Oct. 2022
Hello ICO friends and journal readers!

Over the past few months, ICO has gone through great change, and we are thrilled to showcase it for you within this issue. In honour of Mental Health Awareness month, we have included a fantastic summary of how to maintain your mental health, which is particularly important as we head into the colder months.

We held our Annual General Meeting in June, and you can read a summary of it below. There will be more information in the next issue on the exciting changes that are coming to ICO.

 We hope you enjoy this issue of our Journal! 

Yours in Friendship,

The ICO World Team


Table of Contents 


  • Camosun College Partnership
  • ICO AGM Review
  • Regional Updates
  • Mental Health Awareness Week 





ICO x Camosun Collaboration 

Catalina Roberts

In September 2021, ICO began a partnership with Camosun College and their COMMS 420 class. COMMS 420 is a capstone marketing course focused on project management skills. This collaboration has allowed the enhancement of ICO initiatives through their ability to connect on various social media platforms to reach a larger audience. 

During the fall semester, we had 5 initiatives take part in the capstone project: Vietnam Education, Tanzania MamaPower, San Antonio Education and Community, Nepal Kaski Education, and Kobian Matoto School Scholarships. The initiatives benefitted from this collaboration by participating in a November Showcase event at Camosun College, learning about donor contributions and obtaining marketing material that can be used for future events. 

For the winter semester, we had another 5 initiatives benefit from the project: Vietnam Education, Children of Mali, Kawangware School Scholarships and Build (Kenya), Tanzania MamaPower Education for All, and Nepal Kaski Education. As you can see, we had some initiatives repeat from the fall semester as they saw great benefit from the project and wanted to continue the collaboration. The main focus of the winter semester was to increase social media followers, increase donations, and expand knowledge about the important work being done globally. 

We are thrilled to announce that 4 additional initiatives and one of the ICO leadership groups will continue this collaboration. We are looking forward to building a strong relationship with Camosun College and its COMMS 420 class. It has been a great benefit for our initiatives, and we believe it will be a great experience for the new initiatives participating this time around. 

AGM Recap 

Catalina Roberts 

On June 25, 2022, InnovativeCommunities.Org Foundation hosted their first hybrid Annual General Meeting (AGM) for members. Hosting this event virtually allowed for great representation of our board members and initiative leads who are located globally. 

During the AGM, changes were made within the Board of Trustees. James Avery transitioned from co-chair of the Board to a trustee. Claire Butler has stepped into the co-chair position. Emily Cabrera stepped down as a trustee after years of service to ICO, and we are forever grateful for her contributions over the years. Tessa Cleveland was appointed as a trustee; coming from a representative position within the organization, she will bring a unique lens to ICO. 

Following the adjournment of the AGM, ICO hosted a social and presentation session. During the social section, Catalina Roberts (Lead of Communications and Communities) had an active discussion about what human rights means to us individually and collectively. The general consensus was that it was the idea that we can feel safe and know that we have the ability to access the resources we need. We, at ICO, hope to continue to bring this concept of human rights into our work with initiatives and people globally. 

Following the social activity, Yves Parizeau, John Jordan, Karen Schrey, and Colleen Hanley showcased their work with Camosun College; you can see their excellent work on their social media accounts as well as the ICO website.

We are thrilled to have a growing relationship with Camosun College and their Communications 420 class, which enables our initiatives to showcase their wonderful work globally and to raise funds, so they can continue to make a difference in the global condition.

It is important to remember that before anything else, we are friends working together. Our AGMs are not the conventional type; rather, they are a collaboration designed to show how we have improved over the past year and how we hope to go into the future as a collective. 

Happy's Grad Day
Photo courtesy of: Bukoba School Sponsorship Initiative

Vietnam Graduates Photo courtesy of: Vietnam Education Initiative  

Compost and Recycling

Photo courtesy of: Chaquijya Compost & Recycling Initiative



Mental Health Awareness Week 

Renita Dalmeida 

What is mental health? How has its definition progressively changed over the years? 

According to a study done by Columbia university (Phelan, 2000), in the 1950s it was defined as “a public conception of mental health with any unusual, violent, harm to others behaviours, attitudes or psychiatric conditions.”

In 2000, mental health shifted to focus on the fundamentals of health and well-being (Preboth, 2000). This was done by diagnosing variables of the patient as per the events that occurred in their personal life. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) now conceptualizes mental health as a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

According to the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH), 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental illness. Statistically, people with mental illnesses are most likely to be victims of substance abuse. In the homeless population in Canada alone, between 23 and 67 percent suffer from mental illnesses. Over 35 percent of Canadians have testified that their lives have been affected by mental health problems either personally or within their families. 

Common factors of poor mental health are lower quality of life, chronic pain, and prolonged stress, all of which can result in depression, anxiety, and various other mental health difficulties. 

Mental health has been linked to the social, emotional, and psychological factors of an individual. A balance between activities and life wellbeing can result in better cognitive functions, decision-making, and stress management. 

What can you do? 

As it is hard to live a balanced life in this fast-paced world, here are some suggestions that you can use for your mental well-being. 

  1. Talk to a friend.
  2. Grow spiritually: give yourself some quiet time to meditate everyday for at least 15 minutes. Or you could indulge in some good spiritual growth books. This may help you to get better sleep and to focus throughout your day.
  3. Sign up for activities: Take a look at your city’s event calendar and get involved, or check out a Facebook group for hobbies that you might enjoy. 
  4. Talk to a therapist: there are hundreds of licensed professional therapists that provide virtual services and in-person counseling, psychological services, art therapy, and psychotherapy. #talktotherightperson.

 “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” -Oprah Winfrey.

Above all be your best motivator.


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Mental illness and addiction: Facts and statistics. https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics 

Phelan, Jo C., et al. (2000). Public conceptions of mental illness in 1950 and 1996: What Is mental illness and Is it to be feared?” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 188–207. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/2676305. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

Preboth, M. (2000). Surgeon General releases mental health report. American family physician vol. 61,12: 3739-40.


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