The Counselling Foundation of Canada is pleased to provide you with an update on some of our activities in the recent months. These include: (a) grants awarded at our May and September Board meetings; (b) the three-part webinar series we offered to highlight social enterprise ventures that promote employment skills while providing employment opportunities; (c) the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling’s (CERIC) National Challenge to Promote Career Development, an online competition sponsored by the Foundation to celebrate CERIC’s 10th anniversary in 2014; and (d) new content added to the Resources section of our website.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors approved ten grants at its last two meetings:
Dad Central/Papa Centrale Ontario works to provide relevant and well-crafted information for fathers and for individuals, agencies, and programs working with fathers. A grant was made to develop and pilot content and activities that community agencies could implement to increase the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children from early childhood to early adulthood. Embedded within this material will be career development information, relevant both for the fathers themselves and for them to provide better career information and advice to their children.
The FCJ Refugee Centre helps uprooted people overcome the challenges of rebuilding their lives in Canadian society. Funding will allow for the launch of a new program that will offer accessible, flexible and community-centric learning opportunities for refugee and non-status youth as they await a decision about their immigration status.
FoodShare Toronto is a non-profit community organization whose vision is Good Healthy Food for All. This grant will allow the organization to develop and share its School Grown Social Enterprise – a replicable, revenue generating model of schoolyard urban agriculture which promises to provide meaningful employment and school credit opportunities for high school students.
Furniture Bank is a Toronto organization that takes gently used furniture from individuals and organizations and gives it out for free to newcomers to Canada, women and children coming out of abusive situations and the formerly homeless. Support was provided to allow the organization to document its organizational processes and procedures—including its Leg Up Employment Program—in preparation for scaling.
The Hospitality Workers Training Centre (HWTC) is an incorporated independent non-profit organization initiated by UNITE HERE Local 75 dedicated to facilitating career pathways in the hospitality industry. Funding will allow for the delivery of an initiative for job-seekers to (a) access entry level positions in the hospitality industry, and (b) create career pathways for incumbent workers who typically have experienced limited career mobility.
The International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD) is a non-governmental organization affiliated with Royal Roads University focused on social innovation with and for children. ICCRD received funding to institute the laddering system (badges to certificates to post-secondary degrees) it developed with Aboriginal groups to enhance the skills of community members and provide culturally appropriate training modules that can be accessed in the community.
Kocihta Charity is a new charitable organization created by the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, a social enterprise that links employers to Aboriginal peoples for workplace inclusion. The grant will support the launch of several programs designed to grow the career potential of Indigenous people in Canada and get them ready for the workplace.
Parry Sound High School serves students from the Town of Parry Sound and surrounding areas in Ontario. Its student body has significant proportion of Aboriginal learners. A grant was approved to support a program designed to curb dropout rates among adolescent girls while teaching them strategies to overcome social and emotional challenges associated with regular school attendance and mental health issues.
The University of Victoria serves 20,000 students annually, including an increasing Aboriginal population. The university will use its funding to offer an initiative for Indigenous Community Counsellors who are bridging western counselling methodology and traditional Indigenous helping approaches.
York University’s Asperger and Autism Spectral Disorders (ASD) Program engages Masters of Psychology candidates as mentors to students with Asperger’s and ASDs. A grant was made to allow the program to continue supporting students while offering a new summer employment module.
The Foundation offered a three-part webinar series in July about social enterprise ventures that promote employability. This series, designed in collaboration with Enterprising Non-Profits (enp), provides (a) an introduction to social enterprise with a focus on those that promote employment training and employment opportunities, (b) spotlights three case studies of successful employment training social enterprises from across Canada, and (c) showcases the support that exists for organizations seeking to explore how they could potentially launch a social enterprise. The entire series is available for download in the Resources section of our website.
The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014. In recognition of this milestone, the Foundation provided funding to CERIC to undertake an online “crowd-sourcing” competition to increase the recognition of the value of career counselling as well as career development professionals in Canada. The National Challenge to Promote Career Development two month Entry Period gathered 80 ideas, with entries coming from coast to coast to coast! The shortlist of the 10 Finalists chosen by a panel of judges from Canada’s career development field was announced online on November 4, 2013, which coincides with the launch of Canada Career Week. The career development community is able to vote online for their favourite ideas until November 29, 2013. The three Entries that receive the most online votes will each receive $5,000 and a free registration to attend the Cannexus14 National Career Development Conference in Ottawa from January 20-22, 2014!
We have added the following content to the Manuals & Guide section of our website so that third-sector stakeholders can learn from the knowledge derived from the grants we have made:
St. Francis Xavier University implemented a Peer Mentorship Program as it recognized a need for a university-offered resource to provide support to the student body since the municipality where the university is located is oftentimes hard pressed to provide adequate counselling services. The Peer Mentorship Program Guide outlines the cornerstones of this initiative: (a) program description and activity timelines, (b) peer mentor training, (c) placement process, (d) support for mentors, (d) infrastructure requirements, and (e) templates of various administrative documents.
The University of Western Ontario (now Western University) designed the Building Bridges: Women’s Links to Learning initiative as an alternative education program for women who have experienced abuse. The ultimate goal of the program is to enable women to access stable employment, achieve financial independence and participate fully in our community. The Bridges Project Manual provides an overview of the need for the program, an exploration of learning and teaching in the context of violence, as well as how to set goals and a transition plan. It likewise contains the various program templates.
I hope you have found this news interesting. A new Foundation “Happenings” email will be circulated every five months or so containing similar content. We hope that this information will provide greater clarity and transparency about the undertakings of our foundation while showcasing the important work of those we support.
All the best,
Bruce G. Lawson