Hearts, roses and chocolates come to mind for many when thinking about Valentine’s Day. The February holiday is usually meant to show our passion and appreciation for those we love. This is often done with grand or cute gestures, gift giving and sharing quality time together. But this Valentine’s Day, we want to tell you about other types of relationships that are also worth celebrating.
We are Heather Powell and Tammy Greening, and we’ve been working with Eastern Health as health promotion wellness consultants since 2006. We both share a love of community and have been fortunate to work together for over 11 years. Our primary role is to engage communities in health promotion; facilitate connections among community groups; and link community needs with Eastern Health’s services and other relevant organizations.
Through our work, we’ve had the privilege of meeting and connecting with amazing individuals and organizations who share a common passion – a true love for their communities and the people within them. Over the years, we’ve seen some individuals and groups who have made significant positive changes in their communities, as well as others who’ve worked quietly to make their corner of the world a little bit … sweeter.
Recently, for example, we’ve had the privilege of supporting various community wellness projects through Eastern Health’s Community Development Fund. Since 2007, Eastern Health’s Board of Trustees has been awarding funds to organizations that identify specific needs and take action to build healthier communities. Each year, a total of $50,000 is awarded to individuals and community groups and since 2007, a total of $440,000 has been awarded to enhance communities in the eastern region.
When we think about love and passion for communities, the recipients of the Community Development Fund come to mind!
Take, for example, the Bonaventure Community Garden. It is being built through a partnership with Stella’s Circle and Kings Gate Condominium. With the funds received, this project will provide a space that is inviting for its users. Through the Bonaventure Community Garden, community members will be able to learn new skills to grow their own food; improve their mental health; and to top it all off, enjoy a little physical activity!
The Canning’s Cove Community Gathering Space is another exemplary project that has brought together unique partners – the Canning’s Cove Recreation Committee; the Local Service District; and the Orange Lodge. These partners will work together to enhance a community play area that will benefit everyone in their community. In the near future, a concrete base will be added to the area to make community gatherings and outdoor activities accessible all year round!
Another partnering initiative is called Connecting Seniors in Rural Areas to Information. This project involves a partnership between the Seniors Resource Centre of NL and the NL 50+ Federation and Public Legal Information Association of NL to host 18 information and recruitment sessions with seniors in rural communities. The sessions will focus on programs and services available to seniors such as those that address caregiving, legal issues and elder abuse.
Partnering to Make Houses into Homes is a pilot project by Home Again Furniture Bank in collaboration with the carpentry program at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP) to build quality furniture for the clients of the furniture bank. In return, this initiative allows participants of the carpentry program to gain valuable skills and work experience.
Another fabulous program is Street Reach-Mount Pearl, an initiative that offers outreach services to vulnerable youth during the cold winter months. Started by Thrive Community Youth Network St. John’s and the Church of the Ascension, this project received funds that will enable at-risk youth to be provided with a range of supports ranging from personal care items and safe injection drug supplies, to information related to programs and services and, most importantly, a listening ear!
St. Mary’s Bay North Regional Development Association is partnering with the Town of Mount Carmel and the Mount Carmel 50 Plus Club to develop the Mount Carmel Gathering Place, a community garden and gathering space – and a great way to build healthy communities.
The Perfect Pairing
Who would have thought that a social service organization and a condominium association would have a common interest in a community garden, or that a furniture bank would partner with a penitentiary to provide furniture to those in need? All of these organizations demonstrate that anything is possible when a partnership is created by people who share a common desire for developing and enriching people’s lives and their communities.
This Valentine’s Day, take a moment to notice the special things that are happening in your community. Together, let’s celebrate the many blossoming relationships that make our communities a little more beautiful. ■
This story was written by Heather Powell and Tammy Greening, Health Promotion Wellness consultants with Eastern Health.