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YW Advocate Volume 2. 2018

A New Hopeful Journey

Women experiencing homelessness will often tell us, there wasn’t ONE specific moment or choice which left them without a safe home or roof over their head. More often, we hear that their journey into homelessness was filled with twists and turns and unsurmountable obstacles that left them vulnerable.

Camille’s journey began many years ago after she decided being on her own would be safer than where she was. However, Camille found it was more difficult and lonely than she expected. She took jobs where she could find them, but the unstable income left her unable to make ends meet.

Soon, she found herself on the doorstep of YW Transitional Housing, looking for a safe place to stay. She became familiar with YW’s programs and was directed to the Intensive Case Management program. There, Camille found the support she needed.

Camille worked with experienced and compassionate staff to create a plan that would enable her to achieve her goals. She was connected with social and medical services to ensure she had what she needed to succeed. She began to feel a restored sense of optimism and self-worth for the first time in a long time.

Today, Camille lives in her own apartment and is proud to call it home. It is there, with her cat, that Camille began a new journey, one filled with hope and opportunity. She has discovered her passion for volunteering and being connected to her community.

Your donation supports YW programs and services which help women like Camille thrive and build a brighter future. Thank you!

Message from the CEO

For more than a century, your support has helped YW Calgary give hope to vulnerable women in our community by enabling programs to help them gain control of their lives, become economically stable and live free from violence. We are continuously adapting our programs and services to meet the changing needs of women and their families.

In May, we were thrilled to launch the YW Transformation Campaign to raise the funds necessary to complete our new YW Hub facility in Inglewood. The new facility will allow us to grow our programs and better support women and families. The new building will be a safe space for families to heal and grow within the community. We are excited to see the community come together to say SHE matters!

Your contributions of time, talent and treasures continue to impact the lives of women and their families in Calgary. Each year, thousands of women, children and men grow and thrive thanks to your generosity, and I can’t say thank you enough!

Sue Tomney

Chief Executive Officer

Building Skills to Thrive

Shelley Jessop, Career Development Practitioner shares how the YW Women's Employment Resource Centre (ERC) benefits women seeking employment:

Q: What kind of supports does the ERC offer for women?

A: YW Women’s Employment Resource Centre provides services for unemployed or underemployed women, over 18 years of age, who are seeking job search assistance. We provide one-on-one career coaching and skill building workshops to develop confidence in the job search process and equip women as they prepare to enter the workforce for the first time, re-enter after time away or upgrade existing employment.

Q: What are the common concerns of women coming to ERC?

A: Women accessing our services experience a range of barriers to employment. Concerns that we commonly hear from women are that their skills are outdated and they want to improve these skills to be confident in their job search. Some of the women seeking our support have been out of the workforce for a period of time for a variety of reasons ranging from staying home to care for children to medical issues. Our goal is to support and equip them with the necessary skills to successfully find employment in our competitive job market.

Q: What options are available to women looking to build skills?

A: We offer a range of workshops and coaching support that help women develop employability skills and enhance soft skills such as communication and teamwork. We offer weekly women’s networking circles to build a sense of community. We also work with them to identify their skill sets and develop strong resumes and cover letters so they standout to prospective employers.

In addition, we offer the six-week YW Women’s Employment Program which combines classroom instruction with ongoing one-on-one coaching. We provide support with job search techniques, interview skills, help to develop connections with education partners and employers to build a support system for women. In 2017, 85 per cent of the women participating secured employment or returned to school after completing this program.

“I felt very alone in my job search prior to this program. Now I’ve learned about networking and developed a wonderful connection with women in the program. I am more optimistic and my thoughts are now focused on finding possibilities. I’ve learned skills that will continue to serve me throughout my working life.”

- Sam, ERC client

Q: How does the Women’s Employment Program help women excel?

A: The program has a strong focus on women’s empowerment, self-confidence, resiliency and self-sufficiency. We emphasis the value of community while developing employability skills and enhancing individual strengths. Women are connected with employers during the program to practice their interview skills and expand their job search network. A strong community of support is formed while women work towards their individual career and employment goals.

Q: Where can I find out more?

A: You can learn more about YW Women’s Employment Resource Centre in person during drop-in hours, by phone at 403.705.7543 or by clicking the link below:

Creating a Brighter Future

There are many misconceptions about women experiencing abuse, but the reality is our clients come from all walks of life, including affluent communities. Each woman who comes to us for help has taken the first step to building a brighter future. We work with her when and where she needs us most.

YW Calgary’s Domestic Violence Outreach program provides support for women either in the community or in their transition from shelter who have experienced domestic abuse. We know that each woman’s experience is unique so we provide holistic services, tools and information to help families rebuild their lives and live free from violence.

When she first connected with YW, Dawn felt uncomfortable sharing her story, fearing her experiences could be used against her, specifically with regards to her ability to parent her young children. Dawn’s partner had been telling her for many years that he would take the children from her if she spoke out or tried to leave him. Eventually, Dawn began to feel more connected to her counsellor and was able to let some of her fear go.

The ongoing sessions with her counsellor helped Dawn to identify and name the abuse she had been experiencing at the hands of her partner. Dawn created a personal safety plan with her counsellor for herself as well as her children to use when they visited with their father. The plans helped Dawn and her children identify safe spaces and people that they could contact in times of crisis. This gave them a sense of control over their lives, something they had not known for years.

The counsellor helped Dawn re-build her selfesteem and reassured her that she was not to blame for the abuse.

Today, the family continues to heal and are living in their home, safe and free from abuse.

Thanks to generous contributions, YW provided support to more than 250 women like Dawn last year through our Outreach program. Thank you for making a difference.

YW in the Community

YW WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES®

It's time to step up! Register and fundraise today for the 13th annual YW WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES® presented by Shoppers Drug Mart. Help women and their children live free from violence.

Join more than 250 women and men on September 18, 2018, put on a pair of heels and strut through downtown Calgary to help families take steps away from domestic abuse.

Can't participate - then please donate!

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