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

Cultural Competency Training & Service User Support

DECONSTRUCTING CULTURE: Culture is a term that is used - in various ways, by different disciplines - to describe the knowledge, arts, languages, beliefs, customs, rules and collective identities and memories held by an individual or community. Culture is also a term that is often overused, that is politically charged, and whose definition can be … Continue reading Cultural Competency Training & Service User Support

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 a … Continue reading Catching Health in the Workplace

Creating Organizations that Foster 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 Creating Organizations that Foster Volunteer Loyalty

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

Social Determinants of Health: Connecting Self-Care to Access

“The definitive factors in determining whether someone is in good health extend significantly beyond access to care and include the conditions in their life and the conditions of their neighborhoods and communities.”­­ — John Auerbach DECONSTRUCTING SELF-CARE ADVICE: When I speak with my friends – and others – about self-care it often feels like a privileged … Continue reading Social Determinants of Health: Connecting Self-Care to Access

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

Volunteering is a great way to support your health and community!

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!

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?

A History of Labour Day in 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

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

A Local Pottery Studio to Visit

Joan Spears is the much beloved owner of Pleasant Pottery, located in the Eglinton and 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

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, and to get you mentally ready for the day ahead. In addition, … Continue reading Morning Walks: A Healthy Way to Start Your Day

Respecting Fashion and the Environment

A STORE THAT SUPPORTS THE ENVIRONMENT, YOUR STYLE & YOUR WALLET: If you love the environment, and high fashion at an affordable price, the Second Nature Boutique might just be for you. The Second Nature Boutique is one of Toronto's original consignment stores. The boutique has been open for over 40 years. And, according to owner … Continue reading Respecting Fashion and the Environment

Form Follows Function in the New User Friendly World of Work

REDEFINING WORKING AND THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT: 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 … Continue reading Form Follows Function in the New User Friendly World of Work