ACDPN is a community organization and as such we pride ourselves on our ability to connect with members of the English-speaking Black community that we serve. In an effort to identify their priorities and to offer our support, a huge part of our work is focused on outreach. While we aim to empower them to access the public services and programs that they need, our main objective is to build a stronger and ever-growing community family.
Sunshine Seniors Club
The Seniors Club is our weekly club hosting members of the senior community from Côte des Neiges and beyond. This program grew out of our annual Seniors Summer Club, which was such a hit that we extended it to a weekly, year-round program by popular demand. Every week, rain, snow or shine our dedicated seniors gather to share a meal in good company and participate in a variety of activities such as karaoke, painting and game night! While fun is at the core of our club, we also have an emphasis on health. Throughout the year, we have invited guests that share their expertise to promote healthy living. Sessions include cooking classes to promote healthy eating and fitness classes such as socasize and yoga to encourage the seniors to remain active! We also aim to educate the seniors about all of the services available to them in their community by connecting them with health professionals that offer a range of programs. The Sunshine Seniors Club gives our elders an opportunity to acquire important information about their health all while having fun! Most importantly they are able to build relationships and to create an extended community family in a culturally adapted environment where they feel safe and comfortable.
It’s ok not to be ok: Youth Mental Health Initiative
This initiative offers a safe space for open discussion among black youth aged 18-30 to discuss mental health and actively dispel myths and stigma. These events are facilitated by youth with support from health care professionals. It’s ok not to be ok is designed to encourage students and youth to engage in a discussion out mental health and to share their experiences and perspectives. We take the opportunity during these events to disseminate information regarding mental illness with a focus on how to maintain positive mental health. Every session includes a segment on the signs and symptoms that present when someone is struggling, tips on how to offer support and available resources that youth can access if they need help for themselves or a loved one. In the end, we want to reduce the stigma and to equip the youth with the necessary information so that they feel empowered to better understand mental health and to seek help if they need to.
ACDPN launched an ongoing series of workshops titled “Community Connections”. This series seeks to empower the English-Speaking Black Community with useful information to empower families with the ability to advocate for themselves within public institutions which often operate solely in French. By facilitating an open discussion and an exchange of information between families in the English-speaking Black community and the Francophone service providers tasked with providing support, we hope to bridge the gaps of culture and language. In so doing, ACDPN also seeks to increase access to Health and Social Services by promoting a collaborative and adapted approach. Past participants included school administration and staff, community organizations, Youth protection and the SPVM. Most importantly, parents experiencing similar challenges navigating the public system are able to empower one another by exchanging information and forming a community network of support.
Black History Education
Increasing the awareness and appreciation of Black history and culture is a central theme at the heart of our mandate. By exposing the broader community, both young and old, to the beauty and richness that exists in Black culture, we hope to open their minds and their hearts. We believe that education is the key and through this program we partner with different organizations including schools to celebrate our culture and to recognize all of the contributions that Black Canadians have made in history and to Canadian society as a whole. Celebrating and respecting the diversity of our community is central to our efforts and education is a cornerstone piece.
Community Health Education Program
A central part of ACDPN’s mission is encouraging the development of healthy practices amongst the English Speaking Black Community. Community Health Education Program (CHEP) consists of information sessions held at least 4 times a year on pertinent health issues. During the session we disseminate information on various health topics and participants have an opportunity to ask questions and exchange with health professionals. The topics addressed cover an extensive range, from Autism to Strokes, High Blood Pressure, and much more. Some of the workshops are live video conferences and others are DVD sessions that are recorded and those allow for participants who are unable to make the live stream, to obtain the information and to go at their own pace. Upcoming sessions are posted on our website and Facebook pages so stay tuned! If you would like to take your health into your own hands and are interested in attending the Community Health Education Program, please contact us at info@acdpn .org or at 514-737-3213.