Advocate Volume I. 2019

Connecting with Families

It is incredible what women can accomplish when they receive support.

Isolation and a lack of resources often hold women back from reaching their potential. YW Calgary ensures that women get the training and experience they need and with your support, we help them to thrive.

“The Employment Centre provided me with the resources and knowledge to improve my skills. Most importantly, they helped restore my confidence and build lasting connections”, says Mary, a former YW Employment Resource Centre client.

Mary moved to Calgary in 2013, excited about the new opportunities for her and her family. Before immigrating to Canada, she was a physician with years of experience. Once here, she completed a Practical Nurse program. She searched for a job, but the market was competitive. After several months with no success, Mary lost her confidence and she started to dread the job search process.

That’s when a friend told Mary about YW Calgary. The team at YW’s Employment Resource Centre helped review her resume and cover letter to better highlight her skills and strengths. She learned interview strategies and met with a career coach who helped her practice the interview process. She created a network of contacts who offered support and encouragement to rebuild her confidence.

Within just a few weeks of connecting with YW, Mary found a job. “I am now working as a Licensed Practical Nurse at a community centre,” she shares excitedly.

Thank you! As a donor we want you to know this is what your support can do.

The Ripple Effect

Learning English has benefits for more than students.

Coming to a new country can be an isolating experience, especially if you do not speak the language. Finding a job, speaking with your child’s teacher or everyday tasks can become exhausting if you cannot communicate.

Thanks to your donations, refugees and permanent residents who want to integrate into life in Canada are able to learn English and find the support they need at YW’s Language Instruction of Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program.

Educators in the program are passionate about their approach. Rather than just focusing on English, they use real life situations and themes to spark conversation about what life in Canada is like. They take on topics such as Canadian workplace culture and business approaches. The goal is to help people settle in, build confidence and increase opportunities for employment and a stable life. Other themes include family and relationships, how to use the library and even our weather, which will be quite different for many newcomers!

This work has a ripple effect. Women and men in YW’s LINC classes are able to take their new skills home and share them with their children, who are also adjusting. Supporting parents and children now, can create a more hopeful future. Nearly 500 clients developed their language skills at YW in 2018, but through the ripple effect, many more people will be impacted for generations to come.

Our LINC clients come to us from more than 60 countries and they speak over 40 languages. Thanks to donors like you, we are able to help them feel welcome and become thriving members of our community.

A Place to Call Home

The Maple opened in December, 2018 with a big key and celebration. It is a permanent, supported housing building, the third YW now operates. The Maple is a safe refuge to 25 women who are identified as chronically homeless.

YW has provided safe spaces for women for over 100 years, and we have learned a lot about women’s experience. We know women’s poverty is often driven by domestic abuse and trauma. And, women can cycle in and out of homelessness, struggling to maintain an income to change their reality.

YW offers a range of programs and services to support women when and where they need us most, to ensure they escape the cycle and build a brighter future for themselves.

To continue our evolution as an organization and to ensure we are responsive to the needs of women and their families, we recognized a need for a new YW Hub facility that is adaptable and nimble. The current downtown facility, built in 1972, no longer meets our clients’ needs. Following the 2013 flood, a significant portion of the building became unusable.

Our new facility – which opens in Inglewood this summer - is grounded in the principles of trauma-informed design. We recognize women’s differing needs and provide accessible supports for women and their families including transitional housing, counselling, language and employment skills training, childcare, child minding and parenting support programs. The YW Hub facility will be a beacon in the community as YW continues to provide safe spaces for women and families.

Donors like you help us provide women and their children with a place to heal, to grow and to call home. You provide families with the opportunities they need to develop healthy relationships and pave the way to a brighter future. Your donation changes lives for women in Calgary.

Message from the CEO

Boom and bust is a part of life in Alberta and that is why bold changes are in the works at YW Calgary. Women and children living in poverty and escaping domestic abuse need support, no matter what happens in our economy. The most powerful action YW takes is to lead by example.

The year ahead will be a big one for us. On the business side, YW is taking a financial step that gives our organization more stability, so we can then provide consistent support to our clients. Visit YWSheMatters.ca to learn more on how you can help!

We are also getting ready to move into our new home in Inglewood. YW’s Sheriff King Home crisis shelter has been in that community for 30 years and soon, with the addition of our new facility, we look forward to being a welcoming space, not only to women in transition, but to all Calgarians.

We will continue to share exciting news in the months ahead and we hope you will be a part of our bright future.

Sue Tomney

YW Chief Executive Officer

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