YW Advocate Winter 2018

Connecting with Families

Jamie was six years old and like so many boys was full of energy, laughter and would bounce around from one activity to another. Unfortunately, Jamie took it all to the extreme. His behaviour negatively impacted life at home, in school, during extra-curricular activities and even at friends’ birthday parties. He was hyperactive, didn’t listen and couldn’t follow instructions. His parents felt sad that Jamie couldn’t get along with people and frustrated that nothing they or his teachers tried helped.

Fortunately, YW has a program that consistently offers success for children, just like Jamie, the YW Community, Parent and School Support program (COMPASS).

COMPASS is an in-home service for families that have children experiencing behavioural, emotional and social challenges. YW COMPASS team members meet with parents in their home on a weekly basis for up to one year. They also meet with physicians and school teachers to ensure wrap-around service delivery. With a focus on a holistic approach, every aspect of the child’s well-being is considered.

For a year Jamie and his parents met with a COMPASS team member who provided strategies and tools to help them rebuild their relationships and learn to communicate, individually and as a family. They were assigned homework each week and through practice and lots of patience things gradually began to improve. Jamie’s relationship with his mom and dad, his sister, friends at school and with his teachers all improved. The impact was wide spread.

YW helps families to reach their full potential and develop positive relationships. Your donations support this program; they ensure we have qualified, compassionate and experienced people to work with children like Jamie.

Thank you!

Message from the CEO

YW Calgary supports women to move from crisis to stability and create brighter futures for their families. But we can’t do it alone! These bright futures are possible because you have put your faith and support in us throughout our 107-year history of service to women

In the past year we have seen and will continue to see a tremendous amount of exciting change at YW and within the communities we serve. In November 2017, YW joined our 32 member associations from across the country to ask the federal government to ensure 25 per cent of the National Housing Strategy was directed to women and families. Why? Because a safe home is a right and women and their families need to be taken into account in any strategy.

YW was thrilled to see our ask realized when the federal government committed to directing 25 per cent of the National Housing Strategy toward programs supporting women and girls.

By supporting YW, you are helping create safe and equitable communities where women can thrive. This goes beyond providing services and programs. With your support, we have the power to create positive and lasting change for the most vulnerable by ensuring they have a safe place to call home.

Sue Tomney

Chief Executive Officer

YW in the Community


Mark you calendar and join us for the 13th annual YW WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES® on September 18, 2018. Put on a pair of heels and strut through downtown Calgary with more than 250 women and men taking steps away from domestic abuse.

This annual fundraising event helps raise awareness of domestic abuse and empowers women and their children to walk away from family violence. All of the funds raised go to support YW programs and services which enable women to live healthy lives and thrive in their community.

Registration launches late spring 2018. For more details, visit: walkamile.ca

Steps Toward a Healthier Future

YW Counselling provides tools and strategies to manage strong emotions and help build healthy families. Lana Bentley, Program Operations Director, shares more about the program and how it benefits YW clients:

Q: When the YW says they work with vulnerable women what does that really mean?

A: Vulnerability looks different for everyone. There are days when I feel vulnerable but I usually get over it pretty quickly and it doesn’t negatively impact my life for an extended period of time. For so many of the women we work with, they feel vulnerable every day and often have for years. They are vulnerable to the point of not being able to function. They use things like drugs and alcohol to numb their pain. It’s heartbreaking to see but YW can help and does help turn people’s lives around.

Q: What might their past experiences have been?

A: Many women come to us with trauma. Something happened along their journey. It could be abuse, their workplace environment, challenges with relationships or their child acting out. It could be a one-time incident or multi-layered. What causes trauma for one person doesn’t necessarily traumatize another. We meet each woman where she is at, without judgment and with lots of compassion.

Q: How does YW support vulnerable women?

A: YW offers a continuum of services from shelter and housing to childcare and employment skill development. YW Counselling programs help women, as well as children and men to feel hopeful. Group and individual counselling sessions support clients to relieve stress, be mindful, manage their emotions, identify triggers and learn about healthy relationships that assists their mental wellness. We focus on their strengths. What has happened to them rather than what is “wrong” with them.

Q: Can you give some examples of when a woman might seek YW Counselling services.

A: A woman might come to us if she is struggling with her emotions and can’t cope. If she is experiencing or has been exposed to abuse – in her home, at work, with a current or past partner. A woman might seek help for herself and her daughter if her daughter is struggling with things like anorexia or harming herself. Give YW a call and we will point you in the right direction.

Q: Is there a cost?

A: YW offers an affordable and flexible fee structure based on a sliding scale which ensures program fees are not a barrier to service.

Q: Can people really change?

A: Absolutely, change is always possible! In our counselling services alone we worked with more than 1,300 women, children and men in 2017. Each persons’ progress will look different but they all changed the day they picked up the phone to call us or came in for their first session. We rely on support from donors, community partners, referral agencies and funders to do this work but every day is one step forward.

Q: Where can I find out more?

A: You can learn more about YW Counselling online at www.ywcalgary.ca/counselling or call 403-266-4111. If you or someone you know needs to speak to a professional about options and supports available for women, children and men, we’re here to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Champions of Giving

You are our champions of giving! Thank you for making the 2017 holiday season so special for our clients. Clearly it is important to you to give back and we are grateful that so many of you chose YW Calgary.

You may not think your gift has an impact but we can assure you it does. Your monetary gifts, small or large ensure that counsellors are on hand day and night so women don’t feel isolated. Your donations of items from our wish list were turned into gifts on Christmas day for clients fleeing domestic abuse or help us bond and build trust with a child in our shelter. Gifts of time such as volunteering helped us bring cheer and excitement at a time of year that can be very lonely.

Jolie, Anne, Susan and her daughter Sasha, and so many more were all residing at YW during the holiday season. They came to us fleeing domestic abuse, homelessness, poverty and isolation. They called YW Sheriff King Home crisis shelter, Mary Dover House transitional shelter and YW Community-based supportive housing their home. Your donations ensured they had a roof over their heads, a Christmas meal and the comfort of knowing they are not alone!

The need continues beyond Christmas and the holiday season. Did you know that on any given night, YW provides shelter and safety to more than 170 women and children? Last year our programs and services helped support 5,394 women, children and men.

Thank you for your gifts of time and treasure. Thank you for your generosity, compassion and empathy. Thank you for enabling YW to help so many people in our community every day. YW can’t do this work alone.

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