Power To Be uses a Theory Of Change framework as an evaluation tool that looks at the intricacies of people and how they change behaviourally, physically, and socially. Our program theory of change is: “Power To Be’s participants’ sense of self and community is positively increased by removing barriers to access nature-based programs”. To achieve this change, our programming approach is guided by 8 outcomes to support growth and impact in our participants.

The term “Social Distancing” has become an all too familiar phrase as the world has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced physical contact with our communities. As we have journeyed through waves of isolation in the past year, it has highlighted for many the importance of connection and strong relationships to maintain our resiliency and health.

At Power To Be, one of our Theory of Change program outcomes is “Social Skills”. This acknowledges the importance of creating space and opportunity through our programs for participants, staff and volunteers to connect with each other. We strive to have a safe space that allows folks to practice social interactions, learn, teach, grow and develop healthy relationships. Our hope is that these strengthened skills will have a positive ripple effect into participant’s lives beyond Power To Be, whether that is with peers, family, school or work.

Although this has always been an important area for programs, over the past year the opportunity to socialize and connect with like-minded peers has been one of the greatest needs identified by our participants. Starting in April 2020, we begun two very successful virtual programs that were designed to meet this need. Participants were able to drop in when they needed to, and would find a fun, engaging and open space to be with others. On multiple occasions we had participants share with staff that these opportunities were the best part of their week, as they knew they would leave the program with a smile on their face!

As opportunities for in-person programs increased, our staff witnessed the re-connection of many participants who had a newfound gratitude for each other and being able to be together in nature. One staff member reflected recently that one of their favourite moments of a program is hearing of friendships being made that will extend beyond the Power To Be program. Additionally, from parents we often hear stories of how the interactions that occur in Power To Be programs have supported their youth in other parts of their lives. Sometimes it is better communication with family members and peers, or seeing their confidence increase leading to a happy experience at summer camp, or a leadership role at school or work. We have amazing people in our community and are grateful to play a small role in fostering a stronger and more resilient community together.

“Especially in this time of a pandemic, we have all gone through some highs and lows. But one thing it’s taught us is the importance of everyone having a connection to something or someone. Power To Be does such important work to help individuals feel that”  

Power To Be Volunteer