Kate do Forno cares about her community and she is putting that passion to use as the project co-ordinator for the C-K Prosperity Roundtable.
A big part of what do Forno has focused on to date is the Breaking Barriers non-juried art show. It’s the third year for the show, which opens March 20 and runs to May 10.
“It’s an art experience. It really brings more awareness to the barriers people face in everyday life,” she said, adding the theme is social inclusion.
Do Forno said Breaking Barriers is a collaborative effort with Chatham-Kent’s employment and social services, in partnership with the Cultural Centre.
The roundtable is made up of representatives of 59 organizations in Chatham-Kent, with a goal of working to eradicate poverty in our municipality.
“This project is near and dear to my heart,” do Forno said. “I sat on it as a representative from the YMCA when I was a staff member there.”
Do Forno said she loves the work the roundtable is doing.
“I’m really passionate about this community. My husband and I made a decision to make Chatham-Kent our home. I come from a very large and loving family that has made this community home too,” she said. “To see fellow community members struggling has made me want to help.”
Overall, Do Forno said there are four areas of focus for the Prosperity Round Table: public awareness and education, advocacy, social inclusion, and food security.
“Certainly there is a big opportunity to do some important education about the realities that are here in Chatham, particularly in regards to transportation, retraining, finding opportunities for employment and all the pieces that tie into them,” she said.
Letting the community know what is taking place here in Chatham-Kent, in terms of supports for those living in poverty, is important, do Forno said.
And the members of the roundtable also must work with every group and organization that “care about the health and well-being of Chatham-Kent.
“Part of my job is just making sure the steering committee directs the larger group. The other part of my role is to ensure the community has that information too,” she said. “We need to let them know we are working collaboratively to better address the needs of the community.”
Do Forno said it is crucial not to just help during a person’s moment of need, but to develop strategies to guide them into the next phase of their lives to help them “for the next 20-30 years.”
Do Forno said there is potential to fine tune the Prosperity Roundtable’s efforts in 2015.
“There are big pockets of opportunity in Chatham-Kent where we can provide some direction and advocacy. There are topics we know are areas of concern in Chatham-Kent. We won’t ignore them,” she said.