Monday, December 13, 2010

Have You Seen?

I am so happy to share this 6' 3" banner with the world.  Why?  Well, first of all it is bilingual.  There are a lot of people in our community who face barriers everyday.  Especially barriers to accessing and receiving primary care.  One of those barriers includes language.  This banner is made specifically for La Clé d'la Baie and it will travel to all of their scheduled events during 2011 and we are proud to have this bilingual banner on display!  A second reason why I am happy to share this banner is because it is consistent with CSC CHIGAMIK CHC's marketing/advertising so far.  It is important to keep sharing the same message(s) with your target audience because eventually it will become memorable.  And finally, I am proud to share this banner because we have used the photo of an actual staff member: Nicole Ayotte who was the first Nurse Practitioner hired.  This photo is 100 times better than any stock photo available.  This banner is representative of the warm, welcoming feeling our clients and program participants will experience at CHIGAMIK.  Midland is so fortunate to be the host of such an important and amazing nonprofit organization that will help to build a healthy, vibrant community!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tweet Tweet!

Just this past week, I sat down at my desk and created a Twitter account for CSC CHIGAMIK CHC.  Now, I definitely consider myself pretty technically-savvy and up-to-date on the whole social media scene.  However, using Twitter to compliment CHIGAMIK's existing communication plan, branding efforts and website was a new idea for me to embrace.  And to tell you the truth, it is FUN, EXCITING and a great example to prove my abilities in creating public awareness, inspiring public interest and maintaining public support for such an important nonprofit organization!

Have you ever looked at a "Tweet" before?  Well, I certainly have but always found the lingo to be rather difficult to read and confusing to understand.  Here are a few simple things to remember when looking at a tweet:

1.  Tweet - is the message you share on Twitter (aka "post")

2.  Retweet - is when you share someone else's post (or tweet) with your network.  You can tell if someone's post is a retweet when you see RT@Username.  I retweeted the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce's post (and edited it to add my own beginning sentence/response "Thanks 4 intro!"
  • Thanks 4 intro! RT @sgbchamber: OUR NEW MEMBERS - Introducing Gregor Homes, CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre & Dockwerks.    
3.  @Username - is a link to an individuals Twitter account.  When you click on it, you will be directed to their Twitter page.  It is also a way to communicate directly with an individual.  For example, I could tweet the following to the SGBCC:
  • @sgbchamber Last night's Business After 5 was fantastic!  We can't w8 2 b featured on your website! 
4.  Hashtag (#) - is basically a keyword.  Let's say you include "#Hashtag" in your post, your message about that topic will show up in a search for that keyword.  Here's CHIGAMIK's first tweet where I used "Midland", "Simcoe", "GeorgianBay" and "CHC" as hashtags:
There seems to be a real art to tweeting successfully.  What matters is your real-time conversation, right here, right now.  No one really cares too much about your tweets from twenty days ago; they are old news.  What's important is to keep current, keep your audience engaged and make sure your Twitter posts add a level of communication that is unique from your other communication tools.

**Make sure to check out CSC CHIGAMIK CHC's new Twitter page at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Bilingual Website Launched for CSC CHIGAMIK CHC!

“Every One Matters./Chaque personne compte.”  That’s the message at, the bilingual website for the centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre (CSC CHIGAMIK CHC).  Visitors can choose to view the site in English and French and will definitely experience a warm, welcoming feeling at The Peoples’ Place.  The purpose of the website is to connect clients, community members, Board members and staff at the new Community Health Centre.  Health alerts, programs and services, news releases and job postings will be shared with the public through the site.  More importantly, the website communicates the CHIGAMIK experience where every one really does matter.

From left to right: Amanda Olsheskie (Communications), Brian George (Aboriginal Health Promoter/Traditional Healing Coordinator), Nicole Ayotte (Nurse Practitioner), David Jeffery (Executive Director), Jeff Graham (Community Health Worker), Mélissa Constantin (Administrative Assistant) and Dawn Nancekievill (Nurse Practitioner). 

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Health Care Team Leads Community Change

There is a new and different kind of health care coming to town - one that works to keep people well and unites local partners to develop healthy communities.  The Centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre (CSC CHIGAMIK CHC) is one of 72 Community Health Centre's across Ontario that overcomes barriers to primary health care, making sure that unique community needs are met. 

Leading CSC CHIGAMIK CHC is David Jeffery, Executive Director, who is embracing his opportunity to help shape the future of an important organization.  With almost twenty years of experience in community change initiatives, Jeffery is dedicated to making CSC CHIGAMIK CHC a key determinant of community health.  "I believe in a society where prevention and education are the norm, where access to information and training is equitable, where reliance on specialists is minimized and where access to quality of life opportunities are real and available", says Jeffery.  "I have a vision for change, a tolerance for the chaos the change can bring and a desire for a vibrant, healthy community".

CHIGAMIK (CHEE gah mick) means "The Peoples' Place" where individuals and families are welcomed into a culture of caring.  The CSC CHIGAMIK CHC will deliver primary health care services within the Christian Island, Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny geographic areas.  More impressively, it will also serve Francophone, Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit individuals and families within the broader region of North Simcoe Muskoka.

With an anticipated opening in the late fall of 2010, Jeffery has started forming the new health care team that will create this community change.  The center will be located at 845 King Street and will include physicians, nurse practitioners, a registered nurse, registered practical nurses, therapists, health promoters, a dietitian, a community health worker, a medical secretary as well as various management and administrative staff.  All professionals at CSC CHIGAMIK CHC are salaried employees, rather than fee-for-service (OHIP) providers.

Nicole Ayotte has been hired as a Nurse Practitioner and she has more than twelve years of experience to offer new clients.  "My bilingualism, my excitement with being part of a new CHC and my knowledge of our health care system is precisely what I bring to CSC CHIGAMIK CHC", says Ayotte.  As the site for the new health center is prepared, Nicole has been busy looking to develop partnerships with organizations throughout the community.

Melissa Maurice, Administrative Assistant, from a francophone heritage, shares that they want to develop strong relationships with the Francophone community.  "We are proud to create a welcoming environment for everyone by removing any potential language barriers".

With a staff that represents three cultures and speaks at least two languages, CSC CHIGAMIK CHC is well on its way of bringing the Board of Directors' dream to life.  "Our dream is to uphold every ones right to health care and break every barrier that we can.  Our dream is to have a francophone family walk into our center and hear French in the air.  Our dream is to have an aboriginal family walk into our center and feel their culture all around them", says Jeffery.

The Community Health Centre is a not-for-profit health care service funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, through the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network.  There is no charge for services and the budget is governed by the Community Health Centre's Board of Directors.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Social Squeeze

Social Media.  This seems to be idea that nonprofits think about in order to take their organization to the next level, giving them a competitive edge.  But for you to achieve your goals, you need to be strategic about what social media you use and you need to be focused on what you want to get out of it.  The idea of social media is great but it can soon turn into a billion little details to deal with; all of which add to your full plate of things to do as it is.  Some questions you might have include:

  • Do you create a Facebook page or group? 
  • Do you create a Twitter account?
  • Do you get involved with LinkedIn?
  • Who will manage your social media?
  • What do you do if you are a bilingual organization?
  • Do you involve your staff to participate in your online networking?

Of course, these questions are just the tip of the iceberg but I'm sure you get the drift. 

One exciting way to grow your forward-thinking idea into success is to consider hiring a Social Media Intern.  Qualities to look for are:

  • Good Communication Skills
  • A Passion for the Web
  • Writing Skills
  • Awesome Social Skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Creative
  • Visionary
  • Flexible Schedule
  • Dedicated to do a Darn-Good-Job

There are definite benefits to hiring new talent to help you implement/update your social media.  Youth need to prove themselves and are hungry for the experience.  And, they are knowledgeable.  They've grown up learning this technology first-hand.  Even hiring a consultant would be a benefit for a lot of the same reasons.  The most important point is that social media needs to be strategic and focused.  Just like everything else!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Always remember the lemon.  Never forget the lemon.  Close your eyes and imagine yourself holding a fresh, yellow lemon in your right hand.  Why, you ask?  Well I say, why not?  As each one of our nonprofits communicate messages and sell our missions to the public, we need to think outside of the box and look to the lemon for some guidance. 

For the past couple of weeks I have enjoyed working with the owner of M-GEM Consulting, who has been very effective with communicating the importance of standing out with communications.  She brought several lemons to our team meeting and it was an enjoyable session to say the least.  I've always been the kind of person who thinks outside of the box but this little exercise really helped our team focus on the whole point: being unique. 

Here are some ideas that describe the lemon and relate back to your nonprofits marketing and communications:

  • It stands out
  • It's tangible
  • It appeals to your senses
  • It can make lemonade
  • It's attractive
  • It's refreshing

Keep this lemon in mind next time you are working on developing strategies for marketing, fundraising, communications, etc.  It will help you stand out from the crowd in a memorable way.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  Do you have any other ideas/words to share about this exciting lemon?  I'm sure you do!  Please share your ideas in the comment box below!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Opportunity Knocks!

Ideas.  They can take up a lot of space in the mind and some of us just can't turn them off, mute them or ignore them.  And recently I have been made aware of two big community fund competitions that involve ideas being dreamed-up for the betterment of our community.  It sure sounds exciting to me!  What would be more gratifying than doing some research, creating an exceptional idea and getting enough votes to bring your dream to a reality?  Better yet, all of this effort will have a direct impact on your friends and neighbours and you will lead an exciting movement for positive change! 

The two opportunities I'm talking about include:

1. Pepsi Refresh Project
Through their Refresh Project, Pepsi is rewarding individuals and nonprofit organizations for their big, positive ideas that focus on creating a stronger community.  Grants are grouped into categories with specific criteria for specific amounts.  From $5k to $100k, your ideas can literally come to life!  Voting and idea submissions take place in cycles.  You can vote now or submit you big idea from October 1 to October 7. 

  • $100,000 Idea - Build a no-kill shelter to provide a safe haven for animals
  • $25,000 Idea - Create a unique paint-a-thon event to unity the community
  • $10,000 Idea - Keep 300 kids a night off the streets and into the pool instead
  • $5,000 Idea - Build Homes. Build Hope.  Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.  Funds will be used for food and refreshments for volunteers
Check out the inspiring and exciting YouTube video to get a feeling for what the purpose of this fund is all about. 

2. Aviva Community Fund
$1,000,000 is available for individuals and nonprofits across Canada, through the Aviva Community Fund, to create real ideas for positive change!  Canadians vote on the idea and decide which ideas get funded.  If done properly, you can get a lot of support and votes from your neighbours and friends.  The competition for the money starts on September 27 and there are a number of key dates to follow.  They've actually structured the competition to include three levels:
  1. Idea Entry and Initial Voting
  2. Semi-finals and Voting
  3. Judging
  4. Winners Announced January 25, 2011
Learn more about the community fund by watching their YouTube video.

DO YOU HAVE A GOOD IDEA?  In my opinion, every idea is a good idea and they are all worth listening to.  I would love to hear what you have to say!  Make sure to leave some thoughts in the comments box below!



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This is MY story

By now, you might be thinking to yourself, "Who is this Amanda Olsheskie girl and how do I pronounce her last name?"  First of all, my last name is honestly pronounced exactly how it is spelled; just take a moment to look at it closely and spell it out.  Secondly, I am a 24-year-old woman who feels compelled to help the people in my community who need a helping hand the most.  I feel really fortunate to have found my genuine passion in life and hope that one day, when I am a little older and a little wiser, I will look back on my journey and be very proud of everything that I made happen.

Instead of me boring you, or wasting your valuable time (because we all know how valuable our time really is), I'm asking that you look at my professional profile on LinkedIn to see exactly what my journey looks like.  Click on my name, Amanda Olsheskie, and you will be directed to my public profile.  Easy, isn't it?  Now you can see how busy I've been over the past couple of years, working hard to gain the experience that is demanded to land a meaningful job.

Being a recent three-time graduate, I initially stepped onto the nonprofit field looking to gain experience, develop/strengthen skills and network with influential people.  While my commitment to the nonprofit sector goes beyond the WIIFM, it turns out there are a lot of people who view volunteering as a great way to gain experience.  In 2004, the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy published a manual to guide nonprofits through effective volunteer resource management.  One of the trends that were recognized was an increase in the job-skill motivation among volunteers.  The statistic that caught my eye the most is that "seventy-eight percent of unemployed youth believed that volunteering would improve their job prospects, up from 65% in 1997"(McClintock, 2004).  So why, then, aren't more communications being targeted towards our local youth?  From my personal experience, we are a great resource to add to any volunteer team and we need to start being engaged NOW.

While Chairing the Public Relations Committee at Habitat for Humanity North Simcoe, I was connected to another youth volunteer who was eager to get some work experience as well.  Little did we know that our partnership would turn into something BIG and that we would be granted $15,000 on the very first proposal we had ever wrote.  Her name is Danielle Desroches.  She is originally from Penetanguishene, is a University graduate and we were lucky to have her reach out to the Habitat team for volunteer work.  Danielle and I eventually tried to figure out a way to get paid for the work we love.  With the wheels turning, we actually filled in for one of Habitat's board members to learn more about the Rural Communities Development Fund.  This meeting was held at the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation (that's a mouthful) and the minute we heard "Internship", our eyes connected across the table and we knew that we could create a winning proposal.  And we did!

The important point to make note of is that today's youth need to be involved in nonprofit organizations for your benefit and for theirs.  I will be looking at several nonprofits in the North Simcoe area and identifying which, if any, target youth specifically and what has made their efforts successful.  Keep checking back for the inside scoop on targeting youth volunteers!



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Welcome to Vibrant Visions!

Today is an amazing day! Why? Well, I've decided to start a new journey in life and kick-off the launch of my Vibrant Visions blog. There are many, many people in North Simcoe who I must thank for inspiring me to reach for the stars, to challenge myself and to create positive change for the nonprofit sector.

It's amazing how compelled we can be to help our community, especially when we understand how critical the nonprofit sector really is. It is the third pillar of our society, acting as a safety net to prevent our families, our friends and our neighbors from falling through the cracks. With the downturn in our economy, there is an ever-increasing need to provide key services and take action towards the issues that affect our fellow citizens. Yet, with the supply of volunteers decreasing, insufficient government support and underutilized partnerships, the begging bowl continues to be heard. And it is getting louder. As a charitable worker I appreciate the importance of the nonprofit sector and understand the challenges that it faces.

The purpose of this blog is to connect the nonprofit community in an online environment where success stories are shared, best practices are analyzed, local news is commented on, change-makers are featured and everyone is empowered to join the movement for a more vibrant future!

Thank you for visiting my Vibrant Visions blog! Please make sure to add your name and the company you work for in the comments box below, letting me know that you stopped by! And go ahead. Cllick on the little box "Follow" (to the right) so you can join this movement.

I look forward to sharing the information that matters to you!