Leading social recovery

One of the young leaders stepping up to be a champion of recovery in our community is Chantal Beaver. In addition to being Executive Director of The Hub Family Resource Centre and sitting on a number of boards, she is also Chair of the Social Recovery Task Force and the Early Years Coalition. Chantal was a guest on the IMPACT radio show earlier this spring when she reflected on what has changed and what has stayed the same after the fire.

Chantal Beaver e

“While the core of what I do and where I work and the reason that I am here is the same, how that is delivered is so different,” she said.

“Everything is measured in pre-fire and post-fire. We talk about children in the context of development, but also children in families in the context of recovery.”

There was a sense, even during evacuation, that being able to offer resources to parents was going to be very important. Several staff members of The Hub got training in disaster recovery parenting programming.

Her focus on early childhood and her determination and drive to see the community recover is quite personal.

“I have two small children and for me, ultimately, I want to make sure they have the best community possible to live in, to grow in and to make their home.”

Chantal is encouraged by what she has seen in the first year of recovery, in terms of seeing collective impact.

“As an early childhood education community in particular, and as a social profit community as a whole, it’s brought us so much closer together.”

She was part of a group of local community leaders who travelled to the Tamarack Institute’s conference on collective impact earlier this year, supported by the Suncor Energy Foundation.

“We went through this together and we were coming at it from very different viewpoints within the community of Fort McMurray,” she said. “We were all looking though the recovery lens. We had so many wonderful conversations about how we collectively impact this community.”

What is this term all about: collective impact? According to Chantel, it’s a pretty basic concept.

“Collective impact is coming together with one common purpose and having a benefit to the larger group while benefitting the individual organizations.”

In the case of the Social Recovery Task Force, a representative body that has been active since the early days of re-entry, collective impact is being achieved by making sure that all the sub-sectors are represented, informed, and heard.

“We know that recovery is not a six month process, it is going to take years,” she said. “All of those individuals matter, and every story matters, whether we lost our home or we went through the evacuation.”

To listen to complete IMPACT interview with Chantal please click here.

Author: Russell Thomas

​Russell is a marketing and communications professional who has spent 20 years in Wood Buffalo working with the OK Radio Group, Keyano College, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and now with The United Way of Fort McMurray. A regular blogger, Russell's writing can be seen online (www.middleagebulge.com) and in multiple publications. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses throughout the community. Married to Heather and "Papa" to Dylan and Ben, Russell is a passionate spokesperson for United Way.