Mitzi Dean

Mitzi Dean

Sooke Region CHI turns to community

Community group seeks direction on public's needs and wants

On a hopeful sunny Friday, January 17 starting at noon, the Sooke Region Community Health Initiative met with a range of people from throughout the greater Sooke area. The objective of the meeting was to solicit input from the community to obtain input on needs and wants. This input would be used to help determine their future priorities.

The event was well attended, with close to 40 in the room, providing for broad range representation. Included were politicians (MLA John Horgan and mayor Wendal Milne), First Nations (from T’Sou-ke, Beecher Bay and Port Renfrew), community living resources people (hospice, community living, seniors’ housing and crisis centre), along with a range of representation from the Integrated Health Network. Friends of CHI — coined as CHI/CASA groupies by one person  — were also present, coming from throughout the region.

The event began with an introduction by Mitzi Dean, the Executive Director of the Pacific Centre Family Services Association, and was followed by a statement of purpose provided by Dr. Ellen Anderson.

The heart of Anderson’s message addressed the power of collaboration that was achieved when CHI was first conceptualized in 2002, Anderson noted that it was the start of some vey powerful collaboration.

“We really got everyone together at the same table,” she said, noting the overall benefit was that “we were smarter and had more influence when we worked together.”

The groups was then invited to circulate among the 10 tables, and engage in conversation. Topics included the program’s history and timeline, membership and strategic plan, volunteerism and shared resources, primary health care services, the mayor’s advisory panel, Sooke youth, the community foundation, food CHI, and integrated health

The learning and networking session ended with summaries. Much value was derived from the learning process and the networking, though the absence of youth at the event was noted. The average age of those present was probably over 50, with only one or two in the room in their early 20s.

The Sooke Region Community Health Initiative is the result of a recent amalgamation of the group formerly known as CHI and Sooke Co-operative Association of Service Agencies (CASA).

CHI meets monthly on the first Tuesday, from 9:30-11 a.m. alternating between two locations, the Sooke Child, Youth & Family Centre (2145 Townsend Rd) and the T’Sou-Ke Nation Health Office (Lazzar Road).

Email: sookeregionchi@yahoo.ca for more information.