Design Thinking: A Service User Centered Approach

INCLUDING SERVICE USERS IN SERVICE DESIGN   I believe that the true experts in service user care are the people facing the issues. So, in my mind, it seems only reasonable that service users should be involved in directing their care and services. Following this logic, I have often championed the idea that, as service … Continue reading Design Thinking: A Service User Centered Approach

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Volunteer Management 101: Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement

THE SHIFT TOWARDS A MORE RISK AWARE SECTOR I started managing volunteer programs in 2001. Since that time I have seen some sweeping changes in the voluntary sector. One key change is the move towards a more risk aware approach to volunteer management. The voluntary sector now recognizes – and heeds the fact - that … Continue reading Volunteer Management 101: Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement

Community-Based Research and Service User Support

"The life histories obtained from this method can often help to situate the overall data in an emotional context, and aid attempts to affect legislation by providing a clear narrative example for service user support/ program funding". THE VALUE OF RESEARCH: Research and its analysis (and also the methodology, and the theory that it is … Continue reading Community-Based Research and Service User Support

Talking to strangers & leaving a positive community foot print

While on the train today, a woman - who appeared to be in her eighties -  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 … Continue reading Talking to strangers & leaving a positive community foot print

Non Profit Sector Work: 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 Non Profit Sector Work: Leading Yourself Through Change

Peer Support 101: Engaging Outside Your Support Group

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

Peer Support 101: Using Peer Support to Tell Your Story

“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

The Toronto Distress Centres Support Social and Mental Health in Ontario

According to the World Health Organization, “an overwhelming majority of people with mental and psycho-social disabilities are living in poverty, poor physical health, and are subject to human rights violations". Also, to add pain to injury, Canada's health care system is extremely hard to navigate; and often times access to appropriate therapy is cost prohibitive. With … Continue reading The Toronto Distress Centres Support Social and Mental Health in Ontario

Election Day is Approaching: Are You Ready To Vote Canada?

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?

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

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

Continuing Education: Fostering More Inclusive and LGBTTIQQ2SA Friendly Services

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 Continuing Education: Fostering More Inclusive and LGBTTIQQ2SA Friendly Services

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 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)!