Creative Spark 2.0

I am please to advise that after ten years of community focused success*1 many Creative Spark stakeholders*2 have suggested collaborating with likeminded organizations to support even more people struggling with mental health.

Covid-19

With the advent of Covid-19 supporting individuals and their families struggling with mental health issues has become even more important.   For the remainder of 2020 Creative Spark will be focusing its programing via the Internet.

As of May 1st, 2020, The Creative Spark is looking to collaborate as much as possible with various groups and individuals whose mandate is to support those struggling with mental health. 

Creative Spark value added contribution includes ‘Cloud’ based IT and ‘AI’ expertise as well as our past community engagement success*1.   For us, collaboration can be as simple as a telephone conversation, or working hand in hand with promising individuals and organizations. 

Please Note: The Creative Spark – Logon for Mental Wellness program
focuses on working within each community; leveraging local resources while collaborating directly with recognized regional and national organizations.

Our focus is on the development of psychological resilience for everyone.

It is important to state, the Creative Spark does not treat specific mental Illnesses.  These are best left to mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, registered psychologists, family physicians and government health clinics.

All Creative Spark programing, however, is developed in collaboration with mental health professionals and supported by our SafetyNet*3 protocol.


*1 Working with over 4000 K-12 students Success Outcomes as stated by the University of Alberta School of Public Health – Healthy Schools Initiative.  Does not include adults and private sector businesses also supported by Creative Spark between 2006-present

*2 Creative Spark Stakeholders include: Alberta Health Services Mental Health and Addiction; Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Peer support; Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund; Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction, AB; Creative Works Studio; St. Paul Alternative Education Centre; Palliser Regional School Division; Health and Social Services Northwest Territories; Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre; Canadian Rockies Public Schools; Jack.org; Mental Illness Stigma Support; Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity;

First Nations: Stoney Nakoda, Exshaw and Morley; Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Whitefish Lake FN, Kehewin Cree Nation, St. Paul; Ucluelet First Nation, BC

*3 Safety Net Protocol refers to a Creative Spark confirmation and/or recommendations for every Creative Spark session to have up-to-date and well understood and locally applicable procedures to support participants and/or facilitators should anyone present a risk to themselves or the people around them or express a need for professional help.  In addition, no less then two adults (18+) are present for all Creatives Spark activities.   All participants are advised upfront inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated and will automatically terminate the session.

Walk About for Mental Health

I am pleased to introduce the Creative Spark “Walk About for Mental Health” program.  This program is designed to get people with mental health issues (like me) moving about within their own community.  A special thanks to an old friend Chris Pegram who inspired the idea (was part of simple First Nations trade he gave me).  Chris is a cultural educator for Nakoda Elementary School.

The program is what I would call in ‘Beta’ testing and like all Creative Spark programs we start small.  This means I’m doing the walk about (with my faithful friend Hudson) while at the same time I learn from the experts how simple walking (or hiking) improves mental health.

I am proud to say I am up to 10km + hiking every other day.  My doctor has suggested I am at risk of developing a ‘habit’, a ‘good habit’.  After a couple of months I am now using a GPS to track my distance, good routes and even calories burned.  Although I have only lost a few pounds (muscle I’m hoping) the benefit to my psychological well being is remarkable.  I am looking forward to learning more about why this is, even if it is obvious I want to learn more.

Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund

Working in Mental Health as a volunteer is a Long and Winding Road (L-M).  I am extremely pleased on this World Mental Health Day to announce the Creative Spark is a recipient of the Bell 2018 Let’s Talk Community Fund. This is our second grant from Bell. With many thanks to Caylee LaBranche and our incredible Directors we launched our new program Creative Spark Development in May. This is a four-year program supporting other Grass Roots Programs to help them achieve success and sustain their great work in Mental Health for no less then four years. Newspaper pic taken from Globe & Mail October 10, 2018. A special personal thanks to my very supportive and loving family. More announcements to come soon… embrace the rapture!

The Creative Spark is pleased to announce the launch of our new program CREATIVE SPARK DEVELOPMENT.
As we prepare our new website please feel free to read the following Project Overview.

MENTORING AND SUPPORT
for
GRASS ROOTS PROGRAMS

Project Overview

Effective grass roots programs improve mental health at the community level. Many promising grass roots programs lack best practices, good governance and proper alignment with regional mental health stakeholders.

Rob has acted as a mentor, advisor and coach to numerous members of the not-for-profit community.  He freely shares his insights, best practices and learnings from 10+ years as the Executive Director of a successful not-for-profit operation.  Likewise, as a former Fortune 500 CIO Rob brings a pragmatic acumen for collaboration while getting things done.

His passion to support mental health knows few limits.

I am confident his initiative Creative Spark Development will help other community focused grass roots organizations thrive.

Ted Moriarty – Director Organization Development Seneca College
previously Director of: STAPLES Canada; Loblaw Companies; Rogers Communications
Board of Directors – Creative Spark Inc. Logon for Mental Wellness

Project Description: Leveraging Creative Spark’s ten-year track record as a successful community-based grass roots mental health program, Creative Spark Development’s mission is to help other community focused grass roots programs (GRPs) improve their best practices and governance. Embolden them, make them stronger and more sustainable so they can provide better support for individuals and their families dealing with mental health issues.

Using five Strategic Pillars, Creative Spark Development works with GRPs across Canada to improve their core business skills and to collaborate more effectively with other GRPs while establishing relationships with their regional stakeholders. These include provincial healthcare services, national mental health agencies and community based clinics and professionals.

Over the next four years our goal is to support up to 780 GRPs across Canada. This support may end up reaching as many as 1.5 million people suffering from the negative impacts of mental illness. Likewise, many thousands of volunteers and the regional stakeholders already invested in their communities’ benefit in equal measure.

Cloud Based Technology: In addition to face to face collaboration and training, to connect with GRPs across the country and in remote communities Creative Spark Development uses a proprietary cloud-based portal which combines online workshops, e-training as well as an interactive set of modules for each Strategic Pillar, what we call the GRP TOOL KIT.

Why Grass Roots Programs? Community based Grass Roots Programs are paramount to the support and recovery of those suffering with mental illness. Well managed GRPs provide significant help reducing shame and low self-esteem through resilience building and helping to fight the stigma around mental illness. Although well-intentioned, many GRPs lack solid best practices, good governance and are not sustainable over the long run.

Objectives: Creative Spark Development’s overall objective is to support community-focused, mental health oriented GRPs by improving their best practices, governance, increase collaboration with other GRPs, reduce strategic overlap, share resources (financial and otherwise) and to align with regional stakeholders.

Creative Spark Development does not charge GRPs for the services provided. We operate on external funding. Our sponsors and collaborative partners include Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund; Alberta Health Services Addiction and Mental Health; Mental Health Commission of Canada; Alberta Government’s Ever Active Schools; Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental health and Addiction; Microsoft Canada; and more.

Creative Spark Development is a Not-for-Profit four-year initiative (May 2018 to April 2022) developed and run by Creative Spark Inc.-Logon for Mental Wellness. © 2016-2018

For more information, please contact:
Rob Heighington, Founder Creative Spark Inc.  Logon for Mental Wellness
Email: info@creativespark.ca

Creative Spark Development – 2018

As founder of the Creative Spark Logon for Mental Wellness I am thrilled to announce the launch of our new NFP program CREATIVE SPARK DEVELOPMENT.

With the amazing support of our GM Caylee LaBranche we kicked off our new initiative May 1st 2018. The program runs until April 2022.

Caylee LaBranche – GM Creative Spark Development

For Creative Spark Development we are leveraging our own ten-year track record as a successful community based grass roots mental health program.   Creative Spark Development will improve and embolden other Grass Roots Programs (GRPs) across Canada.  By supporting promising Grass Roots Programs in a structured way they in turn improve their particular strength and reach to support individuals and families struggling with mental health issues within the community(s) they serve.

Community based Grass Roots Programs are paramount to the support and recovery of those suffering with mental illness. Well managed Grass Roots Programs provide significant help reducing shame and low self-esteem through resilience building and helping to fight the stigma around mental illness. They also provide a direct link to professional services where and when they are needed, what we call the Safety Net.

We are also excited to show off our new logo (see above).

If you are interested in learning more please feel free to contact me at info@creativespark.ca

Rob Heighington – Founder Creative Spark

PSA collaboration with CCHS and The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre

The Creative Spark Public Service Announcement (PSA) program is pleased to announce the release of our latest PSAs created by the students of Canmore Collegiate High School (CCHS) in partnership with the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre Youth Champion program. Creative Spark PSAs start with simple improv skits whereby the students come up with their own ideas around the mental health issues facing high school students today. From improv to script students create each PSA working closely with their school guidance councillor and provincial mental health and addiction counsellors. The Creative Spark process enables students to write, edit, workshop and then video tape their own material and then share it with the school and interested communities. In this case Creative Spark teamed with CCHS and The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre Youth Champion program to produce three PSAs.

All About the People

The Creative Spark works closely within each community. In addition to the many professional educators and healthcare professionals we have had the privilege to work with a growing number of local volunteers.

Volunteers are needed to help with all aspects of The Creative Spark. From helping with Art supplies to supervision of our painting workshops, outside walk-abouts and improv activities.

Creative Spark Receives Bell Let’s Talk Community Grant

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The Creative Spark is thrilled to be a recipient of this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund. This latest grant supports our growing success of the Creative Spark – Logon for Mental Wellness program and specifically the Building Dreams to Believe In project.

The Building Dreams project comes to life as participants push their dreams to the fullest and then find creative ways to solve the real life challenges that are in the way.

Adults and Students participate in creative activities focused around art, improv and storytelling. At the same time they are exposed to common emotional triggers such as frustration and peer pressure.   Healthy relationships are also introduced into the process, all in a very safe, gentle and engaging way.  The result includes building resilience, persistence and creative problem solving.

All Creative Spark programs are developed in collaboration with educators, community social services and mental health experts. Using university specified methodology The Creative Spark evaluation process has been ranked in the top 1% of best practices returning results that are consistently above and beyond desired outcome and objectives.

For more information please feel free to contact us at info@creativespark.ca or call Rob at 403 688-0883.

Bell-lets-talk-logo

Students do improv skits around friendship and peer pressure

In Collaboration with Lawrence Grassi Middle School (Canadian Rockies Public Schools), and Alberta Health Services The Creative Spark – Building Dreams to Believe In conducted a series of improv activities with Lawrence Grassi Middle School students reflecting on the challenges of peer pressure and friendship.

Improv Friendship

Students chose five different aspects around the subject and then came up with a positive approach to each aspect which they performed in skits.  Following each skit the students reflected as a group on the positive ideas they can apply to everyday life.   Skits are videotaped for in-school educational health and wellness programming.

The Creative Spark – Building Dreams to Believe In project is a grateful recipient of Lafarge Community Outreach funding.  A true collaborative program the Creative Spark works closely within the school curriculum as well as receiving input and participation from school guidance councillors, community and provincial healthcare services (mental health and addiction) councillors as well as it links with municipal social series.

The Creative Spark would also like to thank the Canmore Improv Association also know as The CIA.  In addition to working closely with Schools and Public Health councillors the CIA Performance Improv Troupe has contributed both creative input as well as fund raising on behalf of the Creative Spark program, thank you.