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The Circle of Life (circleoflife.site)

The Circle of Life website went live June, 2021. It was designed to be informative and to advocate for the two most vulnerable segments of our society, the very young and the very old. It is interesting that the abilities learned in early life are the very ones that people struggle to maintain as they grow older. Ageism, according to many, is the most prominent “ism” of them all. We are hoping to address this by publishing on our website short biographies of individuals that contributed to their communities well into their old age. We also hope that this website will stimulate donations to our endowment fund at the Winnipeg Foundation, the Circle of Life Endowment Fund.

Eleanor Suderman, my wife, and I started to build this endowment fund in 2010/2011. We are very grateful to the Winnipeg Foundation for the help and friendship they have provided us. The website contains a section explaining how the fund came to be and links our pasts to the objectives of the fund.

I would like to expand just a little about how the website links to my 36 years at RRC. During this period I became interested in the scientific linkages between life experiences and health. It began when I read Stress without Distress by Hans Selye, published in 1974. One thing led to another, the years sped by, and then Joan Kunderman, Chair of Community Services, and I met with Dr. Fraser Mustard (President, The Founders’ Network) in his offices in Toronto in early January, 2001. Jane Bertrand from George Brown College joined us by telephone. This meeting led to the development of the Science of Early Child Development (SECD) online learning program, a model that translates the latest research for application by child care professionals and policy makers.

Dr. Mustard worked tirelessly with the objective of ensuring every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, is offered a rich selection of early childhood experiences so that all children will grow and optimize their life courses. He saw that this was a way of levelling the playing field for all.  I recommend that you google Dr. Fraser Mustard and learn more about him.

I tried to build this website myself but managed to get just a little ways. Holly Clarke of Waterloo Design House took us most of the way. Coincidentally her house is across the back lane from where I grew up.

Guy, thanks for the opportunity to write this piece.

Barry Garbutt

3 replies »

  1. Thanks, Barry. A great write up on an important topic and reminder of a leader in ECD.
    I once spent a year on leave at University of New Brunswick and organized an conference in Heath care with Dr Mustard as keynote speaker. As such, became his assistant/driver for his time there. He was a diligent force in the field of early childhood development with little time for pomp and Bureaucrats. I think a correlation of his ECD work with an ageing population’s needs is astute.

    He would be pleased with your work.

    Paul

  2. This a great article. Thanks Barry for sharing. You look great by the way. I will look into some of the suggestions in your article. Once I finished reading the article the first thought I had about good healthy social experiences for children was survivors of residential schools, how they missed out, and the sequential generations were affected due to their abhorrent experiences. I just finished reading “Five Little Indians “ . It is an awesome read, it brings the reality of 5 survivors of residential schools and their families into perspective. The stories are true. I hope that “We” can be a part of the change and healing that needs to take place so that our community can in harmony and a healthy future.

  3. Wow, what an amazing endowment fund. My Mom is 94, also a nurse and often comments on how she feels like she is back to a child like state……thus the circle of life. Thanks for this Barry.

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