Impact Stories

United Way BC’s Project Impact Healthy Aging enhances seniors’ wellbeing

Empowering Non-profit Agencies to Improve Services for Seniors Across BC

As British Columbia’s senior population steadily climbs, expected to reach nearly a quarter of the province’s residents by 2041, the demand for senior-focused programs and services intensifies. Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) agencies stand at the forefront of meeting this challenge, tirelessly striving to improve the lives of seniors and to transform communities. 

However, to truly maximize our collective impact, there is a crucial need for enhanced program evaluation capabilities within the sector. Recognizing this, United Way British Columbia launched the Project Impact Healthy Aging initiative, aimed at equipping CBSS agencies with the tools necessary to effect tangible change in seniors’ lives. 

What is Project Impact Healthy Aging? 

Project Impact Healthy Aging stands as a cornerstone of United Way BC’s capacity-building efforts, specifically tailored to bolstering program evaluation skills within British Columbia’s non-profit sector. 

The team from Archway Community Services participating in the Project Impact Healthy Aging developmental evaluation course 2024.

Through a developmental evaluation approach, the course empowers small teams within organizations and champions in their local service communities to effectively assess the impact of their initiatives in real-time, particularly within the complex landscape of community-based programs. 

From January to June 2024, seven CBSS agencies enthusiastically engaged in Project Impact, armed with newfound insights to enhance their programs and services for seniors.

A group photo of the team members who participated in Project Impact Healthy Aging 2024.

2024 participating organizations included: 

After months of immersive training and evaluation, these agency partners eagerly shared their learnings and achievements at the 2024 Project Impact Healthy Aging Showcase, coinciding with BC Seniors’ Week. 

The event took place at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Annex in Vancouver, BC, on June 4th, 2024. 

Taking a Deeper Dive: A First-hand Account 

Evelyn Suzuki, Board Director and member of the Tonari Gumi team within the Japanese Community Volunteers Association, provided invaluable insights into their participation in Project Impact. 

Members of the Project Impact team also included Satellite Program Coordinator Mika Nakajima, Board Vice-Chair Makoto Inuzuka and Executive Director Masako Arima. 

Suzuki detailed their focus on the Genki Gumi program, which offers Japanese Canadian seniors group exercise classes and brain training games, highlighting its profound impact on fostering social connections and combating loneliness among participants. 

The team from Tonari Gumi (Japanese Community Volunteers Association) who participated in Project Impact Healthy Aging 2024.

“Once a senior retires from work, their lifestyle changes so drastically. If a person who has just retired doesn’t have a daily plan or weekly plan, they are lost,” Suzuki said. 

“They’re not able to go out every single day, so a minimum of one day a week, it’s like a treasure to them. Some of them said, if the Genki Gumi program weren’t going on, they would either be lonely or bored at home.” 

Tonari Gumi seniors participating in programming.

Suzuki emphasized the comprehensive nature of the Project Impact evaluation course, yielding findings that prompted the organization to consider adapting activities to better cater to participant needs, including exploring the creation of programs specifically tailored to men. 

“I noticed there weren’t a lot of men in the two groups in Vancouver and Steveston. We may have to explore activities that men would be more interested in or potentially create another program geared toward men’s needs specifically.” 

United Way BC & CBSS Agencies: Driving Impactful Change 

We extend our appreciation to the participating agencies of the 2024 Project Impact Healthy Aging cohort for their unwavering dedication to improving the lives of seniors in their communities. Their commitment to critical reflection and openness to feedback exemplify a pursuit of meaningful and relevant service provision to older British Columbians. 

Suzuki lauded United Way BC’s commitment to enhancing senior services, recognizing the organization’s pivotal role in addressing the evolving needs of an aging population.  

“I think it is excellent. I know United Way BC has so many different programs and areas of focus. In today’s day and age, the senior population is growing, and it’s imperative that there is a lot of focus on seniors’ organizations and programming,” she said. 

Project Impact Healthy Aging is funded by the BC Government and facilitated by Dialogues in Action. For further details, visit our website: Healthy Aging Programs for Seniors | United Way BC ( 

Together, we are United for Seniors in Need.  

Photos from the Project Impact Healthy Aging Showcase 2024