The Seeker's Journal: November 2016 Edition

Submitted by Devon Kerslake on November 18, 2016 - 7:46am
Seekers Journal: November Edition
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Hi Colleague,

Welcome to your November Edition of the Seekers Journal

Wow, what an inspiring month. We currently have two incredible learning series underway that are generating a lot of discussion and activity in our learning community.

First, we are co-hosting a 3-part webinar series that explores "Neighbourhood-based Strategies that Reduce Poverty." We are thrilled to be working on this series together with our Tamarack Institute colleagues, Vibrant Communities Canada. Together, we are exploring the synergies that exist between our learning communities and forging new connections between our networks. So far, we have already learned about the Parkdale People's Economy Project in Toronto, Ontario. This week, on Thursday Nov 10th, we will learn about the incredible goal of raising 1,000 families out of poverty in Alberta. For more information about our third installment, profiling the Baltimore Approach, please see events section below.

Next, our 7-part IMPACT-Ability learning series, shared with Plan Canada, is well underway. In each webinar, Al Etmanski and Vickie Cammack discuss the myriad of ways that people with disabilities, and their families, use ingenuity and creativity to change the world. In part 1, the learning was kicked off by the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, followed by Jack Pearpoint and Lynda Kahn of Inclusion Press in Part 2. We cannot wait to hear the rest of the series and we welcome you to join us.

In this edition of Seekers Journal, I share stories from our community that really demonstrate how people are connecting with the theme of resilience and the power of working together. Please join me in savouring some great examples of ingenuity and inspiration from our Learning Community members and consider what elements might help advance your own work.

And, as always, I welcome you to share your stories!


The Case for Cultivating Community Resilience


By: Sylvia Cheuy

Tamarack’s Deepening Community Practice Area is a learning community for people interested in neighbourhood-based change and those eager to deepen their understanding of the unique role citizens can play in leading positive community change. It is an online space to meet, share resources and learn together.

The idea of community resilience has been emerging more often with members of the Deepening Community Practice Area. So, recently, I dove more deeply into this concept wanting to understand why it was capturing attention. I wrote the article, The Case for Cultivating Community Resilience, to share some of what I discovered. The article was released at Tamarack’s Community Change Institute in September and I’m happy to summarize highlights from that article here.

Continue Reading...

Learn from the Community


A Neighbourhood-Based Effort in Parkdale, Toronto

VC/DC Learning Series

Learn more



Learning from Minister Carla Qualtrough

IMPACT-Ability Learning Series

Learn more

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The Power of Finding a Container for Your Content

IMPACT-Ability Learning Series

Learn more



Radio on the Move!

Sharing Community Stories in Guelph and Beyond!

Read the Blog

Who is coming over to your house?

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When The Honourable John Godfrey’s home generator roared into action moments after a local power cut, he faced a couple of challenges. His wife’s embarrassment — they were the only ones on the block with a power source and in the middle of a summer day it was a noisy nuisance: should they turn it off?

On the other hand, Godfrey wondered, if the power cut lasted into the night, who should they invite to share their energy capacity with them? On Thursday 29th June, about 90 people gathered at the Institute of Public Administration Canada (IPAC) conference at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel to help Godfrey answer that second question. In the event of a power cut or other emergencies such as floods, heatwaves or ice storms, who is vulnerable, and what sort of help will they need? Climate Change is a threat multiplier that makes this adaptation work urgent—we are not ready to meet its challenges.

Read the full post

From Near and Far, Exploring What Community Is All About

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By: Kristine Kulp

It’s quite a trek from the Caribbean to Waterloo, Ontario, but last week a documentary film crew found its way here to capture some views of community-building. The crew from Sympactful Wellness Media, based in the Cayman Islands, came to Waterloo to talk to Paul Born, Tamarack President, about community-building. They filmed Paul in his office during the day, and in the evening they hung out with Paul and his neighbours as they enjoyed a potluck meal together and sat around a fire chatting with each other. The filmmakers are exploring the attributes of a strong community and how people benefit from social connection. But that wasn’t their original premise – early on, their theme took an unexpected turn.

Read the full post

New Forest in The City

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By: Derek Vanderwyk

To “plant a forest” is a task so large as to sound like ridicule.

Certainly, we often plant gardens, glens, and parks, but “planting forests” is more akin to “moving mountains”- that is, a synonym for the impossible. Yet, while walking through the site of the “New Forest in the City,” a recently planted stretch of land on the east side of Brantford, the truth in the name becomes apparent. The first steps off the asphalt are themselves surprising, yielding a long valley dense with saplings. The real shock, however, is crossing over the rearmost hill and finding anything but the end. More dizzying arrays of trees and massive folds in the landscape, each forming their own pocket worlds, render one happily lost. Before long, it sets in: The New Forest is indeed a real forest, in scale as much as function. For five years, the goodwill of each of Brantford’s sectors converged on the New Forest lot, turning its acres of damaged soil and shrubs into a real, living forest. What might have been hundreds of different teams contributing to hundreds of smaller efforts was instead focused on one staggering goal, with businesses, community groups, schools, charities, public organizations, and countless individuals all making the transformation possible.

Read the full piece

Upcoming Events


Evaluating Community Impact
November 15-17, 2016
Hamilton, Ontario

Mark Cabaj and Liz Weaver have received overwhelming praise for the success of this three-day gathering, and now it is back, but with updated curriculum and a new workshop format that will help you develop concrete elements of an evaluation strategy for your work back in your own community. The workshop will take place from November 15-17 in Hamilton, ON.
Do you manage programs that need to be evaluated? Are you part of a collaborative that is trying to understand how to evaluate your work? Are you a community development professional who wants to make the connection between learning and community change? If so, this workshop may be right for you.

Register Here


Deepening Community for Collective Impact
November 14 in Red Deer, AB & November 30 in Waterloo, ON

Join Paul Born, one of North America’s top Community Engagement leaders, for a one-day workshop in Red Deer, AB or Waterloo, ON to learn how to engage and deepen your community in order to build a common agenda for large scale change.

Learn More about the Red Deer Workshop

Learn More about the Waterloo Workshop


Upcoming Webinars 



The Ingenuity and Creativity of People with Disabilities and Their Families is a Force that Continues to Change the World

Speakers: A 7-Part Learning Series with Vickie Cammack and Al Etmanski
 October 24th, 2016 - February 27th, 2017 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST

Impact is a very popular word today. Change-makers, grassroots activists, politicians, funders and policy makers all seek impact. By impact they mean the ability to change laws and funding priorities as well as to shift attitudes, values and popular beliefs. In other words, change that lasts and makes a big difference.

Vickie Cammack and Al Etmanski have spent the last dozen years studying the field of social innovation to learn more about impact. They have discovered that people with disabilities and their families have a distinct talent for achieving impact. They have “impact-ability” because they are continuously inventing and creating their way out of adversity.

Register here!


Neighbourhood-Based Strategies that Reduce Poverty

The 1,000 Families Project
November 10,  2016 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST

United Way of the Alberta Capital Region has declared an audacious goal of raising 1,000 families out of poverty. How are they going to make this happen?

Join this webinar with Anne Smith, CEO of United Way of the Capital Alberta Region, and Anna Bubel, Consultant and Researcher on Community Development Corporation models, to explore the origins and evolution of the 1000 Families Initiative: naming the people, paradigms, programs, and partners that will make it happen...

Register here for Part 2: The 1000, Families Project

Register here for Part 3: The Baltimore Approach


Collective Impact: Diving Deeper Webinar Series

This capacity building series is jointly supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Tamarack Institute.
Nov 15, 2016 - Jan 24, 2017 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST

This five-part webinar series will help build your skills for doing Collective Impact work. We have a great line up of speakers who will dive deeper into developing your backbone, getting key people at the table, evaluating your efforts and talk about sustaining your Collective Impact efforts.

Register here!

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The Seekers Journal is brought to you by:

Tamarack Institute
University of Waterloo, Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, Conrad Grebel University College  
Waterloo, ON
N2L 3G6, Canada
Tel: 519-885-5155