It's been over a month since I travelled up to Edmonton to listen in on ECMap's Spring Gathering. But now I'm finally starting to find the time to get caught up and post a few pictures here on my blog. If you have children, you'll want to know about what these guys are doing - so read on!
The intent of the research has been to provide families, service providers, educators, communities and policy makers with a picture of how young children in Alberta are doing, so that they can work together to support healthy development. The five years are up, and participants from all over Alberta, representing 91 "coalitions" (regional groups), attended the Spring Gathering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Coalitions received updated results for their communities. The results are based on data for 70,206 kindergarten-aged children in Alberta, gathered over a five-year period from 2009 to 2013.
Getting the Picture
Family friendly businesses: Coalitions in Hanna and Rimbey launched campaigns to persuade local businesses to serve families better by providing, for example, change tables in washrooms, access for strollers and a welcoming environment.
Community outreach: The Calgary North of McKnight coalition translated its Early Development Instrument results, as well as tips on early development, into Punjabi, Hindi, Farsi, French, English, Arabic and Urdu to serve the needs of a large immigrant population. The Vegreville coalition has set up a family mentoring program that pairs active, well-connected families with those that are less engaged or newcomers to help overcome their isolation and encourage them to get involved with the community.
Isn't this inspiring? You can find many more stories on the ECMap website here.
I especially liked the random sound bytes I heard, like the comment illustrated opposite. It just hits so close to home for me! If you read my post from a few months back entitled, "How the Playgroup Saved My Life," you'll know why!
As a GenSqueezer myself (helping aging parents while trying to work and raise a young family at the same time), it definitely resonates with me when I hear about new parents needing more resources!
How (he asks) will these children be set up to live fruitful, fulfilled lives, if they don't have the opportunity to learn from their parents about what families are like, what they do, how they work? New parents - mothers included - can and should be able to work, too, of course. But according to my grandfather - and GenSqueeze - the government could be doing a better job to make things easier for them. Here's what they suggest:
This is affordable. We can build a Better Deal by increasing spending on Canadians under age 45 by a small amount – $1k per person – raising government spending per young person from $12k to $13k. Spending per senior would remain around where it is at $45k/year."
Here's a snippet from the comic strip I drew for this year's Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, depicting my "super power" - being a multi-tasking mom! (Have I posted this whole comic strip anywhere yet? I can't remember. Maybe I'll put it at the end of this post!)
You can visit the GenSqueeze website and sign up to be part of their initiative. Paul Kershaw's message was pretty clear - the more Canadians who speak up about this, the more effective their message will be. You can join GenSqueeze here. I did!
And now I'm switching my focus to get ready for graphic recording at some upcoming talks hosted by Calgary's Chic Geek. One of the speakers is Mary Anne Moser of Beakerhead. I have a feeling Mary Anne and the Chic Geeks might like this comment from an ECMap participant (illustrated below)! Hope to see you at this next event, entitled "Fierce Conversations" - tickets are $25 and anyone can attend. It's happening tomorrow evening, Wednesday, June 25th, at The Commons, a really unique coworking facility in my own little hood, Ramsay (yes - Ramsay is the coolest). See you soon!