Good Sam’s fund creating ‘culturally safe spaces’

Reconciliation fund will help create ‘culturally safe spaces’

By Cal Braid

The Good Samaritan Society (GSS) is a Canadian non-profit seniors housing organization with an emphasis on Christian hospitality to those in need or at risk. Their website states that, “A foundational pillar of the Society’s Christian hospitality model is to provide access to spiritual care for all faiths.” They have 21 facilities in Alberta, including Lethbridge and many of the surrounding communities. They serve more than 6,000 individuals throughout Alberta and B.C.

President and CEO, Dr. Katherine Chubbs recently received the 2022 Muhammad Ali Abid Memorial Service Award from the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL). In addition to the honour bestowed upon her by the award, a $1,500 donation is made to charity on behalf of the recipient. According to a press release from the GSS, “Dr. Chubbs chose to use the donation to start the Good Samaritan Reconciliation Fund. This fund will help create culturally safe spaces in Good Samaritan care homes and programs.” Chubbs moved from Lethbridge to Edmonton two years ago after serving here as the chief zone officer with Alberta Health Services (AHS).

According to a 2021 CTVNewsCalgary report, Muhammad Ali Abid was killed in a motorcycle accident while riding with friends from Calgary to Turner Valley in July of that year. Abid worked as a consultant with AHS and left behind a wife and two children, four and six at the time.

Chubbs described Abid as a healthcare leader in Alberta and someone she knew through work. “Our paths crossed many times. He had two passions: one was addressing issues related to racism, and two was volunteering. He was a community volunteer, but he was also very involved in professional pursuits like helping with the CCHL. His mother and his sisters were at the award ceremony, and I describe it as bittersweet. We had a lot of commonalities and that's really how our paths crossed. He set the bar pretty high and to know that people saw that in me was an honor.”

After receiving the nationally recognized award, Chubbs had to decide on a charity. She didn’t need to look any further that her own workplace. “The Good Samaritan Society as an organization is a charity. With Good Samaritan we have several funds, and we started a brand-new fund that had never existed called the Reconciliation Fund. Our organization is on a very ambitious and dedicated path of reconciliation with Indigenous people, and we thought that this would be a great way to help support that journey. I have experience with taking some money as a seed dollar, seeing it grow, and doing something really substantive with it, so that's my hope for this fund.”

Asked what the fund would look like materially in one of the GSS homes, she said, “It could be everything from Indigenous artwork to programming, for example rehabilitation therapy, where they create something that they can display in the homes. Or having a round room for smudging or a cultural ceremony space. Ultimately the goal of having culturally safe spaces means when residents are there, they recognize their own culture in the environment that they are living and working in. That's the ultimate goal.”

The GSS press release praised Dr. Chubbs for her leadership, passion, and dedication to addressing racism and for her many community service endeavors.

The GSS serves different groups of individuals, generally classifying them as the healthy elderly, the frail elderly, adults with developmental disabilities, and chronically ill individuals. Their service areas of care include independent living, supportive and assisted living, long term care, rehabilitation services, and day programs.

To help with the Reconciliation Fund, visit gss.org/donate/

Cal Braid, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Lethbridge Herald