Community coming together
Groups write plan for healthy future

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 24/97) - Rankin Inlet residents have a story to tell.

And with a lot of hard work and determination, that story may end up being a best-seller -- that's what community wellness co-ordinator Gerry Pflueger hopes anyway.

Since February, she's been meeting with concerned individuals and agencies to come up with a plan or plot to make the community a better place to be.

"From the first conference we managed to put together draft of the community story," she said.

"It's really just the community telling its own story -- what the community thinks about who we are, where we're going and where we've been," said Pflueger.

"We got people working in groups looking at different aspects of community life from different points of view," she said.

People from all walks of life attended a February conference that got the whole thing started.

At the end of the meeting, two groups were formed, one to link elders and youth together and the second group discussed community healing.

Each group looked at what kinds of things could be done to support agencies that were doing counselling.

Over the summer the two groups disbanded, but managed to keep a few wellness programs running including a recreation program, a pool program, drop-in centre day camp and a Igalaaq Access program run by a couple of students.

When the groups met two weeks ago they reported their successes. Then they outlined several projects they would like to start in the fall, including a prenatal nutrition project that they've managed to secure $37,000 in funding for from Health and Welfare Canada.

The Healthy Child Initiative is another project that addresses the needs of families with newborns or children up to age 5.

A breakfast program, which has already started at the community high school, is another important wellness project which caters to some 50 or 60 school children.

On Oct. 4 to 6 at Leo Ussak school, those involved in the writing of the community story will be meeting for a second community wellness conference.

"We want to take another look at the community story and come up with our final version of the community story and the strategic plan," Pflueger said.

One of the analogies she likes to use to describe the writing of the story is the building of an igloo.

"You have to have the vision first, that certainly happened at the first conference. We also started to build the foundation for the igloo at that point."

"Now the strategic plan is like cutting the snow blocks and starting to learn how to put it together. Really the placing of the snow blocks is the implementation stage. We started a lot of implementation already by planting these programs by securing some funding," she said.

"There's a lot of doing that has to happen yet and it's a long-term process. It's going to take us a number of years to complete this igloo and then of course we're going to use that knowledge to build better igloos and do more things in the future. There's no end to this."