A Day in the Life

INTRODUCTION – New column features social profits 

By THERESA WELLS, Connect Columnist

The Beatle's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released in 1967.  STOCK PHOTO.

The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released in 1967. STOCK PHOTO.

If you think a rather famous song inspired the title of this new column, you would be correct. “A Day in the Life” is the final song on The Beatles infamous “Lonely Hearts Club Band” album released in 1967, a record that became an anthem for an entire generation.

When I approached Dawn Booth, the new editor of this paper, with the concept for this column she suggested this title and I quickly agreed as it captured the essence of what I wanted to do very well.

Over my journey of living in the Wood Buffalo region for the last 14 years, one of the aspects of our communities that has become increasingly important to me is the role of our non-profit organizations.

These organizations, now often referred to as social profit organizations, are the very backbone and glue of our society and we often do not understand how frequently they touch our lives.

From minor sports organizations to the local food bank, from the very smallest to the very largest, these groups are responsible for a good portion of creating quality of life for every resident of this region and their function cannot and should not be underestimated.

The term “social profit” originated at the first Convergence YMM Conference, an annual gathering of non-profit organizations in the region. Diane Shannon, Executive Director of the United Way of Fort McMurray, proposed a shift in the terminology to move away from the negative connotation of “non-profit”, instead focusing on what these groups actually do: profit our community in the social sense.

Despite our recognition of this value, though, we often don’t fully understand how the groups function, what they do in real terms or how they impact our community.

Thus, the term social profit was created and it caught on quickly in the Wood Buffalo area, as perhaps more than anywhere else we see the value of our social profit organizations and the work they do. Despite our recognition of this value, though, we often don’t fully understand how the groups function, what they do in real terms or how they impact our community.

My hope through this column is to profile some of these groups, either through time spent volunteering with them and chronicling my experience or interviews with their organization and their staff and volunteers, in an attempt to better our understanding of them.

Once weekly, I hope you join me for “A Day in the Life” of one of our social profit organizations, as we explore and learn about them together.

– Connect Weekly –