At the 2016 year-end reflection breakfast, CAPRA members participated in an evaluation exercise called Most Significant Change. This is a unique type of evaluation, done by gathering stories, examining them for markers of significant change, and deciding as a group which stories represent the most meaningful change within the identified time period.
This was a very encouraging exercise, as we realized that there have been many important programs, events and activities contributing to poverty reduction in Central Alberta over this past year. Ultimately, though it was hard choosing, the group decided upon 5 stories as being most significant:
- Collaboration at the CAPRA Table
- Hope Mission’s Kids in Action/Youth in Action Programs
- United Way 211 Program
- Salvation Army Backpack Program
- Increased/Improved Housing Opportunities
This post focuses on story number one: Collaboration at the CAPRA Table.
As a collective impact alliance, collaboration is quite naturally the way things get done for CAPRA. Members are undertaking work in their field of specialty, but engaged in mutually reinforcing activities that move the needle on our common agenda, which is reducing poverty in Central Alberta.
Some 2016 examples that clearly show why collaboration at the CAPRA table rose to the top as the most significant change include:
- Books on the Bus: A collaboration of Red Deer & District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA), Cosmos, Red Deer Public Library and Red Deer Transit, this program “connects Red Deer Transit riders with free reading material to enjoy during their commute, on their lunch break or anytime. Books for all ages and reading abilities are available including children’s books, graphic novels and fiction and non-fiction for adults.” Riders may take books to read, share with family and friends, and then return them to the bus, or donate other books as desired. This program is the first of its kind in Alberta.
- Feed the 500: This innovative initiative, which rescued 800 kilos of food destined for the dumpster, was a collaborative initiative of the Red Deer College’s Cook Apprentice Program, The City of Red Deer and the Recycling Council of Alberta, and supported and promoted by CAPRA’s Food Security Action Committee. RDC apprenticing cooks used “scrap” food from restaurants and grocery stores to prepare borscht, curry chicken and potato hash, bread pudding with plum sauce and medley madness smoothies. Approximately 1,750 portions were served and there was no food left over.
- CAPRA of Delburne: In 2016, community members in Delburne decided to form a chapter of CAPRA to work on local poverty reduction initiatives, beginning with food security. Working together as a community, they:
- Started a community garden
- Launched a community kitchen
- Successfully advocated to Municipal Council for edible foliage to be planted throughout the community
- Began working toward a gift-card-for-food program to either supplement or replace the food bank
- Creating Financial Pathways: For the last few years, CAPRA has been advocating for changes to pay day lending legislation. In August of 2016, the Province enacted Bill 15: An Act to End Predatory Lending, which significantly limited the practices of pay day lenders in Alberta. While CAPRA was and is encouraged by this important step, people still need access to emergency credit, as well as access to financial literacy and financial empowerment support. As such, the CAPRA Financial Literacy Action Committee sought to collaborate with local experts in the financial sector to develop local alternatives to payday lending and services for the hard-to-bank. Also, in 2016, the Living Wage for Central Alberta communities was recalculated. Together, these two committees hosted an event called “Creating Financial Pathways”, to discuss how to implement the living wage in Red Deer, and to explore local financial empowerment. Read more about this event here
Again, these are just some of the great stories and examples of the collaboration that happens in and through CAPRA. Every time we meet, we see members connecting with each other and making plans to explore collaborative efforts.
We need your stories!
If you have successfully collaborated as a result of your presence at the CAPRA table, or if you have a story about reducing poverty in Central Alberta, we want to hear about it! Send your stories to info @ capovertyreduction . ca