There’s a new, downtown Ottawa centre offering support services related to gender identity, sexual orientation, sexuality and reproductive health.
Kind and Planned Parenthood Ottawa (PPO) are under one roof at 222 Somerset St W. Daily Xtra talked to Carling Miller (Kind’s executive director) and Catherine Macnab (PPO’s executive director) shortly after the organizations moved in together on April 1, 2016.
In this edited interview, Miller and Macnab talk about the importance of funding and volunteers.
Daily Xtra: Carling, in 2015 you talked about being Kind’s only full-time staffer and wanting to change that. How are things looking in terms of bringing on more staff?
Carling Miller: It’s obviously tremendously helpful to be sharing space with someone because we’re also sharing costs. It gives us an opportunity to save a lot more and to pay down our debts a lot quicker, so it’s definitely looking very positive to bring somebody on close to the end of the year or starting in the new year.
Are you looking at bringing in a part-time or full-time employee?
Miller: It depends on how much debt we are able to pay down. We’re functioning pretty well right now because a lot of things are volunteer-driven. We want to bring back our education program and we know that it’s important to have a dedicated person to help manage that, to help train volunteers to book opportunities to do outreach.
Catherine Macnab: One of the things that’s remarkable about both our organizations is the way we rely so heavily on volunteer power. Even though it’s only been such a short while, watching how Kind operates, that people come in and they own the space for the time that they’re the facilitator, that’s the way Planned Parenthood has always operated. Seeing the way that we both rely so fully on volunteers, it’s quite exciting. This is all part of the collaboration that we’re going to have and learning from each other.
Macnab: We’re both small nonprofit organizations and one of the biggest challenges in moving is we have to be so creative in how we are making this space. We want it to be a space where people can walk in and feel very, very welcome and we’re doing it on a shoestring. It would be phenomenal to get support from the community to really create a centre for sexual and reproductive health that incorporates all of sexuality and identity.