Georgian, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka want your help with community belonging project
Nov. 3, 2023
The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and Georgian College are collaborating to explore how local organizations can innovate together to create a greater sense of belonging in the community.
They will form a Community Impact Lab, which will include high levels of participation from each organization and the community and will be run by Georgian’s new Social Innovation department – a pillar under Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the college.
In a strategic move aligning with their three-year ‘Forward, Together’ plan unveiled in July 2022, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is focusing on participatory innovation as a key priority to propel its mission forward and fortify its legacy for generations to come. This collaboration represents one of the significant initiatives stemming from this strategic effort.
Outcomes of the Community Impact Lab will focus on:
- elevating community engagement,
- supporting sustainable community innovation, and
- ensuring how community services need to evolve to enable well-being and belonging that represent the future local landscape.
Project working with $300,000 investment
This initiative has been generously funded through a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Mobilize grant and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka’s Innovation Fund, culminating in a substantial $300,000 investment into the project.
Georgian’s Social Innovation part of broader college strategy
Georgian’s Social Innovation Community Impact Lab model uses community-based participatory action research to explore what it means for communities to flourish. This model is part of a broader strategy at Georgian, as Canada’s first and only Ashoka U changemaker college, to engage students, staff, faculty, and community partners to innovate together to address the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Georgian’s work on flourishing communities and economies is a powerful example of how post-secondary institutions can play a critical role in supporting local communities and driving positive change. The approach provides a platform for diverse collaborators to partner on solutions for complex community challenges, promoting inclusive and sustainable communities.