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Creating a better future for communities through research

2008 - 4th Quarter

Oct 01, 2008

To all our Centre friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the fourth edition of our "Community Basis" newsletter! This is one of our ways to communicate news and innovation in community based research locally, nationally, and internationally to our network, colleagues and friends.

We had a very busy summer at CCBR, even with people taking vacation to enjoy some time away. Since our last e-news communication we have been involved in many exciting new projects, community engagements, conferences, and travels within Canada and abroad. Along with some brief updates about what's new at the Centre, this issue of Community Basis will feature a selected project and two articles written by CCBR staff. The first article is from Centre Researcher Sarah Lord who reflects on her trip to northern Ontario for the Tikinagan project. The second featured article from Andrew Taylor and Rachel Fayter is called How Community Impact Happens. This piece examines experiences of our United Way partners in their attempts to measure the community impact of their work. But first, some news from our Centre...

Alex Troeger Receives CAMH Transforming Lives Award

Alex Troeger

On Thursday, May 8, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation presented the inaugural CAMH Transforming Lives Awards where seven extraordinary Canadians who have overcome the challenges associated with addiction and mental illness were honoured. Award recipients have either overcome the illnesses and used their experiences to help others; or they have contributed to advances in mental health and addictions care through science, advocacy or patronage.

The seven remarkable recipients shared their personal stories at an inspiring ceremony at the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel where more than 900 guests attended. Alex Troeger, a former community researcher and friend of CCBR was one of the seven award recipients. Below is his brief bio:

For 28 years, Alex Troeger experienced a harrowing journey with mental illness, which included a diagnosis of schizophrenia at age 22. Alex's journey with mental illness began at age 10 when he heard voices in his head. As time progressed, the voices came and went, but his overall concentration steadily worsened, and he had to take a six-month leave from work. With well-meaning but unprepared parents and no other significant support structure, Alex was thrust into a downward spiral to the world of homelessness. Things began to look up for Alex after he became a client of the Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health. He is passionate about giving back to his community and is now actively involved in volunteering for a variety of Waterloo-area and province-wide mental health groups.

For more details regarding this event click here.

Helmut Braun Scholarship

Helmut Braun (1958 - 2001)

The Helmut Braun memorial fund was established in 2001 by CCBR and Waterloo Regional Self Help in memory of Helmut Braun, a local social activist, community researcher and an advocate for the rights of people with mental health and other life struggles. The fund contributes to the cost of post-secondary education for a student pursuing studies in areas of social justice, peace and conflict resolution, community development, cross-cultural issues, and community research and social change.

We have received many excellent applications this year and we are happy to announce this year's winner, Gabriel Rodriguez. Gabriel is beginning his Master's in Public Health at the University of Waterloo. He is interested in the ways in which political, economic and societal factors impact a range of public health issues, such HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.

The award ceremony will take place at CCBR on October 17 at noon. All are welcome to attend. This is another opportunity for our community to come together and connect over a worthy cause and good food! For more information on the award, or to donate to the scholarship fund, please click here

Social Innovation Symposium, December 8th, 2008, at the Centre for International Governance Innovation

Please mark this important date in your calendar. Sponsored by the Centre for Community Based Research, Social Innovation Generation at the University of Waterloo, and Waterloo Region, this event will feature displays, panel discussions, and dialogue about how we can enhance social innovation and community change in Waterloo Region. Hear about research-inspired innovations from Waterloo Region and talk with leaders from outside the Region who will reflect with us about our community change work. (read more)

News from the Tikanagan Project

Fort Hope, a First Nation community in N. Ontario

In August, CCBR reached a major milestone in the three-year Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin Research Project. This project is studying an approach to child welfare designed and implemented by Tikinagan Child and Family Services on behalf of First Nations in Ontario's far north. An interim research report was completed and presented to the Chiefs of the First Nations served by Tikinagan. At this same meeting, Tikinagan received an award from the Atkinson Foundation for their groundbreaking work serving Ontario's youth. Please follow this link to review a copy of the latest newsletter for the research project. See here for coverage of the Chief's Assembly and the Atkinson Award in the Toronto Star.

New and Recent Projects

CCBR continues to manage over 30 community based research projects at any one time. A number of new projects were developed this summer, contributing to and enriching our diverse theme areas. Please see our project database for a full listing of projects. New projects are described below:

Supported Decision Making: Evaluation of Models, Tools, and Strategies
July 2008 - March 2009
In partnership with the Canadian Association for Community Living, this project is examining
usefulness, effectiveness and viability of models and tools to promote supported decision-making for people with intellectual disabilities. New tools and strategies will enhance self-determination and choice among people who may otherwise lack control over decisions regarding their own health, finances and legal issues.(Project Team: Jason Newberry and Sarah Lord)

Food for Life Evaluation
July 2008 - September 2008
Food for Life is a not-for-project organization that aims to better meet the food needs of low-income citizens, through the allocation of fresh food in Halton Region and Hamilton.
The purpose of this research and evaluation project was to: 1) understand the process by which Food for Life is collecting food from food retailers and redistributing it in low income housing complexes, 2) explore program outcomes, 3) identify challenges and successes, and 4) to create recommendations.(Project Team: Andrew Taylor, Sarah Lord, Sherry McGee)

Enhancing Local Immigrant Partnerships in Waterloo Region
September 2008 - September 2009
CCBR is the lead community facilitator to develop a local immigration partnership that will help immigrants and refugees to successfully settle and integrate in Waterloo Region. The objectives are to build a multi-stakeholder collaboration to improve coordination immigrant serving programs, improve labor market access of immigrants and refugees, and to raise awareness of related issues in Waterloo Region. (
Project Team: Theron Kramer, Rich Janzen, Yasir Dildar, Peggy Hasting-Weston)

Staff Updates

This summer was a busy one, with several people joining the CCBR team to provide their knowledge, skills and expertise in various research projects, while others are moving in new directions on to different jobs or returning to school. We have been fortunate to welcome many new excellent people to the CCBR family.


Sherry, Emily, and Alida

We would like to welcome five new researchers to CCBR and our research teams: Emily Christofides, Tanya Darisi, Peggy Hastings-Weston, Lawrence Martis, and Sherry McGee. They are all working in full force on a wide range of projects. Additionally, we would like to welcome Alida Abbott who is new staff at CCBR but also an employee of the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre. Alida is working as a program coordinator for the "Taking Mental Health Seriously in Cultural-linguistic Communities", which is a CURA demonstration project.


Another big change at CCBR for this coming Fall is that Rich Janzen, Research Director, is returning to graduate school. Rich is pursuing a PhD in

Joanna Ochocka and CCBR friends wish Rich good luck on his new adventure!
Community Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Rich graduated from the Master's program in Community Psychology at WLU 18 years ago and is now going back to get his doctoral degree. Although Rich will be in school full-time, he will remain working as a CCBR employee on a part-time basis. Congratulations Rich! Regretfully, Suzanne Field a centre researcher for 3 years has resigned from her position at CCBR to begin a new job in Toronto. Suzanne will be greatly missed and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Featured Project

At any one time, CCBR is engaged in over 30 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 applied research projects. These include process and outcome evaluations, needs assessments, community capacity building initiatives, organizational sustainability, and skills-based workshops.

In each issue of Community Basis we will 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 "BUS project", an examination of drug use in Waterloo Region. (read more)

Featured Articles

In each volume of e-news, we present research articles, theoretical perspectives, interviews, editorials, or other written pieces related to the work we do and the social issues we are concerned with. In this issue we have two articles.

First, Sarah Lord, a centre researcher, reflects on her trip to northern Ontario to work with Tikinagan Child & Family Services, an Aboriginal Child Welfare Agency. (read Sarah's article)

In How Community Impact Happens, Andrew Taylor and Rachel Fayter discuss some of the outcome evaluation work that CCBR has been involved with in collaboration with the United Ways of Peel and Waterloo Region, while highlighting the challenges that many non-profits face when attempting to measure the community impact of their work. (read Andrew and Rachel's article)