A few hundred women and some men came together last Wednesday, Jan. 16, at the Sechelt Nation community hall, to discuss and collaborate on strategies and approaches to improve the quality of life for women and families here on the Sunshine Coast.
The morning started with a skit that provided us participants a powerful visual and an initial dialogue to some the challenges faced by younger parents, women, who are raising a child or children with limited supports here on our Sunshine Coast. Two of those challenges include adequate childcare and transportation for employment. The skit itself was highly effective as it clearly demonstrated the needs of a parent who can be greatly hindered by a limited bus service and no child care support. You could see through the skit what it would be like for a parent who was going it alone without an extended family to support the mother/parent and child. Entry-level employment falls greatly short in terms of wages to pay for rent, food, transportation and childcare.
Coming from the Sechelt Nation community where universal childcare was well implemented and has been for as long as I could remember, did not allow me to fully appreciate the real challenge of a single parent or even parents without extended family support. Watching the skit was eye opening and the story has remained strong inside me. This is how change can occur. I must take action now for ignorance is no longer an option or excuse. The lives of children depend on me. So I start with this article.
Fellow Sunshine Coast residents we need to step off the mill of busy and take a moment to take a closer look at our community and neighbors.
Someone needs your help, a favor, a ride, and a break.
It is said that knowledge is power. One of my on-line Ted Talk participants states that knowledge is only potential power and that it is the exercise of your acquired knowledge that is real power. This is why I am profoundly excited by The Progress Plan. Both Betty Baxter and Michelle Morgan, the co-researchers of this project, have through the collaborative interview process provided us a mechanism to take action — action to better ourselves through improving the quality of life of others and ourselves on the Coast.
Last week was a start of a comprehensive, community driven, collective action between community service providers, community residence and community leaders.
Kudos to Sechelt Coun. Alice Lutes who is present always at these grassroots community gatherings and I love you for it! It is important that our leaders stand with and for us in our endeavors and pursuits.
Collective purchasing power, car pooling, social networking, awareness and support for the Elders and members who experience some form of disability, support to service care providers, a pay it forward attitude and practice. The initial emphasis of the research is on women, but as one woman got up and spoke at the end of the forum, helping women is to help women, men and children.
Together we can achieve more!
Editor’s note: Candace’s column will run in Coast Reporter the second and fourth Friday of every month.