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Heather Keam

Heather Keam
Heather is happy to be part of the Vibrant Communities team as the Manager of Cities, Cities Deepening Community. Before this position she was the Manager of Learning Services where she organized Community of Practices, learning opportunities, tools and resources for community change. Heather brings over 12 years of public health knowledge to this position.

Recent Posts

What Makes Your Neighbourhood Work an Asset-Based Community Development Process?

Posted by Heather Keam on December 20, 2018

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is not a new concept. About 40 years ago, John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann, took a four-year learning journey, visiting twenty cities and talking to 2,000 people in neighbourhoods which culminated in the book Building Communities From the Inside Out: A Path Towards Finding and Mobilizing a Neighborhood’s Assets. They wanted to discover if people knew who lived on their block and if they do things together. From this journey, 125,000 books have been sold and a movement was created.

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A Gift is Not a Gift Until It’s Given

Posted by Heather Keam on December 15, 2018

This is an appropriate title for two reasons. First, it is the holiday season, the time of year that we are giving gifts to each other. Secondly, in 2018 we hosted an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) event, and what better way of practicing ABCD than for our members to give their gifts of stories, tools and resources.

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Getting to Impact the Observational Way

Posted by Heather Keam on November 12, 2018

A few years ago, I read a book called "Trying Hard is Not Good Enough" by Mark Friedman. The book talks about how initiatives can be complicated and complex, and therefore this makes it hard to reduce evaluating these initiatives to a set of numbers and equations. Mark suggests that we need to talk about the story behind the data. Look at the stories, anecdotes and accomplishments that explain what the data is saying.   

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A River that Built Community

Posted by Heather Keam on July 24, 2018

In June, I attended an event in St. Albert called the Neighbourhood Extravaganza which brought together those who work in neighbourhoods, to build neighbourhoods. It was an excellent way to share stories and learn from each other. During my stay, I experienced the greatest sense of community when I was welcomed into the home of Howard Lawrence from Abundant Community Edmonton. It was from Howard’s hospitality that I learned how the North Saskatchewan River built a community.

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The ABCD Workshop – What we Learned and What's to Come

Posted by Heather Keam on May 23, 2018

From April 17-19 Cities Deepening Community held an Asset-Based Community Development workshop in Kitchener, Ontario with John McKnight, Cormac Russell, Donna Thomson and almost 200 community changemakers. You can imagine there was a lot of learning to absorb! We have done our best to sum up our primary aha's! into a few takeaways.

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How Do We Know We are Making a Difference in Our Neighbourhood Work?

Posted by Heather Keam on April 5, 2018

I was speaking with Howard Lawrence from Abundant Community Edmonton about their work around neighbourhood development and we got talking about making a difference in our community and how do we know if anyone is better off because of the changes/activities that have been implemented.  How do we measure change in our neighbourhood work?  Howard told me about a tool called the Sense of Community Index that is used in the social science area to determine sense of community. 

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