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What happens when a wellness centre starts asking how to address the root causes of systemic issues? A junk removal company may not be your first guess, but that’s exactly what Jasper Place Wellness Centre in west-central Edmonton created as its first social enterprise in 2011. This agile and collaborative organization takes seriously its mission to continuously explore and provide innovative and accessible health and community-based solutions. It owns and operates five businesses that provide employment opportunities for vulnerable community members, putting over 1 million dollars of payroll back into the community each year. It also runs a community health clinic, provides wellness education programs, and is a core partner in collaborative efforts to end homelessness and improve food security in Edmonton.

In today’s episode of Pause, we welcome two of the brains behind Jasper Place Wellness Centre, Henry Motta and Murray Soroka. We hear their reflections on Jasper Place Wellness Centre’s evolution, including:

  • The benefits and tensions of running businesses that employ vulnerable populations
  • What it takes to be adaptive and truly learn from failure
  • What systemic barriers and gaps are currently standing in the way of meaningful change, and what’s needed to create systems change

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Recording by Lisa Pruden of the Edmonton Community Foundation ( Production by Elise Martinoski of ABSI Connect with support from Lisa Pruden. Music by the Fort McMurray youth of the SoundForce Collective.

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