I am pleased to highlight two recent developments at Shalem. They both speak to simultaneous impulses or directions that we experience at Shalem: looking outward to extend our ministry of seeking the Gospel in a mental health context, and looking inward to improve our outward practice.
We are seeking to move in these two directions within our organization, with our clients and participants, and with our partners across communities and the mental health field. Both of these directions tie into one of the three focus areas of Shalem’s Strategic Plan, namely to become more and more intentional about our engagement with the community and among ourselves.
New Contract Represents a Milestone for Shalem
I am delighted to announce that Shalem was selected by the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections as the successful bidder for a two-year contract to deliver psychotherapy services. The contract means that one of our therapists, Stephen Doucet Campbell, will provide psychotherapy to people on probation in Hamilton who are dealing with addictions issues. The clients will be preselected by Hamilton-based probation officers, the service will be offered onsite at Hamilton probation offices, and the contract begins on October 10, 2017.
I am thrilled with this development for several reasons. First, Stephen Doucet Campbell is an outstanding therapist with a specialization in addictions—a terrific fit. The second is that one of the leading people in the addictions field in Canada, Dr. Rick Csiernik, will provide clinical consultation and support. Rick, a professor of Social Work at King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, is a great friend of Shalem and the co-author of several published and forthcoming essays about our Congregational Assistance Plan program.
The third is that this is Shalem’s first service delivery contract with the Ontario government. Prior to this, Shalem received two grants from the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health towards the development of a robust evaluation regime for our WrapAround program, and we have enjoyed numerous WrapAround training contracts funded by Public Safety Canada (a federal ministry) and by the Manitoba government. But this is our first service delivery contract with the Ontario government—a real milestone! It speaks to confidence by the public sector in the work of Shalem.
The “Outward Mindset”
On July 11, Shalem staff gathered together for our annual Staff In-Service Day. The day is a highlight of our year: in a retreat-like setting, we reflect on a theme that is important or relevant to our work.
This year we focused on our outward posture as a ministry, using a new book about organizational culture called The Outward Mindset, published by the Arbinger Institute in the United States. The book highlights stories of companies, organizations and workplaces that operate out of either an “inward” or an “outward” mindset.
An inward mindset focuses on outdoing the competition, feathering your own nest, and securing your own future as an organization. An outward mindset focuses on service of others, on collaboration, and on taking risks that may even appear to threaten your survival as an organization or business. The first is focused on self-interest and self-aggrandizement; the second on service of others. It’s not hard to see the Biblical rootedness of the “outward mindset.”
As a staff, we undertook a “Strengths and Needs Discovery” of ourselves: what are our “outward mindset” strengths, and how can we do better at being outwardly minded?
We then watched a remarkable video about organizational structure and did an exercise to “map” which organizational and leadership structure (or hybrid structure) depicted in the video accurately reflects where we are. It was a fascinating exercise—and nine-minute video—and I recommend it highly to anyone.
All of this is support for another new partnership that I am thrilled to announce: the Catalyst Foundation has recently accepted Shalem into a three-year collaboration, with funding, dedicated to “Leadership Development” at Shalem. All of the themes we focused on at our staff day together will figure into this exciting work over the next three years. We are most grateful to the Catalyst Foundation for this beautiful support.
The day was a most fruitful and engaging one for all of us. And it ended with one of our favourite activities: a potluck BBQ supper together.
We have much to be thankful for at Shalem—and much to look forward and “outward” to. Thank you for your ongoing engagement and support!
Mark Vander Vennen, MA, M.Ed, R.S.W., is Shalem’s Executive Director