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Creating a better future for communities through research

2008 1st Quarter

Feb 01, 2008

To all our Centre friends and colleagues...

It is already shaping up to to be a busy and vibrant 2008 here at the Centre for Community Based Research. We are in the midst of our 25th anniversary, which began last September with the launch of our new website and new name. We continued the celebration with our Gala Alumni dinner this month, with more events to come. New staff have joined our team and many new projects have begun at the Centre in recent months. We are looking forward to a productive year of community research, knowledge sharing, and community development.

In the second volume of our new online newsletter, Community Basis, we introduce some of our new and ongoing projects and community events, and link you to some of the innovative work we are engaged in.

Gala Alumni Dinner and Dance

John Lord gives the Gala keynote address

On Saturday, January 26th, 2008, CCBR hosted a "Gala Alumni Dinner and Dance" to mark our 25th Anniversary as a community research organization. It was held at the beautiful Centre for International Governance Innovation in downtown Waterloo. The event was a huge success, and was attended by over 100 current and alumni staff, board members, community researchers, community members, and students. John Lord, Peggy Hutchison, and Harvey Savage, the original founders of the Centre, were present for the festivities. Joanna Ochocka, our executive director, and John Lord both gave speeches, providing an inspirational history of the Centre, its values, and the impact it has had on the community and all its partners, past and present. A night of great food, old friends, and a sense of community was capped off by a spirited dance party. Thanks to all who came and contributed to a wonderful celebration!

New Projects

CCBR has begun 2008 with a full complement of new and exciting projects. We have begun new work in the areas of cultural diversity and immigrant issues, health promotion for children and youth, community inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, evaluation capacity and support, and community development. Some examples are listed below.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Multiple Projects
January 2008 - December 2009.

Meeting with Boys & Girls Clubs National.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is a national organization with over 100 affiliate members all over the country.Boys and Girls Clubs provide a safe place for children of all ages to learn and grow, while having fun and making new friends. The clubs are locally driven and provide a range of practical, relevant and cost-effective programs in response to the unique needs of the children, youth and families in each community. CCBR is conducting multi-site national program program evaluations of four initiatives that focus on physical health and nutrition, science and technology, and self-esteem and empowerment.
Project Team: Jason Newberry, Shannon Cushing, and Suzanne Field

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Waterloo Region Pilot Evaluation
January 2008 - June 2008
The Ontario Ministry of Education and Waterloo Catholic District School board are implementing a pilot project designed to assess the prior learning of Spanish speaking newcomers to the Waterloo Region and provide additional educational support towards receiving a high school diploma. CCBR is evaluating the success and implementation of PLAR.
Project Team: Rich Janzen and Yasir Dildar

WaterlooRegion Vital Signs Evaluation
January 2008 - February 2008
Waterloo Region has developed a measurement tool called Vital Signs, which is an annual community check-up designed to measure the vitality, identify significant trends, and assign grades in 11 key areas critical to Waterloo Region's quality of life. CCBR is evaluating the satisfaction of stakeholders involved in the process and end result of Waterloo Region Vital Signs as a community-building tool, while exploring ways Vital Signs can be improved.
Project Team: Rich Janzen and Yasir Dildar

National Community Inclusion Initiative
September 2005 - March 2009
Community Inclusion (CI) project is a pan-Canadian initiative to enhance the citizenship and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. It has been developed and sustained by a unique national partnership between the Canadian Association for Community Living, Provincial-Territorial Associations, and People First of Canada. In the initial stages, CCBR worked with the CI provincial partners to review past practices of the project, current priorities, and community engagement information to help build a framework to guide the evaluation of systems-level change. Over the past year, CCBR visited all the national partners to develop logic models and measurement plans for each of their priority sectors. This has led to great insights into best and promising practices in systems change. CCBR is continuing this important work with the CI partners into 2009.
Project Team:Jason Newberry and Jaime Brown

Somali Muslim Hate Crime Summit
January 2008 - August 2008
CCBR is partnering with the Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke to organize and facilitate a Somali Muslim Hate Crime Summit that will raise the level of public awareness about hate crimes and their victims, and will build multi-stakeholder strategies to prevent future incidents.
Project Team: Sarah Marsh, Yasir Dildar, and Rich Janzen

Turtle House Evaluation
November 2007 - September 2008
CCBR is designing and implementing evaluation tools for a new program delivered by Turtle House Art / Play Centre ofToronto. Turtle House offers an innovative 12 week therapeutic arts program to child victims of trauma. Their program has been designed to meet the needs of children with refugee experience.
Project Team: Sarah Marsh, Joanna Ochocka, Rich Janzen, and Lindsay Buckingham

Development of Community Engagement Framework and Practical Measurement Strategies for the United Way
September 2007 - December 2007
CCBR assisted United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo & Area with the development of a revised community engagement framework and measurement plans to track the extent to which United Way Kitchener-Waterloo meets their engagement goals.
Project Team: Andrew Taylor and Sarah Marsh

Ensuring Ethics in Community Research

Participants at the Community Ethics Review

On January 31st, 2008, CCBR hosted a community meeting attended by over 45 representatives from local community organizations, social institutions, government, non-governmental funders, and academics. The purpose of this meeting was to determine if there is a local need for ethics review and protocol in community research and if so, how this can be accomplished in Waterloo Region. The meeting started with some background information about the current practices followed by small group discussions about successes and challenges that people presently face. A large group discussion that focused on developing a vision to find solutions ended the event. Theron Kramer and Paul Davock facilitated the meeting

A main finding from the meeting was a strong need for a collective response in the near term, as there was a sense of urgency regarding the issues discussed in the meeting. People were very vocal about the increasing amount of community based research being conducted in our Region (by both academics and others outside of academia). They would like to have a place or/and a group of people to hold all community based research initiatives accountable and transparent, so the quality and relevance of research is ensured. The meeting ended with a call for the working group and 12 people volunteered.

In the coming weeks, CCBR will report back to the community with a summary report and a date for the working group to meet and further shape the ideas. If you would like to learn more about the meeting proceedings and next steps, please contact Joanna Ochocka (

Public Launch of the UCP-SARnet Initiative

The University Community Partnership for Social Action Research (UCP-SARnet) is a web-based networking platform administered by Arizona State University and maintained by IGLOO ( It is a work-in-progress that is attempting to link students, faculty, and community practitioners locally and globally. The focus is on university-community partnerships for social action research (i.e., research that leads social innovation and action). CCBR is a co-founder of this platform and organizers of its launch in Waterloo on April 18th. (read more)

Evaluation Capacity Building for the United Way

Andrew Taylor speaks at the UW London launch

Over the past five years, CCBR has had the privilege of working closely with several United Way Branches in southwestern Ontario. United Ways are committed to a fostering a focus on community impact and on enhancing their own evaluation capacity and that of their partner organizations. CCBR has developed and delivered a series of workshops to funded agencies to provide the core skills and knowledge associated with evaluation planning and capacity, logic model building, and evaluation design and measurement. Alongside direct agency support, CCBR has also worked with several United Ways to plan and evaluate their overall vision and mandate.This included developing the evaluation framework for the Building Strong Neighbourhood Strategy of United Way Greater Toronto. We are also working with United Way of Peel Region, United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo and area, United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries, Elgin-St. Thomas United Way and United Way of London & Middlesex to build the capacity of their local agencies while helping them develop their overall framework for community impact. For more information on our initiatives with the United Way, please contact Andrew Taylor (

Current Project Team Members: Andrew Taylor, Shannon Cushing, Megan Nicholson, Sarah Marsh, and Jason Newberry

Staff News

Yasir Dildar & Sarah Marsh

We would like to welcome a few new faces to CCBR! Kate Busse is our new Administration Manager and Michelle Bissonnette is our new Administrative Coordinator. In a very short time, they have both taken on great leadership in helping CCBR run smoothly as we develop a wide variety of new projects, initiatives, and events. We also would like to welcome Sarah Marsh and Yasir Dildar who recently began as Centre Researchers. They are already in the thick of things with exciting new projects and developments, and we are lucky to have them.

Historically, CCBR has provided exciting opportunities for student practicum placements, in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Guelph. This semester we would like to welcome Lindsay Buckingham, Ashley Johnson, Zoe Le Fevre, and Karolina Korsak to the Centre, who are making valuable contributions to a range of projects. Krystal Kellington has also recently joined us on a project on a contract position. CCBR also regularly hires community researchers -- individuals who have experience "living the issue" -- and we currently employ over 10 people across an array of projects. Welcome to everyone!

Featured Project

Suzanne Field visits the radio station at Big Trout Lake

At any one time, CCBR is engaged in over 20 community based research projects, ranging from small, cost-effective grassroots studies to large, long-term provincial or national projects. Our project experience traverses a wide-range of content areas, including community mental health, health promotion, disability supports, cultural diversity, family support and health, immigrant skills, family violence and abuse prevention. Our team has the educational, professional and experiential background to support many different types of projects, including process and outcome evaluation frameworks, needs assessments, epidemiological studies, community capacity building initiatives, organizational sustainability, and skills-based workshops.

In each issue of Community Basis we profile a current project to give our readers an idea of the type of work we engage in here at CCBR. In this issue we profile the Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin Research Project. (read more)

Featured Article

Kristen Roderick in Kenya

In each volume of e-news, we present a research article, theoretical perspective, interview, editorial, or other written piece related to the work we do and the social issues we are concerned with. In "Stories from the Road", Kristen Roderick, a former Centre Researcher at CCBR, provides excerpts from her journal as she travelled across Kenya. Kristen was in Kenya conducting a CCBR evaluation of disability supports and services in the country. Kristen is currently with the United Way of Greater Toronto. (click here to read more)