Understanding SMUN’s Service Model

This project emerged from a presentation given by Susan Venditti (Executive Director of SMUN) at an event hosted by SJRI in November 2018. At this event, Susan identified a desire to study and articulate the “radically inclusive” approach to service that is at the core of SMUN. This interest resonated with those of SJRI affiliates Shannon Moore (Principal Investigator) and Karen Louise Smith, as well as participating member Curtis Tye, who all met with Susan shortly after to brainstorm how to move this project forward. Together with Julie Gregory, SJRI Project Facilitator, the team applied for — and was awarded — money from the Niagara Community Foundation’s 2019 Community Grant Program to achieve these short-term outcomes:

  1. Mentorship of people who access SMUN programming to gain skills in interviewing community members and recording their views. This will be measured by the identification of community members willing to participate in this reciprocal mentorship role, participation in communication skills training, successful gathering of the perspectives of other services users.
  2. Understanding SMUN’s radically inclusive service model and the impact of dialogical relationship qualities of trust, belonging, and radical inclusion through the process of analysis of recorded interviews and analysis of policy and practice literature to develop a cohesive set of findings from this study.
  3. Knowledge Sharing regarding leading practices that articulate aspects of SMUN’s radically inclusive model of service that can be augmented and replicated by SMUN and other not-for-profit organizations in the Niagara Region and beyond. The project will reach out to service designers in the provincial government or consultancies that design for vulnerable citizens. Results will be measured through public presentations, print communication materials, and publication of findings of this research on SMUN’s website and in scholarly publications.
  4. Development of Tools that track outcomes and highlight leading practices, in order to augment and replicate the strengths within programming, will be a central outcome of this project. It is anticipated that the SMUN participant pathway with three levels of entry (stabilization, participation and growth), will be augmented with key research findings and translated into an infographic. The infographic will be shared within SMNU and also with external stakeholders.

Please click on the above images to learn more about Niagara Community Foundation grants, Dr. Shannon Moore’s research interests, and Start Me Up Niagara.