BeCommunity Newsletter

Fall Edition | December 22, 2021

BeConnected acknowledges and respects the traditional and unceded territories of the Lkwungen (Songhees), Xwsepsum (Esquimalt), 

WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Hul’qumi’numon (Cowichan), and K’ómoks (Comox) Nations on which we provide our services and supports.

Fall at BeConnected

What's New?

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Annual SOCKS Drive

This year we were able to donate 80 packages for our Annual SOCKS Donation Drive.

Thank you for all your contributions and for helping those in need this holiday season.

Packages from Victoria were donated to the Cool Aid Society and packages from the Duncan area were donated to the Warmalnd House Shelter.

Reconciliation Activities

Taking Steps Toward Truth and Reconciliation

Orange T-Shirt Day and our first Day of Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th has been introduced as a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. This day recognizes the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their families and sent to residential schools. It’s a time to come together to acknowledge the atrocities and ongoing legacy of residential schools, past and present experiences of colonialism, to honour Indigenous peoples, families and communities, and to listen with open ears to their stories.

We wore orange at BeConnected on September 30th to honour the survivors of residential schools, to remember the children who never returned home, to observe the residential school experience and its impact past and present, and as a small act demonstrating our commitment to decolonization and reconciliation.

Phyllis Webstad, who attended a residential school in British Columbia in the 1970s, is credited for starting Orange Shirt Day. Phyllis was initially excited to go to school and went shopping with her granny to pick out a new outfit for school; she chose a shiny orange shirt. That shirt was taken away from her when she arrived at school and was never returned to her. The slogan for Orange Shirt Day is “Every Child Matters.”

BSS Cultural Competency Committee (CCC) joins The Federation of Community Social Services' Reconciliation Book Club

Our CCC has committed to reading one book by Indigenous authors each month. By exploring Indigenous literature, we hope to find ways to honour truth and reconciliation for those who suffered from Canada's harmful history. This month we will dive into A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt.

Click here to learn more about this beautiful book and author.

Reconciliation Book Club - The Federation of Community Social Services of BC

Opening with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life on the Driftpile First Nation, Billy-Ray Belcourt delivers a searing account of Indigenous life that's part love letter, part rallying cry. With the lyricism and emotional power of his award-winning poetry, Belcourt cracks apart his history and shares it with us one fragment at a time.

Hot off the Press! BeConnected's Cultural Competency Committee is also reviewing the Calls to Action recommended by Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Committee, to learn and to see what actions we can take at BeConnected to decolonize our practice.

Read More

Trip to Haida Gwaii August 23rd-September 13, 2021

Carol Stocker's interview from her Trip up north


Where did you go:

We went to Haida Gwaii (left from Prince Rupert on a ferry for 9 hours) and visited Masset (old Town), population = 555 people

(Haida Gwaii is an archipelago located between 55–125 km off the northern Pacific coast of Canada. The islands are separated from the mainland to the east by the shallow Hecate Strait. Queen Charlotte Sound lies to the south, with Vancouver Island beyond).


Who did you go with: Donna Ashford, my home share provider


Who were you visiting: My brother Ralph and my Dad and many other family members


Participate in any special events while there:

·        Nieces birthday party

·        I am a part of the Raven clan on Haida Gwaii and I sang the raven song at the birthday party (the Raven clan was the first clan on Haida Gwaii)


How did being home make you feel: Happy! I really miss my family


What was the favourite part of your trip:

·        Driving a car on the beach

·        Seeing all of my family

·        Spending time with Donna in the hotel


Anything additionally you want the readers at home to know about your trip:  I know everyone in Haida Gwaii!

·        Donna expressed an extreme thankfulness to be able to share this experience with Carol and her family. Witnessing local people honouring family in the greatest of ways, by honour was life-changing.


Anything additionally you want the readers at home to know about Haida Gwaii…My niece is running for the Haida Nations Council, good luck!

Also, there is a documentary on Netflix called “Edge of the Knife” that is shot in Haida Gwaii and has many of my family members in it. Here is some information on the movie:

(In the 1800s, on the remote islands of Haida Gwaii off the west coast of British Columbia, two extended families reunite at their annual summer fishing camp. Soon conflict between a charismatic young nobleman, Adiits’ii, and his best friend Kwa, tears their interwoven families apart)

Recent Events

BC Lion's Game!!!

BeConnected’s Be Social Committee had a great time at the BC Lions game, staying overnight in a hotel, and shopping in Vancouver in October.

Halloween Fesivities

Don't we look festive this Halloween season!


Forrester House is ready for Scary Season

BSS Annual Friends and Family Lunch

Spending time with the people that make it all possible

The holidays are a time for warmth and giving, and for showing appreciation for those you care about. Our Holiday Friends and Family Lunch follows the same theme. We appreciate the opportunity to show how thankful we are for all the wonderful people we support and for the lovely folks that support them.

The Friends and Family Lunch creates a space for us to gather and catch up, share a delicious turkey lunch, and also a chance to get a quick word in with Santa before the holidays!

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2021 Appreciation Gala

Gathering with gratitude

This year we were fortunate enough to be able to get together to show our appreciation for employees and contractors who have provided support through the years.

The personnel in the photo have been with BeConnected for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years in service!  

2021 Recipients include:

5 Years

Flora Bamvunyaki

Lesley Thompson   

 Richard Clamp

Jeffrey Crone

Carlos Rodriguez

Cassie Connell

Jaz Young

Brian Simpson

10 Years

Claire Negrich    

Kris Haynes  

Tim Bakonyi  

Pete & Jen Ellison 

Ginger Prettie

Sandy Holland

Michelle Severn

Sakiko Kurashina

Connie Bleay

Evelyn Smith

15 Years

Jesse Mendoza

Fatima Bahadshah

Ronald Larsen

Stuart Worsley

20 Years

John Kelly

Dave Vernon

Susan Kay

30 Years

Corinne Desjardins

Jerry MacKinnon

Natasha Peljhan

Health and Wellness

Mental Health Services for BeConnected Employees

Resouces for refilling your cup

The following memo was distributed by the Joint Occupation Health and Safety Committee. BeConnected has onboarded LifeWorks, an online resource centre for mental health and wellness. We strongly encourage employees to take advantage of this free and confidential service.

Take care.

All personnel,

These have been trying times and without a doubt, everyone is exhausted from the nearly two years of the global pandemic. Now watching our sector suffer with staffing levels is another added level of stress compounding what is clearly a difficult year. We are here to say thank you to everyone for the commitment to persons supported through these very difficult times. With a critical staffing crisis, we are seeing more and more employees feeling exhausted, burnt out and seeking out support. Although as an organization, we wish we could comfort everyone with a potential end to these struggles we are concerned they will only get worse. We are here to support you all and we are in this together.

Please refer to our policy #4029 Availability of Counselling Services or below for details. Again, please do not hesitate to ask for help.

*BeConnected realizes that their employees’ health and wellness is vital to the success of the organization. Counselling services are available as part of the Employee Assistance Program provided through LifeWorks. These services are available to permanent BeConnected employees with benefits at all times.

The services can be accessed by phone at 1-866-331-6851 or online at

COVID-19 Updates

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Bort meeting

The BSS Outbreak Response Team met with Augustus Kops on September 20 for a webinar that reiterated the importance of proper PPE usage. Augustus shared near misses from other companies within our sector that avoided an outbreak by using proper mask coverage and frequent hand washing.

December 21st, 2021: As COVID-19 infections are increasing we are ramping up our infection control measures at all program locations. As a reminder for everyone:

·        Visitors to BeConnected program locations must provide proof of full vaccination prior to entry;

·        If you are experiencing symptoms of illness, please do not visit until you are better;

·        Upon entry into BeConnected homes, everyone (persons residing, staff, visitors) must immediately wash their hands at the identified wash station; everyone is encouraged to sanitize their hands regularly;

·        Deep cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces are being completed regularly;

·        Masks must be worn by all staff and visitors in BeConnected homes and vehicles

·        Everyone is asked to be following BC Public Health Officer’s orders and recommendations at all times – at work and at home.

Keeping up with Sector Changes

PHO for CLBC service providers regarding COVID-19 vaccines

The CLBC policy requires CLBC funded service providers and their staff to comply with the PHO Order to prove they are fully vaccinated or have an exemption before January 14, 2022. The CLBC policy also provides guidance for any required workforce adjustments.

The CLBC policy is posted in a new “PHO Vaccination Order” section of our website that also includes a FAQ (frequently asked questions) document that will be kept updated and an email address for any additional questions. You can find that section here.

Link to CLBC Policy

Kristen Kay

Director, Programs and Service Quality

BeConnected Support Services

Head Office

240-4243 Glanford Ave | Victoria, BC | V8X 2J5

Ph: 250.727.3891 | Fx: 250.721.2571 |

Duncan Office

202-321 Festubert St | Duncan, BC | V9L 3T1

Ph: 250.748.3858 | Fx: 250.748.3859

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