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Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition is one of eighteen Canadian Safe Communities to report a perfect 20/20 Attribute Score.

District earns perfect score as safe community

District earns perfect score as safe community
By Duane Hicks
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There’s no doubt the district deserves the title of a “Safe Community” after the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition scored a perfect 20 out of 20 last week on the first National Report Card from Safe Communities Canada.
“I think it’s wonderful. We’re just ecstatic,” RRVSC chair Grace Silander enthused Friday.
Rainy River District scored a five out of five in four categories on the National Report Card. Categories included leadership, priority setting, sustainability, and community engagement.
These scores were above, or on par with, the national averages of 3.8, four, 4.2, and five in leadership, priority setting, sustainability, and community engagement, respectively.
Rainy River District scored even further above the national average for organizations with an operating budget in the RRVSC’s range ($25,000).
The average scores were 3.8, four, 3.8, and 4.9 in leadership, priority setting, sustainability, and community engagement, respectively.
“I think where we really shine is we have not always had the financial backing. We struggled right from the beginning,” noted Silander. “Our movement is truly a volunteer movement.
“We do have representation from a lot of the organizations around the district, and even though people are there representing their organizations or departments, they’re also giving about half-plus of that back again volunteering.
“When you’re volunteering, you get the true commitment,” Silander stressed.
“We’re also small. And being from a smaller area is an advantage, as well, because you seem to have a little bit more pride when you’re in a smaller community,” she added.
“Maybe I’m wrong. But when you go and watch someone deliver their program, you see the enthusiasm and the energy they’re putting into it.
“That gets the messages across so much better when they are actually living the subject the teaching, and they truly are believing in their topics.
“That gives you ‘buy in,’ and from there you get the positive results back,” Silander remarked.
Comments on the report card include:
•“[The RRVSC] has demonstrated its role as a champion through increasing awareness of safety priorities as set out by a priority assessment done within the last three years and introducing new program initiatives to address its safety priority.”
•“The Safe Community leadership table contains the five specified members and an impressive range of community cross-representation.”
•“Volunteer representation at the leadership table and community participation level is significant.”
•”The Safe Community leadership table has demonstrated active involvement with Safe Communities Canada.”
•“The Safe Community leadership table demonstrates sustainability with a budget that supports employed staff.”
•“The Safe Community leadership table evaluates program impact and participant satisfaction, and makes changes to program content and method of delivery based on feedback received.”
•“These evaluations demonstrate that your organization has had an impact on community awareness, priority population participation, and changes in behaviour.”
•“Rainy River Valley Safe Coalition demonstrates leadership in Canada by evaluating its own effectiveness as a champion for safety in your community.”
•“We sincerely hope that partners at your leadership table will offer to become peer mentors for other communities in the network.”
For those who may not know, the RRVSC is a network of partners which collectively focuses on making the district a safer place to live, work, and play.
Silander noted the programs are carried out by partners such as the OPP, fire department, Northwestern Health Unit, and Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc.
And they range widely—from the Substance Abuse Prevention Team, D.A.R.E., “Grab A Cab,” child car seat safety, “RiskWatch,” and fire prevention to CN rail safety, bike helmet safety, and even the upcoming Hallowe’en safety program, which will see glow sticks given out to area children to go trick-or-treating.
Silander said the National Report Card will become an annual evaluation to let Safe Communities know where they stand and how they can improve.
“We’re going to have to be on our tails and work diligently to stay where we are,” she admitted. “We set a very high standard, but I think our community and our members can do it.
“We’ve got some bang-up people here, some very dedicated people. I’m sure we can do it—in fact, I know we can,” she enthused.
Silander said the district is preparing to be re-designated a “Safe Community” with the World Health Organization, which now must be done on a five-year, as opposed to a 10-year, basis.
She met with WHO representatives from South America and Sweden while in Brampton, Ont. last month.
“They say we’re very much ready. They looked over all our criteria, and were very proud of us,” she noted. “And again, our report card is going to just be a feather in our bonnet when we go for it.”
After releasing the results of the first National Report Card, which demonstrates major progress in many smaller communities across Canada, Safe Communities Canada founder Paul Kells noted in a press release:
“The path is clear. Avoidable injuries can be reduced and big city mayors could use a little more small-town pride and leadership to get programs and services implemented in their own communities.”
Last Wednesday across the country, designated members of Safe Communities Canada celebrated Canada’s first Safe Communities Canada Day with various ceremonies and activities, including:
•releasing individual community report card results;
•announcing volunteer and business Ambassador for Safety Award recipients; and
•presenting numerous workshops, symposiums, and displays—all celebrating the significant achievements the network has made in 10 years.
Safe Communities Canada is a leader and an important part of a world-wide family of 115 safe communities working with the World Health Organization.
Of the 10 WHO-designated safe communities in North America, six are designated members of Safe Communities Canada (Brockville, Calgary, Rainy River [District], Sault Ste. Marie, Wood Buffalo/Fort McMurray, and Brampton).
The National Report Card indicates another 12 communities are in an excellent position to apply for the same designation.
“The national results released today [Oct. 3} demonstrate that Canadian communities remain international leaders in the implementation and growth of effective programs, products, and services allowing our children, grandparents, co-workers, and neighbours to live in safer environments,” said Kells.
“The overall results paint a very positive picture of the capacity of designated safe communities across the country to make a difference. They are pragmatically engaged, and they have a sense of pride and accomplishment” he added.
The report indicated 97 percent of the communities can demonstrate their efforts in mobilizing their community to become directly involved in program and service delivery to promote safety and reduce injury.
More than 5,000 people participated in safety programs in 25 designated safe communities in the past year.
The report highlights that in the same timeframe, volunteers contributed more than 26,000 hours to the cause of injury prevention and safety promotion in Canada.
“The leadership demonstrated by thousands of individuals in neighbourhoods and communities right across Canada is a strong statement that the country should celebrate,” said Kells.
“The breadth, depth, and cross-sectional membership of local Leadership Tables is nothing short of amazing, with representatives from local government, public health, police, fire, business, emergency medical services, provincial employer compensation boards, and health and safety training agencies,” he noted.
“These people are driven by passion and demonstrate daily a level of care and commitment, for which we are all thankful.”
Safe Communities Canada is a national charitable organization dedicated to helping communities build the capacity and resources they will need as they commit to co-ordinated, thoughtful, and strategic programs to reduce the pain of injury and death, as well as promote a culture of safety in every community in the country.

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