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ESCC Updates                      November 2014

Capacity building initiatives

The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council (ESCC) is working on a number of initiatives that will help us hone in on what our members need so we can provide supports to build capacity of member organizations.
At the September 19 ESCC Executive Director and Board Chair Meeting, participants had an opportunity to tell us what they thought ESCC could do to facilitate additional success in the seniors sector. Thank you to everyone who provided input. A range of items was suggested including advocacy, sustainability initiatives, mentorship and public awareness of seniors’ issues. The list of suggestions can be found at the end of this document which provides answers to questions brought up at the meeting. The ESCC Board of Directors and staff will review the comments from the meeting and determine how the comments align with ESCC’s 2014-2016 Strategic Plan and the short- to long-term objectives.

Members often request assistance with building board leadership and organizational capacity. ESCC is working with the City of Edmonton on a project that will identify and develop resources to support organizational and board development. The project will include advisory members from the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, Volunteer Edmonton and the Board Development Program of Alberta Culture. Toni Lashbrook, former manager of the Board Development Program, has been hired to determine needs of seniors organizations, develop a list of resources that address identified needs and create a mentoring program. ESCC is helping to shape the project and will play a role in the mentoring program. We will update progress on this project in future issues of ESCC Updates.
Members also highlight the need for ESCC to facilitate connections among members. ESCC currently facilitates networks of programmers and outreach workers and in 2015 will start a network for executive directors of member agencies to encourage resource sharing and peer support.
We encourage ESCC members to share what would be helpful to build capacity in your organization by contacting Sheila Hallett, Executive Director of ESCC at

Seasonal Conversation Café

The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council is hosting our seasonal conversation café on December 1.
We invite you to join us to connect with stakeholders in the seniors sector and learn about the great things happening in Edmonton for seniors. During the sector showcase you’ll have an opportunity to hear presentations by many ESCC members about their programs, services and initiatives which are enhancing the lives of Edmonton seniors. We’ll end the event with a seasonal buffet and entertainment.
There are still a few spots left in the sector showcase for agencies which want to highlight their initiatives. This is your chance to share your accomplishments! Contact ESCC if you’re interested in leading a table discussion about your work as part of the sector showcase. We just need to know the topic and name of presenter.
Conversation Café and Seasonal Gathering
Monday, December 1, 2014
10 a.m. Conversation Café: Sector Showcase
12 p.m. Lunch with entertainment to follow
Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre, 11050 – 90 Street NW

Please let us know by noon on November 25 if you will be attending by calling 780-423-5635 or emailing Katie at

ESCC membership renewals

Membership renewal requests will be sent to ESCC members in late November and we want to take a moment to tell you about some changes to our membership structure and share with you some comments we’ve received which illustrate the value of joining the ESCC.

Membership categories
Beginning with the 2015 membership year (January 1 to December 31, 2015), three categories of membership are available.

ESCC membership categories

Senior-serving organizations are charities or not-for-profit organizations that provide social and recreational programs and/or social support services for Edmonton’s aging population.
Senior-supporting organizations are organizations that have an interest in the delivery of services to seniors.
Members at large are individuals or honorary appointees that have an interest in the delivery of supports and services to seniors.
The membership fee for all three categories is $50.

Benefits of membership
At a recent meeting, executive directors and board chairs from ESCC member organizations shared with us the impact membership in ESCC has on their organization and their members.
Many appreciate the opportunities to network and share knowledge with others in the seniors sector. One member commented that “conversation cafes have been helpful to meet other members and to increase capacity in governance roles.”
As a backbone organization, ESCC facilitates collaboration among stakeholders in the seniors sector to enhance coordination of services for seniors and many members highlight this as a key benefit of membership. The ESCC “provides venues and opportunity to safely explore collaboration and break down silos” says one member. Another member commented how the outreach project has had a “trickle-down effect which benefits members through a more consistent approach to outreach services”.
ESCC’s efforts to share news, events, training opportunities and resources for the seniors sector through our newsletters and other communications vehicles was also mentioned as being a great value to members.
Thank you to all our current members. Your support helps us to make the seniors sector stronger. Organizations interested in joining the ESCC will find more information on our membership page. If you have any questions about ESCC membership contact Sheila Hallett at

Volunteers giving seniors a LIFT

LIFT Drive Happiness made its public debut on October 15 with a ceremony recognizing volunteer drivers from each of the three partner organizations. The event was an opportunity to recognize the contributions of volunteer drivers while introducing the service publically for the first time.
At the launch event the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) announced that they would cover the costs of driver's abstracts for volunteer drivers all over Alberta, including LIFT volunteers. AMA’s support will help volunteer driving organizations meet the needs of seniors in their communities. 
The LIFT public launch also kicked off the start of a volunteer recruitment campaign. Although the launch event garnered a lot of media coverage, the appeal for volunteers has resulted in more inquiries from potential users of the service than from potential volunteers.
The volume of requests handled by LIFT highlights the need for assisted transportation services for seniors and it also illustrates the need for volunteers. So far in 2014, LIFT has provided 14,599 rides to Edmonton seniors but 566 requests couldn’t be met because there were no drivers available. The LIFT partners have been able to do amazing work with only approximately 120 volunteer drivers.
You can help by spreading the word to potential volunteers. We can provide articles and images for newsletters and posters to display at your organization. LIFT representatives are also available to conduct presentations and attend information events. Check out, and Twitter @LIFTDriveHappy for more information.
LIFT is a collaborative partnership between three Edmonton non-profit volunteer driving organizations: Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association, Seniors Assisted Transportation Society of Greater Edmonton, and Society of Seniors Caring about Seniors. Facilitation assistance is provided by a staff member of ESCC and a member of the City of Edmonton Seniors Team.

Outreach project wraps up

We were pleased to publish the Outreach Worker Toolkit in October and provide an orientation session using the toolkit for outreach workers. The toolkit includes a manual, interview guide and resource list that can assist in providing services to isolated and at-risk seniors within Edmonton. In addition to a description of the background of the project and of outreach services, the manual includes a detailed assessment form, tools and templates that can be used as needed.
The publication of the toolkit wraps up the ESCC Outreach Project. Much has been accomplished over the course of the project—stronger relationships have been forged through the collaboration between outreach workers and other senior serving organizations like Home Care, Mental Health and Addictions, 211 and the immigrant and refugee serving sector; the issue of isolation/at-risk was explored; risk factors were identified; and the work of ‘finding’ the isolated continues through the work of a short-term project at Sage.
ESCC has created an online wiki which will allow outreach workers to share resources and discuss relevant issues with their colleagues. The wiki will be demonstrated at the regular Interagency meeting in November. The wiki will support the evolution of the resource list and will also identify areas that may require additional work.
The Outreach Worker Toolkit is a working document and ESCC will assume the responsibility for annual revisions to the materials to allow for the inclusion of new resources and tools. We will call an annual meeting to address the toolkit and executive directors can bring forward ideas from their agencies for revisions and additions and discuss items from the wiki that would require more collaborative work.
Thanks to all who were involved in the Outreach Project!
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council
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