Raising the Villages Mawiomi W’Jit Mijuwajijk

Raising the Villages
Mawiomi W’Jit Mijuwajijk
January Update 2018

The Early Years, Starting Strong – creating welcoming spaces to connect and belong.

Happy New Year from all of us at Raising the Villages! We hope that 2018 brings to some a new and fresh start, and to others a continuation of good things that had already began to take shape in 2017.  Our movement continues to build momentum, and we hope that you will enjoy learning more in this January update.
‘And now we welcome the new year.  Full of things that have never been.’
What’s new?
There is a changed venue for our Planning for Action summit in Port Hawkesbury on Wednesday, January, 24th.  Please make a note of this below.

Shared priorities that were raised when five Municipalities and five First Nations’ leaders came together in late November for the ‘2017 One Cape Breton:  Future Forward Leaders‘ summit were as follows:  out-migration, immigration, mental health, homelessness, and child poverty.  Raising the Villages is committed to reducing vulnerabilities in our communities.  The time for action is now.

What a fabulous year 2017 has been for all involved with Raising the Villages!  One of the largest achievements that our organizing team has had, was assisting to plan the nine ‘Welcoming our youngest citizens’ celebrations that were held across western Cape Breton in October and November.  These celebrations were such a great success because of all who came on board volunteering their time, energy and enthusiasm.  We would like to send a big thanks out to each of the individual organizers, and the many volunteers from across the island who ensured each ran smoothly, and of course – all of you who came out in large numbers to celebrate with us!

Please take a moment to learn more about these unique celebrations, and see the fun everyone had through the many photographs (such as the ones above) from across our local communities, at http://raisingthevillages.webs.com/gatherings.

This movement and the celebrations, are responding to the One Nova Scotia Coalition’s Collaborative Action Plan’s #1 priority The Early Years:  Starting Strong, and specifically the section ‘Community-Led Initiatives for Early Years, Welcoming our Youngest Children’ which you can read about on page 18 in their report at https://tinyurl.com/gpyz7qa.

It is so important that our diverse network of individuals, organizations, and business continue to work together across western Cape Breton to create the welcoming communities and spaces our children deserve.  Welcoming communities and spaces that are inclusive, nurturing, intergenerational, and that promote healthy development, play, and creativity.  Which leads us to…

An important re-scheduled date for your diary!

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, January, 24th, in the Bear Head room at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. This will be a full day event starting at 9:30 am.  Everyone is welcome, so please spread the word.  RSVP Christine Villneff at 902-258-3220, or by email Christine.villneff@nshealth.ca.

The past year has taken us on a journey of curiosity, learning and growth.  The Raising the Villages movement has informed itself of what is working, and what more is needed, thanks to a year of observation and engaging citizens in community conversations across western Cape Breton.  We look forward to sharing this data with you at our summit.  We have also developed a declaration to guide our collective actions.  We will use this knowledge and commitment to create the welcoming communities and spaces our children deserve to connect and belong from the very beginning of life.

Currently in our region, 1 in 3 children are entering the education system with vulnerabilities that can lead to increased lifetime risks for mental and physical health problems, addictions, low literacy, decreased employment opportunities, and poverty.  Our goal is to reduce this vulnerability to 1 in 10.

To accomplish this goal, we will all have to commit to a unified regional approach that supports families, advocates for the investment needed, and responds to the unique needs of children, families and communities across western Cape Breton.

It is time to be courageous!  A new and innovative approach is necessary in order to get ahead of problems, we must learn from past experiences to create a better future for our children and all in our communities.  With grace and determination, we can ensure every child has equity from the start, with a welcoming community to call home.  Through Raising the Villages, we are building the future our citizens deserve – right now. 

Please join us in ‘Raising the Villages’ – Mawiomi W’Jit Mijuwajijk!

Get in touch!
Questions?  Want to help in your community?  Please contact Councillor Jim Mustard at 902-295-0974, or on jim.mustard@invernesscounty.ca; or Christine Villneff at Christine.villneff@nshealth.ca, or on 902-258-3220.

New people are learning of Raising the Villages because of you!
Our movement is still relatively new but already has over 120 likes on Facebook, and some of our posts have had a reach of over 2,000 people!  Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated, so please continue to like and share our Facebook page (and posts) as often as possible at https://www.facebook.com/Raising-the-Villages-1117398191694209/.  You can also help others learn of about our movement by sharing our monthly email updates and the link to our website at raisingthevillages.webs.com/.

… our great thanks goes to:
We are able to hold our Planning for Action summit due to the generous funding received by Raising the Villages from local municipalities, the Canada 150 Community Fund, United Way Cape Breton, Wagmatcook First Nation, and the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage through the Diversity and Community Capacity Fund.  Thank you all so very much!

Warm Wishes,
Raising the Villages Organizing Team