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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

It takes a mindshift to put citizens at the center of your work

Posted by Heather Keam on November 12, 2020

Have you ever thought about whose role is it to build community? Whose role is it to fix the problems? Is it government, maybe social service programs? Is it groups and associations? Sometimes, I think that communities are looking for a superhero to swoop in and fix all their problems. But this superhero does not exist. What we need is a group of superheroes such as Marvel's Avengers, with each hero bringing their own gift and knowledge, and when its used as a group big changes can happen.

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The Importance of Connecting Older Persons to Community

Posted by Heather Keam on October 30, 2020

Humans are social beings and are hardwired to want to be with people. When we are born, we thrive on connections but as we age those connections become harder and harder to keep leading us to be lonely. Loneliness can affect anyone but is more common amongst older persons 65 and older. The 2013 StatsCan study indicates that 1 in 3 individuals over the age of 65 are lonely. Additionally, a 2019 Angus Reid report indicated that those who are 55+ with incomes of less than $50,000 were twice as likely to be both lonely and isolated, and were more than twice as likely to be single and living alone.

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Disaster Recovery the Pandemic Way

Posted by Heather Keam on September 15, 2020

The pandemic has affected our jobs, families, and communities. We now see organizations and groups looking for the right way to move into the recovery phase of the pandemic. Since these are unprecedented times, there are no templates or formulas on how we can work through recovery. I have come across three publications that outline a path to recovery in which community is put at the center.

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Don’t Cancel Neighbours Day…Celebration is What We Need!

Posted by Heather Keam on May 20, 2020

COVID-19 has brought on some positive changes like the gift of time, slowing life down, more time with family but it has also caused lots of sadness and disappointment due to cancelled group celebrations and fun. The weather is starting to warm up, the sun is out, and the flowers are blooming. This is the time of the year that cities are planning their Neighbours Day celebrations. 

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Community is All Around Us When We Open Our Eyes and Hearts

Posted by Heather Keam on March 31, 2020

I come from a small town and know firsthand that change is not always widely accepted or embraced. But in light of this pandemic, I’ve seen our community rally together and change has happened organically and fast.

A few weeks ago, my local church had planned its annual Irish Stew night. 24 hours before the event, we got notice that large gatherings were to be cancelled or suspended. This is a big social event for our church members and community, and cancelling it meant socializing would be lost. So, we got creative.

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The Importance of Stories in Community Work

Posted by Heather Keam on March 11, 2020
Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is simple, usable and transferable to any community. The basis on an ABCD approach is that local assets are identified, and unconnected assets are connected by a local connector.

The ABCD approach is also simple because it focuses on 6 assets - individual resident capacities, local associations, neighbourhood institutions, physical assets, exchange between neighbours, and lastly, maybe even most importantly, stories.

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