Q&A with Cheryl Stetsko-Mayne, co-chair of Central Peace Health and Wellness Coalition

The Central Peace Health and Wellness Coalition (CPHAWC) works to provide information, tools and resources to residents of the Central Peace area to create supportive physical and social environments and promote health and reduce cancer risk. It’s the coming together of people in community to share their gifts and talents to create healthy places and social spaces for all to be active, healthy and engaged in their community.

Cheryl Stetsko-Mayne discussed the ways in which CPHAWC has impacted the communities in Central Peace and its plans for the future.

Q: When was it formed and why?
A: CPHAWC was created in December 2015 as part of an applied research project with Alberta Health Services, Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund to support collaborative work in community to prevent cancer. Using the Healthy Places Action Tool, communities identified priority areas to action that included physical activity promotion, access to healthy foods, cancer screening and UV protection.

Who are the members?
We have a multi-sector membership. We have and welcome members from all walks of life and parts of the Central Peace: citizens, community organizations, community coalitions, businesses and municipal leaders – anyone interested in creating healthy spaces and places in their community. “Working better together” is our objective. To work together whenever possible in order to share the work among community organizations and members, encouraging collaboration, and minimizing duplication for the betterment of community.

What are some of the successes that CPHAWC has been involved with?
The creation of the Community Connect Newsletter to highlight community events and Community Connect Nights to encourage collaboration; the purchase of shade tents and sunscreen dispensers for use by community groups; accessed grant funds to host special events to promote physical activity, such as Glow Walk to celebrate Winter Walk Day and Get Outside and Play Week; the creation of the 150 Things To Do in The Central Peace Passport; we painted outdoor large sidewalk games in communities to promote outdoor play for kids of all ages; and we supported the promotion of the Alberta Healthy Communities Hub and Community Dashboard.

What are the current and future goals?
To continue to promote UV protection throughout the Central Peace by collaborating with community groups to build shade structures where people gather; create a shaded picnic area by the outdoor pool; further develop community gathering places and events for young and old to enjoy together because connected communities are healthy communities; support the creation of community gardens; assist in the development and promotion of a Central Peace Community Calendar and HUB; and continue to increase awareness of how important community environments are in shaping health – “Make the healthier choice, the easier choice”

What are the challenges faced?
Getting the word out and people engaged so they are thinking how they can share their gifts and talents to create healthy spaces and places.

How can people get involved?
CPHAWC meets 1-2 times per month to discuss upcoming community initiatives – (usually the 1st and/or 3rd Tuesday of the month from 12:00 – 1:30 at the Brownlee Building, MD of Spirit River Office). Email cphawc1@outlook.com for details about upcoming meetings.