____Thursday October 13, 2016 ____

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Community Report

Waterloo Region’s Vital Signs® - Our Community Still Has Work to Do

Kitchener – The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation (The KWCF) released the 2016 annual Waterloo Region’s Vital Signs report. This Priority Report edition covers the four priority areas identified in 2013 as a part of the multi-year Vital Signs cycle: Belonging & Leadership, Arts & Culture, Getting Started and Health & Wellness.

“Our community continues to be challenged by our sense of belonging.” shares Rosemary Smith, CEO of The KWCF. “While we have seen some improvement in this area, belonging is not a challenge that changes overnight. We each have a part to play in making our community one where everyone feels like they belong, and are empowered to make a difference.”

We understand that our sense of belonging drives behaviours such as donating and volunteering.

Only one in four residents is stepping up to donate, and only 5.9% of Waterloo Region’s leadership roles are filled by a member of a visible minority group. Those with a weak sense of belonging are more likely to think the Region is not in touch with their needs. Although residents think the Region is a safe place, over recent years levels of trust have declined from 65% to 60%.

Data under Getting Started has also revealed that the experience of those in Waterloo Region transitioning to new life phases isn’t always easy. Immigrants take 20 years to earn as much as Canadian-born residents. Our young people are experiencing challenges graduating high school (21% are not graduating after five years) and 42.2% of those 20-29 are living in their parent’s home; an increase of 9% from 2001 to 2011. New parents are faced with the challenge of accessing licensed child care. Only 31% of preschoolers, 21% of toddlers, and 2% of infants can be accommodated in licensed child care in our Region.

Waterloo Region’s Vital Signs is tied to the national Vital Signs movement overseen by Community Foundations of Canada (CFC). CFC released a national multi-year report focusing on belonging on October 4th. Belonging: Exploring Connection to Community - is an ongoing exploration and focus on belonging in Canada across five streams: Faith, Sport, Activism, Online and the Arts.

Download Waterloo Region’s Vital Signs Priority Report

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