#OCChangemakers 2022-2023 End-Of-Year Updates: Elisa & Celynne

Updates from Celynne & Elisa at the end of their one year of implementing their projects as an #OCChangemaker.

Into The Rainbow: A Welcome Guide For Loved Ones
Elisa Hollingsworth, Peterborough

Project Highlights & Impacts

In 2022, Elisa received the #OCChangemakers micro-grant to fund her project, Into The Rainbow: A Welcome Guide For Loved Ones. This is a 20-page booklet with resources, definitions, words of advice, local art and poetry, and so much more.

Through the Ontario Changemakers Program, I was given the opportunity to grow. Through my time with this program, I have been challenged, inspired, successful, tired, excited, and supported. This was my first project of this size, and I learned so much about my community, myself, and managing projects,” reflects the Peterborough-based Changemaker at the one-year mark of her project. 

This project was created to give loved ones of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community a place to start, knowing that a lot of the time, the people they love may be well-intentioned but don’t know where to begin learning. Of this funding, 48% went directly into the hands of 2SLGBTQIA+ people and loved ones through honoraria, paying for art/poetry, and a $5 gift card for a queer-owned café in town put in every copy of the initial limited print. 76% of funding stayed in Peterborough/Nogojiwanong, and 85% stayed in Ontario. “I am really excited about those numbers; a big priority for this project was to support my community with this funding, and I feel that I was successful in that!” shares Elisa proudly. 

Copies are available to pick up at eight not-for-profits in Peterborough/Nogo, were handed out at Norwood and Toronto Prides, and Is also available to download on the Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough’s Website and within the Transgender and Non-Binary Guidelines implemented at CFB Edmonton and accessed by military members and their families across the military base. The Changemaker is in the process of creating relationships with health clinics as well as secondary and post-secondary educational settings to have it available in those spaces as well. Together, over 400 copies have been distributed since the end of May 2023.  

People have shared stories of showing the booklet to their parents when they came out, of sharing it with friends and teachers at school, and to finding validation within the pages.

8 80 Cities and The Balsam Foundation gave me this opportunity to share my community, and I’ll always be grateful for this opportunity. Keep an eye out for the second book in this project, Into The Rainbow: A Workbook for Loved Ones – Coming soon! 

About Elisa
Elisa Hollingsworth (she/her) is a 25-year-old living and working in Peterborough/Nogojiwanong.
Throughout her time at the OCC Studio, hosted by 8 80 Cities, The Peterborough-based Changemaker experienced incredible learning opportunities. From meeting everyone in Toronto for workshops and monthly meetings with speakers to the trials of creating adequate programming for her project.

#socialinclusion #enhancecivicengagement


By The Inside Out
Celynne Shipley, Kemptville

Project Highlights & Impacts

The second half of the #OCChangemakers journey has been a whirlwind of ups and downs and loads of personal development for Celynne Shipley. The first half of the year was about building a foundation and establishing the crucial relationships necessary for meaningful change in the community.

Since meeting with the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council to build out the idea of a Bridge Spot Program – an initiative designed to identify, enhance, or create public spaces that are used as safe and accepting bridge spots for young people into young adulthood. Celynne has worked with the Public Library to design a space and an inventory of resources that reflect back to young people that the library is a place where they are welcome and a trusted resource for them as they navigate the challenges of young adulthood.  

Capacity-building has been central in the last six months of the project. By leveraging her skills in program development, continuous improvement and project and change management, the Changemaker has been able to help people and communities clarify the challenge in supporting young people, areas of need and bigger opportunities, to explore what’s possible and to prioritize the solutions and map out the best ways to bring those ideas to life, so the impact on young people can be fully realized.  

This has been a surprising twist – rather than designing and implementing a program herself; she has enabled subject matter experts to do what they do best by using her own skill set to complement theirs. “This allows for existing resources in the community to be maximized rather than creating more “noise” by creating something brand new. Integration!” she shares. 

While community work is tremendously rewarding, it can also be very challenging at times and requires a high level of resilience. The Changemaker believes collaboration and co-creation is at the center of meaningful community change, but that also means that you can face competing priorities, differing timelines, varying budgets, etc. It requires determination, a commitment to realizing the vision and an openness to pivot when needed. 

“What I have been able to accomplish initially set out to do, but I feel strongly that it is because I’ve allowed the community’s needs to inform my approach and strategy rather than my own. I am proud of this! While progress may not always be at my preferred pace, the outcome when collaboration is at the centre is much greater than what I can do solely on my own,” she reflects.

Thank you to 8 80 Cities for this amazing opportunity. It was the nudge I needed to get out into the community that I otherwise might not have had the courage to do.

About Celynne

Celynne Shipley is a Change Management Practitioner from Kemptville, Ontario that has worked in a series of related roles in different sectors, including government, health and home care and financial services. Through her lived experiences from years of travel and the knowledge that she gained from her time spent studying for a Master’s degree in Public Ethics, Celynne has had time to reflect and understand areas within behavioural psychology that influence behavioural change in communities.