Tuesday April 22, 2014

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Flipping the calendar in a positive way

Cathie’s comments

Itís almost time to flip the calendar for another year. So whatís new on the Sunshine Coast as we sail into 2013?

Well if youíre reading this obviously the Mayan prophecy didnít come true or by some strange miracle the Coast was spared. Either way, itís a good time to look back at the year that was.

Some great things happened this year. Youth got a VOICE and I hope itís a loud one. As a director on the board of the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation and speaking only for myself I canít begin to say how gratifying it is to see the Vital Signs report produced by the Foundation acted upon. We absolutely need more young people with families to settle here. Their energy and contributions are amazing. And I hope the support the initial VOICE annual general meeting garnered from all ages on the Coast continues. Itís probably the best thing to happen here in many years.

In another positive experience we got to meet and hear about some incredible innovators in our community. Leading the charge on this front are organizations like the Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living (SCACL).

In the past weíve heard how this group put their collective heads together and devised an enlightened answer to a housing shortage for the developmentally challenged adults SCACL serves. Rather than beat their breasts in frustration at the lack of homes, SCACL instead built a complex where some of the housing is occupied their members and some of it has commercial occupancy. A giant win-win for a society thatís always deals with the twin challenges of not enough money and too much need.

And now if their latest project comes to fruition, there will be another example of their social entrepreneurship. This time it involves agriculture and more employment for the SCACL folks. Itís exciting and kudos to Glen McClughan, the executive director of the organization and to Debbie Mealia, the SCACL board chair. Theyíre both blessed with an enormous amount of compassion and common sense.

This year was the year when we finally got the message that many kids donít have enough to eat on the Sunshine Coast. Heather Gordon from the Sechelt Community School made an impassioned plea for more help with the Breakfast for Kids program. Like a bad nursery rhyme the cupboards were bare and the future for the program that kicks off each day with a nourishing breakfast was looking mighty dim. But a roundtable meeting with many stakeholders on the Coast soon got the ball rolling. And while many of us rued the need of such something so basic we soon realized that we could make a difference for individual children regardless of the reason they were hungry. The result is money in the coffers and a brand new endowment at the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation that will help to feed kids for many years to come.

There have been many challenges on the Coast this year most of which will still be with us in 2013. But just for today letís pause and give thanks for the many positive changes this year brought.

I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year. Thanks for your support in 2012 and all the best in 2013.



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