Tuesday, June 28, 2011

AGM - Message from the Executive Director and President

Last night, we invited the community to join us as we took a look back over the 2010 year at our Annual General meeting. We are thrilled to report on an amazing year at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre.  We continued to focus on community impact and responding to emerging community needs.  We are offering new programs, finding new ways of interacting with people, and continuing to deliver the core services we have provided to the community for 39 years.

We are particularly proud of our partnerships and collaborations with community organizations. We have worked with determination to ensure that sexual and reproductive health is accepted as an integral part of human development across the lifespan.

Seniors A GOGO is a great example of how our collaborative model has created an environment for innovative and sustainable program development:

From the beginning of this work, we knew that sexuality and older adults was a topic few felt comfortable addressing. Seniors A GOGO tackled this challenge by developing and performing the "Viva Vintage Monologues", a series of stories that explore sexuality in a humorous, warm and thoughtful way. This led to very successful performances at public libraries, and other venues throughout Calgary.

We were less successful reaching seniors directly. Traditional taboos still leave many seniors feeling uncomfortable talking about sex and sexuality. We learned that the senior's community was not yet prepared to have open conversations about sexuality.

As with many of our programs, we took what we learned and created a professional development workshop. "Supporting Sexual Health with Seniors" is delivered to nursing and LPN students, as well as other professionals that regularly provide support to seniors as they transition in their lives.

We now have successful partnerships with the nursing schools at Bow Valley College, the UofC and MRU. Seniors facilities also began to recognize that, as the population was changing, staff would have to feel comfortable addressing sexuality issues. Training has taken place at some care facilities in Calgary and we look forward to more partnerships in 2011.

As this program moved into its second year, we set up "Seniors A GOGO Service Providers Collaborative". Professionals who work directly with older adults are helping to guide the next steps in our work with seniors, and advocate for the inclusion of sexual health within seniors care and support services.

Seniors A GOGO has been generously supported, but only with project funding. We knew this valuable work needed to be maintained and the demand for programs would increase. The Viva Vintage Monologues were made into digital stories to enable us to use them in future programs and training. In 2011, we will be selling a curriculum package for service providers that includes a DVD of the digital stories.

Members of the Seniors A GOGO theatre troupe have become agency volunteers and still perform for live audiences. We continue to offer ongoing training to students and professionals who work with older adults.

In 2011, we will begin advocacy work to ensure the sexual health rights of older adults are respected and that professionals understand their roles and responsibilities in this regard.

We have successfully adopted this model in many areas of our work. We know it is very important to first normalize sexuality for service providers and clients, and then develop appropriate programs that address their specific needs.

We are also dedicated to finding innovative ways to ensure our programs are sustainable. This has led us to develop social enterprise initiatives and to create an ambitious three year fund development plan. We are committed to seeking additional funding partners, and increasing our independent revenue, so that we continue our essential work long into the future.

Moving into our 40th year, we remain fiercely committed to building a society where sexuality is celebrated, diversity is embraced, reproductive choice is assured and sexual health is seen as an integral part of us from birth to old age. We remain unswervingly loyal to our vision and to continuing to find new ways of achieving our goals.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the staff, volunteers and community partners whose efforts led to the successes of 2010. To summarize this work, last year our 12 staff and 30 volunteers:

    - partnered with, and provided programs to the clients of, 65 organizations
    - presented at 11 conferences
    - attended 22 community events
    - participated in 18 community collaborations and committees
    - established 3 advisory committees


In total, we reached 42,343 Calgarians with programs, information and resources regarding healthy sexuality. As a result, all of these Calgarians are closer to achieving sexual well-being.

Thanks to our funders and donors for ensuring we have the resources necessary to complete our work. And, thank you to all of our community supporters who help the Calgary Sexual Health Centre thrive and remain a vibrant part of our community.