Small Steps Big Change – 2nd Anniversary

On November 13th 2019, the Diabetes Prevention Research Group at the University of British Columbia and the YMCA of Okanagan celebrated their second anniversary of the Small Steps for Big Changes program. This community partner event was held on the eve of World Diabetes Day and hosted over 70 diabetes prevention stakeholders from the academic, clinical and community contexts at the Laurel Packing House, downtown Kelowna. Small Steps for Big Changes alumni and program ambassador, Lois Hourston, was the master of ceremonies. Dr. Rob Shave, the Director of the School of Health & Exercise Sciences and the University of British Columbia, kick started the event, followed by shared insights from Dr. Mary Jung, Director of the Diabetes Prevention Research Group & Small Steps for Big Changes. She shared program successes and discussed insights of next steps toward diabetes prevention sustainability within the Okanagan region and beyond. The group then heard from Jason Nijjar, Health and Fitness Coach at the YMCA of Okanagan, who is a Small Steps for Big
Changes trainer. He spoke of his experiences engaging in the training and delivering the program, including the value of motivational interviewing as a tool in helping other make health behaviour changes. He also shared how he has been impacted by the program, in seeing individuals work toward and achieve their goals within the YMCA walls. Finally, Sharon Peterson, Chief Executive Officer and president of the YMCA of Okanagan reflected on how hosting such a program in the
YMCA has been beneficial for them in achieving their organizational goals of reaching individuals who are ready to be fit in the community. This event also allowed for a platform to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between partners to illustrate their commitment to partnership and the program.
The evening finished off with door prize winnings donated by local sponsors, mixing and mingling over canapés and wine, pictures in the photo booth, and engaging in the annual Participant Advisory Committee and Stakeholder Advisory Committee meetings. This event was a tribute to the many achievements of clients’ continuous dedication towards their health.