CRNs in the Community: Healing, Resource Referrals and Workshops

Smiling, happy people representing BC Association of Community Response Networks at events

April showers bring May flowers, on the ground and in the trees. Signs that summer is around the corner are popping up all over the province. The beautiful colours and sweet smells remind us to stop and take the time to breathe and appreciate life. Our CRNs have been busy bees with many community events and workshops in April. Here are a few highlights from around the province this last month. 

Healing & Connection

Vancouver Island’s Mount Waddington CRN facilitated the first Table of Partners gathering in early March after a 2 year hiatus. The event was organized to reconnect North Island community service providers and create a place to share information and discuss solutions for community support after recent losses of several community members. New organizations were invited to participate along with regular attendees to expand inclusivity. Local Elders were also invited to participate and provide traditional healing rituals. The Mount Waddington CRN sits at the Mount Waddington Health Network Table. 

Salt Spring Island CRN hosted a second gathering of marginalized SLGBTQia+ seniors and elders, along with professionals and associated people who work with abuse prevention and response within the community and through Island Health. The Create Safety Through Meaningful Connections gathering included sessions of therapeutic movement, journaling and circle discussion. Thanks to the many guest speakers and community partners for coming together to create stronger connections between marginalized seniors and strengthen community networks for a collaborative approach to elder abuse, neglect and self-neglect. 

The Bella Coola Supper Club is a series of nine evenings aimed to combat isolation and loneliness by bringing together vulnerable adults and elders for an evening of games, socialization and a home-cooked meal. Information about abuse, neglect, and self-neglect is presented by the Bella Coola CRN Coordinator, while the VCH Mental Health worker will provide information on mental health. Other community partners will be invited to present information about their respective programs or other topics relevant to a vulnerable population. Any extra food will be packed up for attendees to take home with them to help combat food insecurity. The BC Transit Community Bus extends service hours on those evenings and will transport attendees to and from the event. Supper Club runs from April 2024 to March 2025.

Resources & Referrals

Distribution of a new information card is underway thanks to Cowichan CRN and many community partners in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. After a sharp rise of admissions due to falls was reported by Cowichan District Hospital, community partners met and collaborated on a new wallet card created for older adults at risk of neglect and self-neglect. The card highlights key safety points on environmental fall hazards as well as the importance of self-care like exercise, nutrition and hydration that can lead to falls from dizziness. 

West Shore CRN in Victoria has almost completed the creation of a referral resource rack card to provide community members with local emergency services information: hospitals, police stations, fire departments, poison control centers, health authorities, community-based senior services and other essential services. The rack cards are being designed with older adults in mind, with careful consideration towards the fonts, colors and images. The project will be expanded in the near future to include multilingual cards. The cards also highlight the existence and importance of local CRNs.

Cranbrook CRN created a small seniors personal information booklet designed to help keep all important personal, local and provincial information in one place. The booklet is designed with plastic sleeves to easily remove and update contents and is small enough to keep handy in a purse, car or pocket. Booklets will be made available to all older and vulnerable adults in partnership with community service providers such as pharmacies, care homes and clinics. 38% of Cranbrook’s population are seniors and the number is growing quickly. The CRN plans to reach out to other community nonprofits and businesses to invite them to partner with them on this project. 

The CRN Coordinator Sandy Zeznik, and Regional Mentor Doug Newberry have been busy with community events throughout March and April: interviews with news organizations such as the Columbia Valley Pioneer and CBC Radio, attending the Ktunaxa Health Fair and hosting BC’s new Seniors Advocate, Dan Levitt, on his provincial tour. Mr. Levitt came prepared with a surprise for Sandy, presenting her with a certificate of appreciation for her years of service. 

Workshops & Workouts

Bowen Island CRN, in partnership with Seniors Keeping Young and Bowen Island Community Health Centre, co-hosted and presented at an all-day  information and resources event. The sessions throughout the day presented information about aging in place safely, end of life planning, navigating our B.C. Health system, the work of the local CRN and how they can be part of the solution to elder abuse, neglect, and self-neglect.

The Kamloops CRN and community partners have re-started the Aging Mindfully program at the local YMCA. The program ran very successfully last year with a short pause over the winter months. The focus is on learning mental wellness practices and exercises that community seniors can practice anytime, as well as fostering community connection. During each session, seniors are also given resources such as the Decision Tree card and other materials with referral information.  

The Coastal Coalition CRN held a queer workshop tailored for healthcare providers designed to focus on recognizing, addressing, and finding solutions to alleviate regional and systemic obstacles that hinder access to healthcare services for the queer community in Tofino and Ucluelet. Coastal Queer outlined resources for community members navigating the medical system, as well as resource materials for identifying abuse, neglect and self-neglect. 

LOVE In The Air

LOVE LGBTQ2s Vancouver Island CRN recently shared an update of what they have been doing within the community to create inclusiveness and affirmation of vulnerable adults. Their work includes the creation of an education module and accompanying workbook, creating a resource list for front-line staff, hosting workshops throughout the central and north island communities and presentations to several health networks. Many of the resources they have created can be found on their website: LOVE Living Out Visibly & Engaged CRN. Contact the CRN for more information or to schedule a workshop in your area. 

In The Community

The Vanderhoof CRN  is now recognized and listed on the District of Vanderhoof website under residents and community wellness. They have been working hard to engage with the community by visiting seniors at the local Friendship Centre (during exercise class!) and offering a scholarship through the school district. Plans are underway to attend more events and gatherings to continue to spread awareness of who the BC CRN is and our mandate of preventing abuse, neglect and self-neglect. 

The APNI South Asian CRN organized a community event for a presentation on Diabetes and Yoga. The Shanti Niketan hall of Lakshmi Narayan Mandir in Surrey was jam-packed with CRN host agency Vedic Senior Parivar members. CRN Coordinator and organizer Surendra Kumar Handa, was assisted by Mr. Ashwani Bansal, Mrs. Neelam Bansal, Mr. Mohan Lal Moudgill & Mr. Adarash Bahri.  Jas Cheema, BC CRN Regional Mentor Fraser Valley East, Langley, South Surrey, White Rock and Delta, was the special guest. Organizers wish to send sincere thanks to Mr. Girja Shankar Sharma for photographs and preparing a YouTube video of the occasion.

Welcome New CRNs and Coordinators

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to a few new CRNs and their coordinators who have joined us in the last few months. We are excited to see the organization grow and look forward to working with these folks: 

  • Squamish Nation: Coordinator – Sharon Roling
  • Fraser Valley East Indigenous: Coordinator – Jocelyn Boysis  
  • Port Coquitlam: Coordinator – Gilda Tweedie 
  • Sicamous: Coordinator – Janet McClean Senft
  • Delta: Coordinator – Ana Awmack Juan
  • Mission: Coordinator – Maria Reed
  • Williams Lake: Coordinator – Peggy Christianson
  • Smithers: Coordinator – Clara Donnelly
  • Shuswap: Coordinator – Maryann Baker
  • Robson Valley: Coordinator – Shelby Weeks
  • Terrace: Coordinator – Danielle Lavoie
  • Houston: Coordinator – Marian Ells
  • Kitimat: Coordinator – Brittany King
  • Vancouver Indigenous: Coordinators – Trinidad Zamora and Zia Williams

In Case You Missed It 

On the first Tuesday of each month, BC CRN hosts an online workshop featuring one of our three main programs. Visit the Events page for upcoming online presentation schedules. To learn more about the programs or to request a presentation, see the Programs page or email

Also featured monthly is our Provincial Learning Event. We are constantly on the lookout to bring you relevant topics and resources to help navigate current issues facing older and vulnerable adults. April’s Provincial Learning Event topic was a collaborative presentation with United Way British Columbia on Coordinating Community Based Solutions for Older Adults. May’s event will be featuring guest speaker Dan Levitt, the new Seniors Advocate for BC. 

Stay in the know by signing up for our Newsletter, watch the calendar on the Events page, or follow us on Facebook. Watch on-demand all our past workshops posted on our website here.

Explore our website to learn more about BC CRN or connect with your local CRN for more information or resources. 



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