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Our Community: Dementia podcast, community grants, Local Champions

People living with dementia and their care partners are being invited to appear in a series of 30-minute podcasts that launched two years ago.
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Brenda Brophy, left, and her late mother, Dorothy (Dot) Finnerty, share a warm moment ­during Finnerty’s 101st ­birthday in 2021. The pair taped the event for an episode in the Call to Mind: Audio Stories of Love and Memory Loss podcast series. The podcast is entitled “Beautiful Morning.” PHOTO VIA CALL TO MIND

Podcast explores stories of love and memory loss

People living with dementia and their care partners are being invited to appear in this year’s Call to Mind: Audio Stories of Love and Memory Loss, a series of 30-minute podcasts that launched two years ago.

While the podcast format returns this year, the ­program has also expanded into an audio-diary research project run by Mariko Sakamoto, professor of nursing at the University of Victoria.

Participants in the research project, who can include someone with dementia or a care partner of someone living with dementia, will be part of a small, online ­support group to share caregiving experiences.

The program aims to study the value and impacts of recording and sharing personal audio diaries, with sharing and storytelling sessions for a 12-week period. Personal recordings will be woven together with research observations to create a second season of the Call to Mind podcast, which will launch in the late fall.

Last year’s podcast series are available online at ­calltomindpodcast.com/all-episodes

In the “Beautiful Morning” podcast, participants Brenda Brophy and her late mother Dorothy (Dot) Finnerty, celebrate the latter’s 101st birthday. At the time of the recording, Brophy had brought her mom home to live with her.

The pair chat about the tenderness, love and ­laughter that fill most of their days. But it also lays bare the emotional challenges Brophy has to deal with when her mother becomes lost in the 1950s, long before her daughter was born.

Support groups will consist of four to five pairs of participants.

The project is open to anyone living in B.C., who is not in long-term or other care settings.

• For more information, or get involved, go to ­calltomindpodcast.com/get-involved.

Victoria Foundation mulls community grant applications

The Victoria Foundation is accepting applications for the Vital Grant Stream of the foundation’s 2024 Community Grants Program, which provides funding for the non-profit sector in the Capital Region.

The program makes grants of up to $30,000 to ­support organizations whose work benefits community wellbeing. The goal is to strengthen local non-profit organizations with flexible, general operating funding.

“From environmental initiatives to arts and culture, to housing, youth and senior services and beyond, the Community Grants Program helps boost wellbeing and resiliency in the capital region by providing funding to all kinds of initiatives that foster social, cultural and environmental change,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the broad-based funder of the non-profit sector.

The 2024 Community Grants Program has two grant streams: the Vital Stream and the Collaboration Stream, with separate intake timelines. The Vital Grant Stream is accepting applications now, with the Collaboration Grant Stream starting some time this fall.

Last year, the Community Grants Program ­distributed more than $4.89 million to 199 ­organizations, including 154 organizations or projects that significantly benefit equity-deserving groups. The program is one part of the Victoria Foundation’s overall granting strategy, which granted more than $27 million to organizations in 2023.

The deadline for Vital Grant Stream grant ­applications is March 7, with funding distributed in July.

• For more information, guidelines, resources and how to apply, go to victoriafoundation.bc.ca.

City of Victoria grants build strong neighbourhoods

Applications are now open for two annual City of ­Victoria programs — Great Neighbourhood Grant and Local Champions — that empower residents to build strong neighbourhoods.

Funding from the My Great Neighbourhood Grant can be used for community projects and events that support vibrant and resilient communities. Residents and community groups can apply for up to $7,500 for placemaking and community resilience projects and up to $1,500 for events and activities.

The Local Champions program offers training to become more engaged in planning neighbourhood ­projects.

“It’s exciting to see what’s possible when our ­residents have the funding and skills to bring ­community projects to life,” said Mayor Marianne Alto. “It’s this resident-led work that helps build ­neighbourly, experiential connections. Projects like this create a rich sense of place and lend themselves to joyful ­celebrations, while also making communities more resilient in challenging times.”

Local Champions is a community-based leadership development program where 24 participants will gain the skills, confidence and connections to become more active and engaged in planning neighbourhood-led ­projects and activities.

The six-part course, valued at $2,500, is being offered for $250. A limited number of spaces are fully funded, with five of these reserved for climate action projects to encourage energy efficient homes. Applications close on March 1.

The city has allocated more than $140,000 in My Great Neighbourhood Grant funding this year. Since the program launched in 2016, the city has disbursed more than $1 million among more than 300 projects.

My Great Neighbourhood Grant applications will be reviewed monthly until Oct. 31.

• For more information, go to victoria.ca/neighbourhoods.

Variety Show of Hearts helping children for 58 years

Tune in for an afternoon filled with an impressive roster of celebrities and special guests as the annual Variety Show of Hearts is broadcast on Global B.C. on Sunday, Feb. 25.

This is the 58th year of the telethon, which raises funds for B.C. children with disabilities and complex health needs. Last year’s event attracted 9,800 ­donations.

Viewers will be treated to special appearances by Adam Beach, Evan Goldberg, Joe Jonas, Barenaked Ladies, Eric McCormack, Natalie Portman, Seth Rogen, Martin Short, George Stroumboulopoulos and others. There will be musical performances by Aysanabee, Tom Cochrane, The Reklaws, Walk Off the Earth and more.

“We’re incredibly honoured and humbled by the ­support we’ve seen from celebrities and notable figures throughout hosting the 58 years of Variety Show of Hearts,” said Andrea Tang, CEO of Variety B.C.

Their help comes at a difficult time.

“With the rise of cost of living and a stressed medical system, we’re unfortunately seeing an unprecedented number of families requesting funding from Variety B.C.,” said Tang.

During the telethon, some of the children who are helped by Variety will be highlighted, including Grace from Victoria. She is a three-year-old girl born with Down syndrome who requires continual care with ­feeding and has delayed cognitive development.

Variety has played a role in providing funding for her regular physiotherapy sessions, which assists her physical development and mobility.

Last year Variety received more than $11 million from donors. Variety grants supported almost 6,650 children and their families in 240 communities in the province in 2023.

The show runs 1 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 on Global TV. For more information, go to variety.bc.ca.

parrais@timescolonist.com