Profile: Inspire Community Outreach

In 2013, Angela Taylor founded Inspire Community Outreach. Since then, the organization has held 80 community events and supported 6,000 family members. Inspire provides evidence and culturally informed education and programs designed to meet the needs of people living with mental health issues and neurological or cognitive differences.

“Inspire was founded because we saw that the mental health supports here in Manitoba were falling short of what families needed, and we wanted to address that service gap,” says Lisa van den Hoven, the organization’s chief operating officer.

Inspire is based in Manitoba, but recently expanded into rural Western Ontario, and has become a first stop for families in distress. It’s also one of Project Change Foundation’s 2021 grant recipients, along with the Refugee Women’s Network.

“Since beginning our work, we have realized that running a charity takes more than commitment to the mission,” van den Hoven says. “We also need to seek out good advice in areas such as human resource policy, financial management, contract law, and more. Connecting to the experienced professionals that lead Project Change seemed like a unique opportunity for us to tap into a wealth of knowledge and insight.”

Inspire supports children and youth (along with their families), who have both diagnosed and undiagnosed disabilities, including children with all types of differences including anxiety, Autism, and ADHD. Clients can self-refer, and the organization aims to be affordable by offering services on a sliding scale.

Advocacy, education, and programming for families are provided, and Inspire has an In-Home Stabilization Unit for families with children aged three to 29 who can’t get their needs met through existing services and mental health systems.

“We have created a range of programs that respond to the expressed needs of the community, including stabilization, counselling, service navigation, planning, recreation for wellness, and educational workshops,” van den Hoven says. “Families that include children and youth with differences often struggle to find an understanding professional to come alongside them and provide them with the compassion and knowledgeable guidance they need.”

Since COVID-19 began, the services Inspire offers have become even more critical to the families they serve, as people have been cut off from public resources and their support networks more than ever before.

“We continue to be grateful for the community’s continued support in sharing the work we do, so that we can reach more families and support them to find solutions that work for them,” says Angela Taylor, who is Inspire’s CEO, as well as founder.

One of Inspire’s main goals this year is to build internal policies and procedures so it can continue to be a dependable resource for families in the communities it serves. Part of this work includes creating a strategic plan to build a sustainable funding model.

Project Change Foundation has been tapped to help support the organization’s development goals. This includes helping Inspire attract committed board members, while increasing the engagement and skills of the current board. Project Change Foundation’s grant helps Inspire continue to offer services on a sliding scale.

“We are also developing expanded online resources that can be accessed inexpensively, or completely free,” van den Hoven says. “We strive to be as affordable as possible so that fees for service are never a barrier to access.”

Read more about Inspire Community Outreach on their website.

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