & Service User Support
The financial and environmental impact of our clothes: In 2011 the UK non-profit Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) released their ‘Valuing our clothes’ report, which provided a “look at the financial and environmental aspects of the whole journey of all clothing; from raw material, to manufacture, purchase, use and disposal of our clothes”. On their website, … Continue reading Respecting Fashion and the Environment
More than "200 ethnic origins were reported " in the 2011 Statistics Canada census findings. And, you need to look no further than the Canadian workplace to see the manifestation of this trend. Most workers now engage with co-workers (and also support customers) from a race, ethnic group or culture different from their own. With this in mind, … Continue reading Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity at Work
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 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 User Friendly World of Work
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
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 Non Profit Sector Work: Leading Yourself Through Change
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 social media (which captures a moment in time). We then assume that life should be comprised of a … Continue reading It’s Okay to Be Lonely and Alone (Sometimes)!
Research shows that parents and other family members play a significant role in instilling social responsibility. According to Marion Menard (2010): “Obviously, the family is a very strong locus of socialization. Parents and other family members exercise the primary role in shaping children’s personalities. The discussions that young children have within the family are their … Continue reading When it Comes to Civic Engagement Voting and Volunteering Runs in the Family
According to the government of Ontario (2010), community hubs "make it easier for local residents to access the health, social, cultural, recreational and other resources they need together in one spot. It can be located in a physical building or accessed through a digital service...whether in a high-density urban neighbourhood or an isolated rural community, each hub … Continue reading The Value of Community Hubs: Why I Went Back to the Library