Mobilizing Community-Led Action: What Helps Families Thrive in the Context of Adversity During the COVID19 Pandemic and Beyond
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Adverse Community Environments make up the Pair of ACEs — family and community level factors that have a huge social and economic cost and prevent children, families and communities from reaching their full potential. Preliminary suggest that certain groups already affected by the pair of ACEs are being disproportionately impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic. This is important to the long term wellbeing of our communities. The impact on children’s psychological wellbeing and exposure to ACEs, as well as the impact on preexisting gaps in education between these children and their more privileged counterparts risk having irreparable and life-long impacts. Despite these significant challenges, in every community, there exist examples of resilience — people whose uncommon but successful strategies lead to better solutions and outcomes than their peers in the context of similar situations and resources.
Objectives: The overarching goal of this Partnership Development Grant is to examine the factors contributing to the well-being and resilience of children and families facing adversity (Phase 1) and to co-create a Community Action Plan with innovative solutions to help families and communities thrive (Phase 2). This will be achieved through the strengthening and development of a cross-sectoral, community-based participatory research partnership between academic researchers, community researchers and community-based organizations in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington region (KFL&A). This partnership will expand upon the preliminary work of I-CREAte: Innovations for community resilience, equity and advocacy, a community based participatory research group that began with a small pilot grant in 2020. Additional objectives of this project include meaningful knowledge mobilization leading to implementation of our Community Action Plan, and training and mentoring of students and community based researchers in community based participatory research.
Partnership: This multisectoral partnership will include a Community Advisory Board (CAB), seven Partner Organizations, four Academic Researchers (Applicants) from Queen’s University with backgrounds in community-based research with equity-seeking populations; and four Collaborators: community researchers from varied backgrounds and with expertise in working with equity seeking groups. The CAB has representation of over 20 organizations and will support oversight and provide direction for partnership activities, ensuring knowledge mobilization to their various constituents. The Partner Organizations include community organizations within KFL&A providing services and representation to children and families, newcomers, and the French speaking community, among others. These Partner Organizations have for the most part already been sitting on the Community Advisory Board during the pilot phase and have familiarity with the I-CREAte team. Their presence is instrumental in ensuring feasibility of Phase 1 recruitment and implementation. Most importantly, they ensure that Phase 2 Community Action Plan is relevant to the community, feasible for community organizations and implementing partners, and that knowledge mobilization and action can be completed in a meaningful way. The I-CREAte partnership has received partial financial support from Queen’s University and will be able to be even more effective at creating innovative and actionable research with SSHRC support. This Partnership is uniquely positioned to ensure meaningful, action-oriented community based research that can have ongoing benefits to the community and that can serve as a prototype for meaningful community based research partnerships in other communities.