Archive | January 2013

Simply Put – A CDC guide for creating easy to understand materials

I was perusing the CDC website today and stumbled across this really helpful resource: Simply Put – A guide for creating easy to understand materials

Since low health literacy and numeracy is such a big issue, both in Canada and in other parts of the world, I think it’s really important to think about some of the issues that this guide brings up when putting together resources. Some of the key topics included:

1. Make Your Message Clear 
2. Text Appearance Matters 
3. Visuals Help Tell Your Story >> including a link to the CDC public health image database


4. Layout and Design
5. Consider Culture
6. Translations Take Your Message Further 
7. Testing for Readability >> including formulas for calculating the readability of a document!

Also, at the back of the manual there is a Checklist for Easy-to-Understand Print Materials and lists of other resources to expand your knowledge even further.

– Sarah Topps 2013


How To: Twitter

Please let me know if you have any questions!!
Also, the Twitter help page is a great resource.  Any question I had I was able to find an answer to on their help page.

Our class twitter handle:


password: advocacy

Our class email:

Password: advocacy

Happy Tweeting!!


How To Twitter-Blog

Advocating for Human Rights in a Global Context

On the subject of advocacy and communication, I am co-leading an educational delegation to Honduras in March 2013 to draw awareness to the Canadian and U.S. role in the small, Central American country. Dr. Corbett asked me to post the details of the trip. 


Photo caption: A human rights delegation protests with the Honduran social movement outside of largest U.S. military base “Palmerola” in Central America denouncing North American intervention in Honduras and militarization. June 28, 2011, Comayagua, Honduras. 


DESCRIPTION: Since the June 28, 2009 military coup against the government of President Zelaya, Rights Action – along with other North American organizations – has been working hard to support the courageous Honduran people’s pro-democracy movement.

Despite serious, on-going repression being committed by the regime, the Honduran people – men and women, young and old, teachers, indigenous people, LGBT people, campesino (small farmers), business owners, students – continue to organize and work peacefully for human rights and justice, for a return to democracy and the rule of law, and for a just and fair society and country.

One impediment to the return of democracy is that the governments of Canada and the United States along with North American investors and companies (mining, tourism, bananas, maquiladora sweat-shops, African palm and sugar cane, etc.) are doing business with, empowering and ‘legitimizing’ the illegitimate regime.

During this educational delegation, participants will learn about: Honduran and Central American history; the context that led to the 2009 military coup; the role of Canadian and American governments and companies in legitimizing and benefiting from the military coup; and about the courage and spirit of Honduras’ peaceful pro-democracy movement.

THE PLAN: Fly into the Toncontin airport in the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras on Saturday, March 16. Delegates will depart from Tegucigalpa on Saturday, March 23. Participants will be met at the airport.

Over the course of 6 full days in Honduras, participants will meet with Hondurans and some North Americans involved in the pro-democracy struggle and working for human rights and the environment. The group will travel (by rented van) to and spend nights in rural communities seeking justice for environmental and health harms caused by North American mining companies; to the north coast and visit indigenous Garifuna communities resisting forced eviction from their ancestral lands to make way for global tourism businesses and the production of African palm and sugar cane ‘for export’; meet with people working for the rights of sweat-shop (maquiladora) workers; and more. Closer to the actual dates, Rights Action will set out a detailed 6-day itinerary.

TYPE OF PARTICIPANT: This trip is for people from all walks of life (students, professors and educators, media, foundations, etc.) who are concerned about: global exploitation and poverty; military interventions and repression; the global “development” model and environmental destruction; and, about courageous people and their courageous work and struggles for community-controlled development, protection of the environment, human rights and justice, and for democracy.


Grahame Russell: is a non-practising lawyer, adjunct professor at the University of Northern British Colombia, author, and, since 1995, co-director of Rights Action. Rights Action funds community-controlled development, environmental defense and human rights projects in Guatemala and Honduras, as well as Chiapas, El Salvador and Oaxaca; and carries out education and activism work in the USA and Canada related to global human rights, environmental and development issues.

Karen Spring: A Canadian human rights and anti-mining activist that has worked in Honduras since 2008.  She moved to Tegucigalpa to live and work with Rights Action shortly after the military coup from July 2009 to August 2011. Before Honduras, Karen lived in Guatemala for 1.5 years doing human rights accompaniment and working with grassroots struggles that Rights Action continues to support. Karen now travels back and forth between Honduras-Vancouver while she complete a Masters in Public Health at Simon Fraser University. 

COST: $750 – This covers: 7 nights of hotel; 3 meals a day for 6 days (on some days, there will only be 2 meals covered); transportation in-country; trip organization, guiding, translation; honorariums for some people and communities we meet with, etc. Participants pay for their own travel to and from Honduras.

RISK: Grahame and Karen will have discussions with interested persons about the possible risks involved with this delegation before people decide to join or not. Since 1995, with Rights Action, Grahame has planned and led over 50 such delegations to Honduras, Guatemala, Chiapas and Oaxaca, and never had any serious problems. 

For more information, contact Grahame Russell,


Ice Breaker Image

Hello Class,

Thank-you for being such an excellent audience and being active participants in my “How to conduct Ice Breakers” presentation. Click on this link to retrieve the powere point: ICE BREAKERS Power Point.

Included are the slides I used for my presentation complete with some excellent resource links to dozens of ice breaker ideas for a wide variety of circumstances and audiences.  You will also find some You Tube videos that I think are worth taking a look at.  Please feel free to use my powerpoint or any of the content in the future.  I made this as a resource for you.

If you  walk away with  only three points from my presentation they would be:

1. Keep it simple: Ice breakers don’t need to be genius or complex. You will be surprised with how much a seemingly trivial activity makes a huge difference. Don’t spend time and energy coming up with your own activity when there are loads out there for you to freely use.  Use the resources I’ve included in the presentation.

2. Be prepared: Run through the activity in advance and plan for the context (See my “Ice Breakers 101: Preparation Slide”). Have a Plan B for unexpected circumstance (e.g. too much furniture in the room, or too many or too few people, time is short).

3. Enjoy the activity yourself.  Actively participate and deliver the activity believing it IS awesome (no matter how silly) .  If you think and do this, others will join you.

And remember, even if you have little to no experience public speaking, YOU CAN lead a successful ice breaker.

All the Best,

Suzanne Vander Wekken

P.S. If you would like to contact me personally about the presentation my email is

Making Sense of Logic Models


Use this pdf (click on bolded Logic Models below) as a guide to the basics in logic models.

Happy program planning!

Logic Models

-Kaitlin Lauridsen

How to Add Some Pizzazz to Your Blog Posts

This blog post will show you how to use some of’s built-in features to make your blog post really POP!

Bold and Italic work the same way as in Microsoft Word – simply click the or I buttons (or use ctrl+b/ctrl+i)

> Adding colour is also the same as in Word, simply highlight the text, and choose your colour from the drop-down menu
(Just be careful which colours you use – some are very hard to read, such as yellow, white, or neon green!

text colour button

> To add a hyperlink, you simply select the text that you wish to link, and select the link buttonthe-link-button

> To add images or other file types from your computer, click the “Add Media” button at the top left corner, above B and I


(Allowed file types: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, pdf, doc, ppt, odt, pptx, docx, pps, ppsx, xls, xlsx. Max size: 1 GB )

> You can also add a YouTube video or other HTML embedded features by clicking “Embed” underneath any YouTube video and copy+pasting the provided link directly into your blog post like so:

embedding youtube image

The video will then appear in your post looking like this:

> Add a category (How-To…) and tags (health, communication, blog, Youtube, SFU) on the lower right hand side of the page

> Finally remember to always sign your blog posts (Take credit where credit is due!)

– Sarah Topps 2013

How to Start Blogging in 6 Easy Steps

1. Visit and click “Get Started” to sign up

2. Enter your email, a username and password, and then choose a name for your blog

Or, if you prefer to post to an existing blog, click “sign up for just a username” to the right of the blog name box

3. Check your email and confirm your registration

4. Sign in to > go to MyBlogs > click “Create New Blog

(Bonus step: Anytime after this point, you can go back to MyBlogs and click “Change appearance” to choose a theme!)

5. Under MyBlogs, you should now see your new blog – click “1 Post” and then near the top of the page “Add New Post

6. You should now see a box where you can add text, pictures and videos. When you are finished editing, click Publish!

For some good tips on How to Write a Good Blog Post – check out this post by the British Council.
To see what good blog posts look like and maybe find some inspiration, check out Time Magazine’s Top 25 Blogs of 2012!
If you’re having trouble with any of the steps above, or if you want to learn more about, check their support page.
Have fun playing around with the various buttons and settings. Welcome to the world of blogging!

– Sarah Topps 2013