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Building Healthy Communities Starts with the People: A Staff Reflection

hc link staff

At HC Link, we’ve been honoured to have provided 2,974 services over our 9 years in operation. Today, we’d like to take the time to highlight some of the notable comments and reflections we’ve gathered from our staff and consultants. It has been our pleasure to serve Ontario communities and help them build healthier communities through our consulting services, webinars, resources, conferences and other learning activities. 

Our consultants come from a variety of backgrounds at the three member organizations that make up HC Link - Health Nexus, Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition and Parent Action on Drugs.

Making a difference at the local level, HC Link staff and consultants have been the shining stars working with communities to help set direction, build skills and inspire change. Please see below several reflections shared by our staff and consultants at HC Link.

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"A memorable moment in my 8 years with HC Link was the ‘Wise Crowds’ technique session that I co-facilitated during the HC Link conference in 2015. The technique was a fun approach to collective problem-solving. It enabled a group of people to engage with one another and uncover solutions to common challenges and problems in a fun way. This workshop was memorable because of the laughter that filled the venue and the number of requests that it generated for more information on the technique. These requests spurred a series of blogs on facilitation tools and techniques in the months following the conference. The participants truly felt informed and energized!”

Lisa Tolentino
Consultant, Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition

 

"I had the good fortune of working with HC Link on issues of resiliency, harm reduction, youth engagement, mental health, and a range of other topics related to healthy communities. I learned so much from my talented colleagues at PAD, Health Nexus, and OHCC, and from our passionate partners in Toronto and across Ontario. I witnessed firsthand the importance of relationships and community connection, and taking a strength-based approach. Thank you HC Link for taking a chance on a recent grad and giving me my first Canadian career experience!"

Andrea Zeelie-Varga
Communications Coordinator, Parent Action on Drugs

 

“A highlight for me was certainly building towards the Changing our Destiny: A Regional Gathering in Timiskaming. It started off by partnering with Timiskaming Best Start to do a webinar called ‘What we are doing in a good way: A cultural competency framework model’ that focused on Indigenous ways of knowing and working. Through the collaborative spirit of that partnership, it led to co-developing an event that focused on creating a vision of a community hub(s) in Timiskaming. 

What I loved about working for HC Link was the ability to take the time to listen and learn from our partners and from each other as HC Link consultants. In this example it culminated in a well-attended regional gathering in the middle of a snowstorm!”

Stephanie Massot
Consultant, Health Nexus

 

“In my extensive community work, both with OHCC and HC Link, I have seldom been as inspired as I was by the ‘Connecting through Stories’ gathering in Thunder Bay in March 2017. My role in organizing the event was to facilitate a collaborative planning committee, and attend to logistics and finances. The driving force of the event was the desire by the committee members to respond to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, by building student capacity for intercultural understanding, and by bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake a collaborative project as a contribution to the reconciliation process. This gathering engaged elementary school and college students, seniors, elders, artists, storytellers, social agencies and other community members in a creative process that combined sharing their stories with a collaborative weaving project. The result was a highly moving experience and a strong intercultural connection!”

Lorna McCue
Consultant & Executive Director, Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition

 

“The best part of HC Link is how we respond directly to the priorities of collaborating groups wherever they are at (in their process, and in the province). When communities who invite us in really take advantage of what we can offer, it is even more rewarding - like when the organizer of a francophone group we supported in Red Lake connected me with the local CCDC who then organized a “reflection and reboot” session for diverse volunteer-run groups. Because we were in lake country, I had fun crafting a fishing theme onto a reflection activity about rewards (fish) and challenges (weeds).”

Gillian Kranias
Consultant, Health Nexus

 

“For me, a ‘shining moment’ in HC Link’s history was the first Linking for Healthy Communities conference in 2011. The theme was Building from Within. I recall the nervous excitement of the staff team as we stuffed swag bags and triple-checked last minute logistics. Everyone was committed to making this first conference one to remember. John Ott was the featured presenter in that he did both the keynote address and several presentations throughout the conference. He had a tremendous impact on the participants – in part due to his vulnerability and openness when imparting his experiences building community and because of the framework of engagement he presented. The lessons I learned at that conference influences my approach to community engagement to this day.”

Dianne Coppola
Program Coordinator & Roster Consultant

 

Facilitation Technique: Fishes and Weeds
Clients reflect on having worked with HC Link

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