Track: Health and Well-Being
North Star: Commitment to Outcomes

Level of Learning: Learner

The workshop will consist of playing the Brain Architecture Game, an experience that builds understanding of the powerful effects of early childhood experiences on brain development and its lifelong impacts. With the help of Life Experience cards, the goal is to build a tall, sturdy brain using pipe cleaners and straws, and to see how well the brain stands up against life stresses by hanging weights on the structure. This tabletop game is played in groups of four to six and takes approximately 75 minutes to play with a quick introductory video and opportunities for discussion throughout and after the interactive game.

The workshop is practical and relevant for conference attendees because early life experiences affect brain development and lifelong health and social outcomes; however, many individuals in community-serving organizations have not been exposed to this knowledge nor understand how it reframes the solutions we can offer to help children and families achieve their full potential. Also, the workshop will share some of the specific brain science concepts and language that CUPS was exposed to as part of our Change in Mind experience.

Learning Objectives 

  • Build awareness of brain science and how early experiences affect brain development 
  • Demonstrate how brain science knowledge can improve our programs and services for children, adults, and families 
  • Through the provision of resources and tools, attendees apply new knowledge to their own organization


  • Emily Wong, research and evaluation manager, CUPS Health Education Housing (@CUPSCalgaryAB)
  • Patricia Bailey, director of development, CUPS Health Education Housing (@CUPSCalgaryAB)

Emily Wong
Research & Evaluation Manager
CUPS Health Education Housing

Emily Wong is the research and evaluation manager at CUPS Health Education Housing in Calgary, Alberta. She partners with universities on research projects, applying the latest in brain science in the organization’s programs and services and leading internal evaluation processes and projects to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of CUPS’ programs. Her efforts in improving the organization’s knowledge translation and outcome reporting have assisted CUPS to be named a Top 10 Impact Charity in Canada for 2017.  

Passionate about improving the lives of vulnerable and marginalized populations, she has spent time working in research and policy analysis for various nonprofit organizations and think tanks in Ontario, Canada. Emily has a master's of public administration from the School of Public Policy at Queen’s University.

Patricia Bailey
Director of Development
CUPS Health Education Housing

Patricia Bailey, director of development, is a staunch advocate for building stronger communities and is committed to furthering her understanding of how policy, funding trends and science-based research go hand in hand to create a thriving society. She has spent the last decade deepening her knowledge and honing a pragmatic approach to community investment, employee engagement volunteer programs and creating compelling narrative for diverse audiences. She is currently most passionate about the work she is doing to strengthen the collaboration needed to develop strategic partnerships with philanthropists for long-term corporate social responsibility impacts. She has over 15 years of extensive communications, volunteer management, media, emergency response management and corporate social responsibility experience in both the energy and non-profit sectors in Canada as well as the UK.