The St. Paul organization Champions for Change hosted their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, March 15th. The event served as a way for the group to go over 2015 and evaluate what they hope to achieve in 2016. President of Champions for Change, Penny Fox, says the overall goal of the non-profit group is to better the community.
Champions for Change sprung from a provincial project, Health Alberta Communities, explains Fox, “back in 2003, there was a project [in St. Paul], called ‘Healthy Alberta Communities’. It was through Alberta Health Services, and the University of Alberta. They picked pilot communities, throughout Alberta, that high incidences of chronic illness.” The study looked into ways to prevent chronic illness in communities. Just as the funding was ending the study held a community consultation and asked where St. Paul would like to see the focus. Fox explains, “at that time four things came out of that [consultation]; a vibrant downtown core, more seniors’ housing & options, children & youth, and maintaining the healthy living piece.” These became the four pillars of Champions for Change.
Through that community consultation meeting, Champions for Change was formed, with the four pillars. “Champions was formed, we still have three of the original members on our board and they looked at those four pillars and said, ‘what can we do?’.” With the overall theme of making the community better, the group has moved forward with the pillars as umbrellas for other initiatives to fall under.
For example in 2015, Champions for Change began erecting art panels that depict St. Paul’s history throughout the downtown area, as well as, on walking trails. There will be more panels erected in 2016 and the organization says the idea is that the panels project will never end, with more panels put up throughout the years.
Another example of a project under one of the four pillars is the Youth Council, which would fall under the pillar of children and youth. The Youth Council will sit in front of St. Paul Town Council at April 11th regular meeting. Town Council is said to be excited to hear from the youth and encourage youth involvement in the community.
Champions for Change is always looking for fresh ideas and more community involvement. If you would like to become a part of the committee or to volunteer for specific events, contact Penny Fox at 780-645-5782 or stop in at the Community Futures building. Champions for Change is online at championsforchange.ca