Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Program Director Report for 2020 AGM


This yearly AGM report usually reflects the work Caring Circle has done in the previous calendar year…2019. But given the global pandemic and how precarious our health can sometimes feel, I’m sure you’ll all be interested in how we’ve been involved in dealing with issues that have arisen for Caring Circle during this health crisis.  I will include information about our activities over these past 5 months of 2020 as well as what we were up to in 2019.

Caring Circle’s primary focus is Health Navigation – helping Islanders navigate the health system so that they get timely access to the health care and social services. But one of our objectives is “to respond to the expressed needs of the Community” so we are not confined to prescribed roles in the Community but are agile in our response as needs arise. For instance, during this COVID-19 health crisis Caring Circle has been working with Jen McGowan from the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Stef Shortt from BIM in her leadership role in creating an Advance Planning Document re health emergencies on Bowen, and with Edward Wachtman from the Neighbourhood Emergency Response Program (NERP). 

How many people have accessed our services in 2019?

Health Navigation: 309 people were given ongoing health navigation

Driver Program:  18 people were given rides into Vancouver to access health related appointments 

Lunch Program:  475+ lunches were served to Islanders at our bi-monthly lunches at the Legion. This program works in partnership with four other organizations but Caring Circle manages all of the administrative issues.

“Youth Mental Health and Substance Use” Conference:  attended by 75 Islanders – half day – guest speakers from Foundry North Shore, Executive Director of Adlerian Association, RCMP, Mother with lived experience, young adult survivor of loss from substance use and community activist.

“Voices for Health on Bowen”: This was a facilitated daylong conversation offering an opportunity for health professionals and organizations to come together, reflect on needs, and initiate small-scale collaborations on important issues. Attended by 52 Island health practitioners and ideas and collaborations were captured in a report shared with all attendees. 

Youth at Risk Fund: The Community Foundation asked to partner with Caring Circle in managing a fund to support youth at risk. Caring Circle contributed input to the Terms of Reference document and we have taken on the administrative work for this initiative. A Island psychologist has had 15 counselling sessions with various young men in their late teens and early 20’s who were experiencing anxiety and depression.

Adult Day Centre: Caring Circle partnered with the Bowen Island Respite Society to advocate to VCH to financially support an Adult Day Centre on Bowen Island. Caring Circle took the lead on this initiative initially applying for funding and meeting with VCH. The B.I. Respite Society have taken over this work and hope to open this centre soon. 

Grief and Wellness Retreat: 15 youth participated – After the tragic death of a young woman on Bowen there was palpable distress among the youth on Bowen who knew this woman. Caring Circle financially supported (through a grant from the First Credit Union) a two day Grief and Wellness Retreat.

Homelessness: The Lookout Society is working closely with Caring Circle around our Island’s issues with homelessness. In the summer of 2019 a tent “city” set up outside our offices in the Cove. Staff from the Lookout Society diffused that situation easing the issues between the homeless residents, Caring Circle, BIM and the RCMP. 

Lifelabs: decided to discontinue services when their space was being renovated. Caring Circle intervened and secured furniture, a fridge, a desk, and cleaned the space so that while the contractors were renovating the space, people could still get their blood work done.

Paramedicine Practitioner:  5-8 Islanders dropped in monthly to CC to have vital signs checked and have a health status consult with a paramedic.

“Family Play Nights”: approximately 100 attendees at two events held in 2019 at BICS gymnasium. Caring Circle partnered with a number of other groups to host this event, which connects parents with each other and with experts in child rearing and education.

Hearing screened: 20 people had their hearing and hearing aides cleaned by Next Gen Hearing organized by Caring Circle.

Early Childhood Development Table: Caring Circle sits at this table along with other groups on Island discussing and advocating for improved services for our very young Islanders age birth – age 5. 

The COVID-19 pandemic: has forced CC to work from home but that has not curtailed our outreach into the Community as I have worked at home and so much of what I do can be done by phone or email. The EOC, BIM, NERP, and the Community Foundation have worked with CC during these past few months helping Islanders who are struggling because of the pandemic to get their essential needs met, as well as reaching out to some of  the local businesses to make sure they’re also figuring out their business model in these changing times and the accompanied stress involved in solving these serious issues. It is a time when health security vulnerabilities are obvious and our role at Caring Circle is seen as critical to addressing issues as they arise. 


Board Chair Report for 2020 AGM


Colleen is always a hard act to follow but I am getting pretty good at it because that is pretty much my role as Chair of the Caring Circle Board. And it’s a privilege.

Colleen has outlined her activities as Program Director in 2019. What most astounds me is, 1st, how varied the activities are; 2nd, how the simplest statistic that she read out to you often takes the greatest time, energy and creativity; 3rd, how there are always new demands that we had never considered but are fully within the CC mandate.

With 20/20 hindsight, it is now obvious that Colleen’s role as Program Director for the last 6 years, has been the perfect preparation for her crucial role in the COVID crisis today. As we all know, there is no roadmap and Colleen’s intimate knowledge of the community and health needs has played a significant part in providing what is needed. She has responded in the moment, collaborated with the key players to develop new partnerships, and, as ever, been compassionate.

Tonight I would like to highlight what the Board has been doing to ensure Caring Circle meets its mandate which is “to connect individuals on Bowen Island to health services, social programs, and each other”.

Board Retirements: I would like to thank all of the Board Members for their dedication to ensuring that Caring Circle keeps true to its vision and mandate. I would particularly like to acknowledge two Board members who are retiring from the Board this year – Shirley Beam and Tamara Soloway. Shirley has been our conscience and Tamara has been our soul. You are both greatly missed.

VOICES: It took the Program Director and the entire Board to put together and host VOICES for Health on Bowen, which brought health care practitioners on Bowen together, some meeting for the first time. Our plans to make this an annual spring event are still in the works though temporarily postponed.

Adult Day Program: One of the greatest challenges the Board faced was grappling with the need for an Adult Day Program and what the Caring Circle’s role should be. Because Caring Circle helped with the initial funding proposal, we became the conduit for the grant. Fabulous news that we had received the grant but as the level of our administrative involvement became clear, we struggled. There followed some very tough discussions because we feared that if we pulled out, the funding and the opportunity for a needed service would be lost. In the end, the Board stayed true to our Mission and stepped down as lead. In the background, the Program Director and Board members, were able to have the funding redirected once the new Adult Day Program Society was established so the neither the program nor our integrity was jeopardized.

Bowen Island Health Centre: as you know, Colleen has been deeply involved with promoting and fundraising for the Health Centre. The CC Board supported this initiative by ensuring that Colleen had the time needed for both roles. We actively took on the role of safe guarding Colleen and not let her get to burn out. After all, we all need her!

Youth at Risk: Board members were actively involved in envisioning how this program might work and setting up the terms of reference.

Snug Cove House: It’s been thrilling to see Snug Cove House’s vision of setting up a Seniors’ Hub becoming a reality. Our Boards are working together collaboratively to determine what’s needed, understand and support what the other is doing and ensure that we offer complementary services.