A Month of Triumph and Difficulty-- Rachel and Jos Update

It has been a month of triumph and difficulty – thank you to everyone who supported the team in our transitions and successes.  

It is with sadness that we share with you the news that, due to the funding shortfall currently experienced by PPO, we have had to reduce our team temporarily.   The Options, Referral and Volunteer Coordination position is now combined with the Community Education position.  Volunteers and clients will continue to be well supported by Courtney Scanlan, who has performed this role in the past.  I know this is difficult news, it was not an easy decision to make.   We need to consider to total financial health of the organization to ensure many more years of the amazing outreach and support PPO offers.  We continue to seek solutions to the financial realities of PPO, and hope to rebuild our team soon.

However, optimism is growing and we have experienced some early successes in our efforts to reach our fundraising goals this year!  The Gala was a terrific success raising $4,000!  Thanks to a lot of hard work by Barbara Hayes and the team. It was such a delight to witness the direct, creative, fun and totally accurate performance of the talented and hip Alumni & Youth Insight Theatre Troupe.  They did such an excellent job, kudos to each of the performers and to Nadine Thornhill for helping them to bring it all together for show time.  We will never think of Dental Dams the same way again. Check out all the photos online!  And the photobooth pics!

We are so very happy to also share with you that we have received word that the Community foundation of Ottawa has approved $10,000 1 year funding for a project called Bridging Services for Women: Coordinating a Community Response to Violence Against Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health.  The project is a collaborative effort including partners Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, Canadians for Choice and the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, we will keep you updated as we bring this project to life.  

Courtney Scanlan, as the Community Education Coordinator and Youth Co-Facilitator Faiza Hassan co-developed a pilot program called “Girls Chat” last year, which reached out to Muslim girls and provided them with an opportunity to dialogue about topics of adolescence, sexuality and reproductive health in a safe and culturally relevant context.   This pilot was a real success and earned Courtney and Faiza an invitation to present at the Guelph Sexuality Conference.  Courtney presented to an interested and receptive audience, congratulations to Courtney on a major career milestone!  Check out her awesome presentation online.

At the Annual General Meeting we were pleased to host more than 25 people who really enjoyed the presentations made by staff and researchers.  We had the invigorating experience of learning that we are doing amazing work in reaching the people who need our services, the people are learning from our efforts to educate and that we are positively changing lives.  We also heard about gaps that we can work to fill, outreach that needs special work and how we can make small changes to have even better results.  Many thanks to Polly Leonard (presenter), Carolann Chevalier, Natalie Dias (presenter), Katrina Levasseur and Katie Ratcliff for their arduous work on the Youth Sexual Health Survey (the results are available on the PPO website); to Adina Jacobson for her ongoing work in evaluating the Insight Theatre program; and to Adam Lee who has provided us with helpful statistical analysis of the participant feedback from Comm Ed. Our 2011 Annual Report can now be found online.

We are entering the summer with prospects for continuing the positive outcomes we have experienced recently, thank you to the PPO community your invaluable support.  If you have a group or organization that is interested in doing a BBQ, athletic, garage sale or other fundraiser to further support PPO, please reach out!  We will do our best to support and promote your event!

- Rachel and Jos