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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

The Impact of Embracing Asset-Based Community Development

Posted by Heather Keam on July 2, 2019

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is about looking at the gifts and assets that exist within a neighbourhood and allowing people to respond to and create local opportunities. How do you use local assets and gifts to guide a city to increase the social fabric and deepen community? Howard Lawrence, who lives in a neighbourhood in Edmonton, had the answer to this question - Abundant Community.  Howard saw the power of neighbouring and wanted the city to experience the richness of neighbours sharing their gifts, knowledge, skills and abilities to improve their neighbourhood.

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Loneliness and Social Isolation are Public Health Issues

Posted by Heather Keam on April 18, 2019
Loneliness and social isolation are now being recognized as public health issues in Ontario. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David D William, released his annual report in February 2019 called Connected Community Healthier together. The report highlights the growing evidence that loneliness and social isolation affects our health:
  • Six out of ten residents say they have a very or somewhat strong sense of community. Only four out of ten know many or most of their neighbours.
  • Has negative effects on the body, mind and soul.
  • People who are lonely are more likely to be in the top five percent of health care users.
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Building A Neighbourhood Strategy From The Outside In

Posted by Heather Keam on March 18, 2019

As Cities grow, populations change and become more diverse, new neighbourhoods are built, and older neighbourhoods are being intensified. So, how do you deepen the sense of community? This is the question that the City of Waterloo’s was tasked with when they started to develop their neighbourhood strategy.  The City wanted to build a strategy to help define how to support neighbourhoods, facilitate continued growth, and support community members to be empowered to create strong neighbourhoods.

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Reflecting on the Basics of Effective Meetings

Posted by Heather Keam on January 25, 2019

As I reflected on my 2018 year, I realized that I spent a lot of time in meetings at work and in my personal life. Meetings are an effective way for a group to get together and work on projects, communicate and to share resources. I am the type of person who wants to get in and get out with optimal work done. Having spent A LOT of time in meetings last year I realize that more than half of them were not as effective as they could have been. 

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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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