Episode 9: Dignity, Food and Policy

23 February 2022

In this episode, VCC’s Meaghon Reid sits down with the CEO of The Alex, Joy Bowen-Eyre, to explore what it means to provide dignified services, how food is a convenor and community builder, and how progress comes from investing energy into policy and advocacy.

Published 23 February 2022

Updated 6 April 2022

This episode of Let's Talk Poverty discusses how dignity leads to better outcomes and the need to push further for zero barrier access to programs and services. Examining the need for policies to change as our communities grow and evolve and insights into why it’s important to abandon the status quo.

In this episode

  • Learn more about The Alex. How it’s one of three community health centres in Alberta, how they focus on providing dignified services, and how operating with a fully integrated and multidisciplinary team cultivates a diverse environment where people understand that there’s not just one way to solve an issue.
  • Commentary on how food is a convenor, and how The Alex Community Food Centre’s culture of give and take is an approach that builds community.
  • Why moving away from the status quo means investing time and energy into policy and advocacy.

Three key takeaways

  • A reminder that when you look at what can be done and what’s possible, you recognize that every problem is solvable.
  • That just because we have policies written down, it doesn’t mean they’re meant to last forever. As we grow and evolve and as our communities change, as the environment and politics change, we have to be ever-ready and responsive to policy changes.
  • Why the Enough for All principle of ‘dignity for all’ connects to The Alex’s ambitions of providing zero-barrier access to programs and services.

About Joy Bowen-Eyre

As a recognized leader in Calgary’s social services community, Joy Bowen-Eyre has a passion for community health, social services and education and intimate knowledge of Calgary’s non-profit sector. She brings the experience, leadership and love for community that is needed in her role as Chief Executive Officer at The Alex Community Health Centre. Joy worked with vulnerable youth and families in Calgary’s non-profit social services sector for 22 years before delving into politics. In 2010, Joy was elected as a Trustee with the Calgary Board of Education and served as Board Chair from 2014-2017. She has a deep passion for advocacy, public services, public education access to exceptional quality healthcare for all. Following public service, Joy worked for the United Way as the Director of Government Relations working with local non-profits to advocate for good public policy. Joy has a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Education. She also Co-Chairs the Calgary Social Policy Collaborative 

About The Alex

The Alex is a non-profit health and social services organization that has provided integrated and accessible supports and thoughtful, comprehensive care to Calgarians for almost 50 years. With a full complement of health, housing, and community programs, the Alex is a hub of supports and outreach services for people who are experiencing poverty, trauma, social isolation, or health challenges including addiction.

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