2020 brought challenging times with the COVID-19 global pandemic. We have strived to keep you apprised of important legal, legislative and policy changes and provided numerous communication gatherings, and communication releases (50 to be exact).
You might dismiss all the strangeness we have felt in the past year, like face masks, social distancing and the nightly parade of vivid dreams about your staff, outbreaks and when you last saw your parents or grandchildren. This year has been hard, and for many of you, for all sorts of reasons, excruciating.
March 2020 changed our vocabulary, we learned about “flattening the curve”, social distancing, viruses, PPE, staying home... and yes, our favorite ZOOM!
On May 25 George Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota and by early June systemic racism and protesting became an added factor. Something we all need to ponder and assess our systems about.
Summer brought counts starting to drop, restrictions began to be relaxed and outside became a great place to have a few dates. Our new words were social bubbles. Then September and school decisions came along – in person or stay at home? and then the second wave started to slither in. More restrictions, US election, and then Christmas – to visit or not to visit! Then lockdown again over the holidays.
2021 Still going- and vaccinations beginning to roll out. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? How about variants? Are we seeing a third wave?
A huge congratulations to all of you. You have worked extremely hard to keep your staff, your families, and the young people you serve safe and really have an incredible
Through all of that, ALIGN has been here to help keep communication clear and ongoing.
April may bring Spring showers and flowers, it also brings membership renewal. We appreciate everyone working with us and hope you will renew your memberships and encourage others to join. We are better together! Katie has sent out your renewal invoices, based on last years. If your agency has had decreases in funding or increases, please review the categories and ask her to adjust your invoice accordingly. If you find yourselves in a position where you just cannot afford your membership, please reach out to me – Rhondab@alignab.ca and we can talk about what is possible.
We are hoping that the work we have done and plan to do to support the Early Intervention and prevention part of the work will help us gather a few more members. We certainly want to encourage everyone to see the sector as a continuum of service – prevention to post intervention services.
In the next week you will see our request for you to complete the ALIGN survey. I will state up front, it is long, it is detailed, and it is going to take about an hour to complete. Likely more than one person will need to help fill it out. We highly recommend that you print it, fill it in on the paper and then have someone enter your responses once its complete. It has been over 5 years since we last did a member survey. In this case, we are trying to get some data that we can compare and ask some new relevant questions for the times.
The data we gather form the survey helps us in our advocacy activities both with the government staff and with the political activities we will see in the next year. We will have an accurate picture of the sector and the costs and types of services that are out there. Thank you in advance for help us out and completing it. We will send it out early in April and will give a month to complete it.
Government Relations (GRC)
Part of the data from the survey will be used by the GRC to develop messages moving forward as electoral campaigns begin later this year. Hopefully, you have seen the MLA 1-pager – which is a in infographic that captures some good information about the sector HERE, and we have also sent out a newsletter to all MLA’s HERE in the province to show them the type of work that ALIGN members do. We will update the ALIGN fact sheet once we have the information from the survey returned.
Recently, we offered 2 workshops on advocacy and meeting with your local MLA. The first one was attended by mostly Board members of various agencies, and the second by Executive directors of agencies. It’s never too late or too early to go and visit with your local politicians. You can write to them, call them up, have a Zoom meeting, and hopefully soon invite them to your office to tour a program or for you to go visit them. We have been consistent with our messages that:
- Keeping services in the community is important; and
- Agencies need to have sustainable funding
You can use these messages and tell a story about your agency and your community. See our ALIGN website under political toolkit for other resources, or if you want to talk about what you can do give me a call.
ALIGN will be hosting a virtual member meeting on April 29th from 9 – 11 AM. We encourage you to join us to see and hear our latest activities.