The initial goal of the Cody Place Community Growth Sessions was to unite the neighborhood and surrounding area and provide an opportunity for education and relationship building. The Community Growth Sessions were initially intended to take place every 2nd Friday for the months of July and August. Live sessions were to include speakers covering the topics of, Physicial Fitness during Covid-19, Fire Safety and Medication Safety, with the Community Sessions will be geared towards all age groups with activities for children and seniors alike.
After submitting my application, I was contacted by the Nanaimo Foundation and informed that no grants would be provided for activities with in person gatherings. On that very phone call, I was asked if I would be able to pivot the project to meet this requirement. If there is one thing that we have all had to get used to since COVID-19 it is adapting! I knew that with the support of my neighbourhood we would be able to pivot and make something great, even if it was not in person.
Given that many of the young families are doing their best to limit screen time, and access to technology was not a barrier we wanted to introduce to our project, we opted to shift the sessions to three safety based community projects. We developed informational handouts for the projects and had different families in the community deliver them (socially distanced) door to door. We created an email address specifically for the project so people could reach out to participate and show support.
Our Medication Safety Project aimed to remove potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals from our neighborhood. We provided information as to the risks associated with keeping expired or unnecessary medications in the home and contacted our neighbourhood Central Drugs Pharmacy and confirmed that they would accept medication returns from everyone, regardless of whether they were a client of the pharmacy or not. They also agreed to provide sharps containers and naloxone kits and training to anyone who wanted one.
Our Road Safety Project aimed to make the road a safer place for everyone by providing “SLOW DOWN” signs for anyone who wanted one and our Fire Safety Project aimed to prepare each house for the checking of their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors by providing batteries for these devices.
These projects were of particular importance to our neighbourhood as we have many young children for whom medications and vehicles pose a major risk and we recently had natural gas installed down our street.
Overall, while we did not gather in person, the feedback and participation from the community was amazing. In total, 50 people participated in or benefited directly from the project. We hope to revisit in person sessions once safe to do so.
Thank you to the Nanaimo Foundation for providing the opportunity to engage our community.