Episode 2: We all have a part to play with Bev Esslinger
KottageVision was created with the purpose to highlight individuals who are making a positive impact in our community. In this episode of KottageVision, Janine Fraser welcomes Bev Esslinger, an Edmonton City Councillor, to discuss the importance of working together to create a safe future for our city’s infants, children and families.
Bev has spearheaded multiple incentives to strengthen our community. During her term as city councillor, Bev has been co-leading the child-friendly initiative focused on making Edmonton a safer and friendlier place for children. She is also leading Edmonton’s gender-based violence initiative to tackle gender inequalities as she believes a city that is safe for women is safe for everyone.
Throughout this conversation, Bev explains how her passion for serving the community, and keeping infants, children and families safe developed at a young age. With the influence of her mother, Bev adopted the idea that recognizing the value of a child can positively impact how they see themselves, and the direction of their life.
While there were many great points discussed throughout this episode, we have outlined a few of the highlights below:
We all have a voice (5:51)
As crises arise in family situations, children often become the hidden victims. Throughout Bev’s experience with community involvement, she mentioned that an important lesson she has learned is each individual has a voice, and a part to play.
“The thing I think is important is not to do things to people, but to do things with people,” Bev explained. “So many times we do things for kids, but we don’t ask them.”
She went on to talk about the importance of “seeing” our community’s children and providing them opportunities to share their voices. When we see things that are happening to children, whether it’s homelessness, lack of education, abuse, intergenerational trauma, or injustices of any form, it makes us want to do even more to protect them. As individuals, we each have the ability in our own world to make a difference in whatever capacity we might have. And as a community, we must collectively work to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable among us.
How is our city working to help? (7:08)
As Edmontonians, we are so fortunate to have city leaders who truly care about the betterment of our community. As a city councillor, Bev explained how community leaders across her ward, non-profit organizations, community leaders and business leaders all come together to find ways they can work together to better our community, and how we can continue to connect with each other.
“Connection is what shapes our world,” Bev explained. “Our new city plan we are rolling out this fall, and how we envision our city looking in 2050, is centered around connection. That is how you build a strong community - one connection at a time.”
Connecting families with the resources and community they need (17:05)
Kids Kottage serves as the human bridge between families in need and a community of resources; and the need is greater now than ever before.
Whether families are struggling with finding affordable housing, food security, job loss, extreme poverty, or whatever the case - it’s vital parents are connected with the resources they need.
Bev and Janine discuss the role a support system plays in raising children, especially when hardships arise. Families within our community, and those who rely on Kids Kottage often don’t have a support system to turn to. This is why it is so important that we continue to work together to create a stronger, more resilient future for our entire community and fill the gaps for families who don’t have access to the necessary resources and support.
We need each other now more than ever (27:05)
Family violence is on the rise. “Just watching domestic violence statistics, we can see we are up 20% compared to last year at this time,” Bev explained. Many people are currently facing a multitude of challenges, and we have never been more isolated, nor more vulnerable.
Bev and Janine explain how one of the best ways we can create a safer community is by having open, honest, and transparent conversations with people in our networks to help raise awareness around these prevalent issues.
“You can make a profound difference by starting with one child,” Bev said. And we could not agree more.
We hope you enjoy this episode of KottageVision and are left inspired to make a difference. In the meantime, you can subscribe to our email list to stay up to date on upcoming episodes, and follow us on our social channels at @kidskottageyeg.