Seniors: Isolation, inclusion and system change with Glenys Currie
Release Date: 09/17/2020
This podcast shares the findings and experience of following a Collective Impact process for the Rural Ottawa Youth Mental Health Collective, led by Nicole McKerracher, Executive Director of O-YA, a youth association in a rural Ottawa village. We’re joined by Emily Dozois, a youth with personal experience trying to access mental health services in rural Ottawa, and Evaluations Coordinator for the Collective. In particular, we hear the actionable findings from their survey of over 300 rural Ottawa youth, along with challenges and tips for creating and administering a survey through...info_outline Building a Business and Portfolio with Purpose, with Tim Nash, Good Investing Founder
Tim shares insights into Socially Responsible Investing – about people looking to do less evil and perhaps more good with their investments. Even more importantly, we look beyond that, to his business model aimed at helping one million Canadians invest intentionally, because of the difference he sees that will make in the world. He’s creating a movement and shares how he’ll accomplish this,based on his Theory of Change or Change Theory. This approach has Tim acting as a coach, helping empower people to invest in line with their values. We see how, by having a big goal...info_outline A Founder and Funder Creating Beautiful Music Together, with Astrid Hepner, CEO/Founder, Hamilton Music Collective and Board member and Funder, Carl Joosse
This podcast is two-fold. We have the pleasure of hearing from Astrid Hepner about the great work of the Hamilton Music Collective, where, modeled after a proven program in Germany, 6000 under-served Hamilton school children are exposed to playing musical instruments, and all the related skills, pride and self-esteem that brings. We also hear from Carl Joose, representing the next generation of the John & Ellie Voortman Charitable Foundation, and also a board member on the Hamilton Music Collective, about how the two organizations were able to work together to not only support these...info_outline Business with Purpose – Creating Indigenous Software Testers, with Denis Carignan, Plato Testing President
As a social enterprise, we’ll hear how and why Plato Testing was created and the impact it was looking to have, intentionally setting a bold target for the number of Indigenous software testers they would create and leverage in Canada. We hear now, five years later, how the planned impact is becoming a reality. We’ll hear about the partners they are working with, in post-secondary institutions and Indigenous training centres, and corporate partners who share in their mission and look to embed social responsibility principles in how they operate. We’ll...info_outline Supporting the Black Social Services Sector with Agapi Gessesse, ED CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals
The Black Social Services Sector, as Agapi describes it, isn’t getting the attention it needs. The CEE (Careers, Education, Empowerment) Centre for Young Black Professionals is taking that on. Hear how they are supporting 3B organizations – that’s Black-focused, Black-led (including Board representation), and Black-serving organizations, including many that are not registered charities. In addition to supporting the sector, CEE provides direct programming, targeting particular industriesand creating demand-led workforce development solutions, with high...info_outline Eating Disorders are Prevalent but Solvable, with Sonia Kumar, co-founder of Body Brave and the Body Peace Collaborative
As someone with lived experience, and as a person of mixed colour, Sonia brings a unique perspective to addressing eating disorders as a mental health issue, raising up the voices of people with lived experience and seeking more equitable access and support. Sonia explains the issues and challenges facing people living with eating disorders , particularly through a pandemic that creates additional stress. She also shares some of the solutions developed by the national Body Peace Collaborative, including developing an award-winning e-platform for those experiencing...info_outline Rallying for a Human Connection Movement with Pete Bombaci, GenWell Project Founder
The GenWell Project is a Canadian organization dedicated to making the world a healthier and happier place by educating people about the importance of proactive face to face social connection and inspiring them to take action. We're going to hear a lot more about that from Founder, Pete Bombaci. After a successful career in the beverage industry, and then leading Movember Canada, Pete is now focusing on the rollout of this passion project. You're going to hear about human connection and the importance of it, something we may be taking for granted. It seems it’s...info_outline Intentionally Designed for Meaningful Giving, with Kate Masson, Meaningful Work Foundation at Ian Martin Group
As the co-owner and Community Manager for the Ian Martin Group, Kate Masson works to establish a community of belonging and shared accountability for staff through a self-managed operating system and a genuine spirit of care for those in the organization. You're going to get a sense of that in this conversation. We're focused here not on the staffing organization, the work of Ian Martin Group as a B Corp, but on their foundation. They have been intentional in creating a foundation. The structure reflects the impact they intend, which includes looking at the effect they don’t want to have....info_outline Making Data Accessible to Address Inequities, through the Toronto Child & Family Network’s Raising the Village initiative
In this episode, Social Impact Advisors Partner Lynn Fergusson interviews representatives of the Toronto Child & Family Network. Kelley Baldwin provides backbone support to the Toronto Child and Family Network, a network of about 100 organizations. Tamara Augsten, who’s had a lead role in developing the Network’s Raising the Village initiative shares the value of this database. This initiative has pulled together data from various partners’ sources, such as EQAO standardized testing, Toronto District School Board, and the census, and made 120 indicators...info_outline Hope for the Homeless – with Proof, with Foundations for Social Change CEO Claire Elizabeth Williams
As co-founder and CEO of Foundations for Social Change, Claire Elizabeth Williams is getting global acclaim for North America's first direct giving project with people experiencing homelessness. Direct giving project, as in giving a lump sum of cash directly to people experiencing homelessness. We hear about their innovative project, the New Leaf Project, and its key success factors, including: the ability to be innovative forming partnerships conducting the research - the proof of the impact they're making and how they're going about doing that, and doing it...info_outline
In this episode, Sally speaks with Glenys Currie, Director of Quality and Risk Management at Banyan Community Services about her work with the Hamilton Seniors Social Isolation Plan (HSSIP) and its legacy. While the funded program, which ran for three years, ended in 2019, it has fostered relationships and positive impact that continue through the current COVID emergency.
With over 25 years of experience leading community Glenys is an authority on the issues faced by marginalized and vulnerable persons, including an excellent knowledge and understanding of exclusion, isolation and loneliness.
The Hamilton HSSIP project was started by organizations answering a call from Employment and Social Development Canada, through the New Horizons Fund, to build community wide population-level impact plans to combat seniors’ isolation. Hamilton was one of 9 communities across Canada to receive funding from that original call.
The Hamilton project was focused on connecting older adults in various ways: hospital connectors ensured safe discharge to community, community connectors sought out isolated seniors, peer connectors worked with fellow seniors to support their social connection to community. Five agencies and institutions participated in this network of connector services. As well, the Gilbrea Centre for studies in Aging at McMaster University worked to educate the community on the causes of seniors’ isolation, and the Hamilton Council on Aging connected all of these organizations to track progress and uncover opportunities.
As Glenys explains, HSSIP underestimated the complexity of what seniors were facing: mental health challenges, substance abuse, food insecurity, precarious housing were all factors contributing to isolation that couldn’t be solved through relatively short-term services to seniors. Even with those challenges, HSSIP achieved its goal of connecting 20% of isolated seniors, and on a systems level, the project has produced lasting benefits.
The community learned more about the causes of isolation and supports for combatting it, some of the connector roles developed in HSSIP continued and have become part of regular service at hospitals in Hamilton.
As Glenys explains change at the systems level takes longer than three years, so the community is continuing to build on this work and foster their new relationships. The Seniors-At-Risk in the Community Collaborative (SARC) is one legacy of this collective work, and it connects 34 agencies and institutions together to share information, uncover opportunities and drive toward policy change.
Glenys explains that government and other funders investing in community impact projects should invest long term. When crises like COVID happen, funding should be directed to experts in community who can ramp up their work quickly. Working collectively in the long term, as SARC intends, can reduce the fragmentation in community and make responding to crises and navigating to expertise more effective.
Glenys credits staff at all of the agencies in Hamilton who have responded to the COVID crisis. Many people delivering services to seniors are seniors themselves, and they continued grocery delivery and social connection for their most vulnerable neighbours in a challenging time.
Glenys suggests that collective community impact projects like these should work more intentionally at a systems level on inclusion, rather than focusing only on lifting individuals from isolation. There is a world of difference: don’t create programmatic dependency, work on preventing the need for short-term programs. Organizations working directly with seniors know what changes are needed at the system level around adequate income and food security, transportation and health care, and including these voices at tables of power, where decisions are made, will make our communities stronger.
Thank you for listening to Impact Conversations with Lynn Fergusson & Sally Fazal
Find out more about our work at Social Impact Advisors: https://socialimpactadvisors.ca