Healthy Living in the Circle

In her job as Director of Healthy Living for the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (ISPARC), Robynne Edgar gets to see the effect her work has on others every day. “I am able to be creative and develop programs I am also personally passionate about,” she explains. “I get to see firsthand how these programs impact our leaders who run them in their communities, and see the difference they are making and how much these programs are enjoyed.”

Working in Aboriginal health for over 13 years, Edgar, a Cree from Batoche, Saskatchewn (now residing on Coast Salish Territory), is a citizen of the Metis Nation of BC and is Japanese on her mother’s side. She has been with ISPARC for nearly 4 of those years. Prior to her joining the sport organization, she was at the University of Victoria, Centre for Aboriginal Health Research, as their Programs Manager for 8 years. She has also served as the Executive Director for the Metis Commission for Child and Family Services.

Together, with their partners, ISPARC develops and implements programs to train healthy living leaders to promote physical activity, smoking cessation/respecting tobacco, healthy eating and support healthy pregnancies within their communities. These leaders then take these programs to their home communities. For Edgar, one of the most inspiring things about her job is creating and implementing programs for healthy communities. “I work for and with an inspirational and amazing team at ISPARC,” she explains. “all are truly passionate about what they do and are extremely dedicated to our communities.” It’s all part of the strength of working for a non-profit organization. “It’s not bureaucratic,” she states. “We work as a team and we are able to be creative and meet the needs of the community.”

The most challenging part of her job, however, is trying to fit in requests for the organization’s services and expertise. “There is a huge demand,” says Edgar, but she and her organization can’t be everywhere at the same time.

Ongoing education has been an important element in Edgar’s journey to the position she now holds with ISPARC. She has taken several courses, classes, and workshops, and earned several certificates in Administration, Research Management, Non-Profit Management, Aboriginal Health, Budget Management, and writing.

When asked about the best part of her job Edgar doesn’t hesitate. “I am able to travel within the province and meet and work with incredible people who all strive toward the same goal, healthy Aboriginal communities and future generations. “Seeing the healthy living leaders we train develop confidence in themselves,” she explains with pride, “they continue to inspire me every day!”

“Our organization is one based on integrity and hard work,” adds Edgar, “and we are community driven – we are a very innovative and dynamic organization. The sport and health world is a wonderful world to find yourself in. We are fortunate to work with incredible leaders, youth, athletes, coaches, and others across B.C.”