Supporting our Surrounding Communities

As you’ve likely noticed by now, we are not the United Way of Edmonton, but rather we are United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.  The work that we do extends well beyond the City of Edmonton and I thought would use my blog post today to highlight some of the work that is being done outside of Edmonton.

Recognizing that there is a great deal of expertise within local communities, United Way has established Community Investment Committees in a number of local communities including St. Albert, Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan.  Community Investment Committees bring together community members and relevant stakeholders who best understand the needs of their own communities. These groups are provided with a pool of dollars to invest in priority needs within their communities. Each committee recently made decisions on the programs that they will be supporting in the coming year.

The St. Albert Community Investment Committee has decided to support an Outreach Worker for the St. Albert Rental Assistance Program.  The position provides coordination of community services and resources to individuals and families to ensure that they are able to find appropriate housing options. Additionally, the worker provides assistance to families and individuals with low income to access grants through the Municipal Sustainability Housing Program and Capital Enhancement Program which provide financial assistance with monthly rent payments so that families who might otherwise be faced with eviction are able to remain in their homes. United Way also provides funding to St. Albert Community Information and Volunteer Centre and St. Albert Parents' Place, both United Way Member Agencies. 

In Strathcona County, the local Community Investment Committee has decided to provide funding to two agencies: SAFFRON and the Strathcona County Boys and Girls Club. The funding for SAFFRON will support the Secure Connections Program. The program provides programming for youth, parents and educators about internet safety and the impacts of cyber bullying. At the Boys and Girls Club, the funding will support a Youth Outreach Worker who will work to build relationships with vulnerable youth in the community and provide emotional support, mentorship, guidance, referrals and resources. We also have two Member Agencies in Strathcona County: Strathcona Shelter Society and the Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County.

The Fort Saskatchewan Community Investment Committee, which has been in place since 1998, has decided to support the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society as well as Parent Advocates Linking Special Services. The funding at the Families First Society will support the Family Violence Prevention Program while the funding at PALSS will go towards the Recreation Program which provides children and youth with disabilities with accessible recreational programming. In addition to some of the programs supported by the local Community Investment Committee, the Fort Saskatchewan Boys and Girls Club has been a United Way Member Agency since 1987.

United Way is also providing support to residents of Leduc and Parkland County through Member Agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club of Leduc and the Leduc and District Food Bank as well as through the expansion of the 211 Information and Referral Service. Additionally, many of the programs that we support within Edmonton provide service to individuals who choose to come into the city to access services.  

So as you can see, our reach extends far beyond the City of Edmonton and we are extremely thankful for all of the support that we receive from businesses and individuals across the entire Alberta Capital Region!

Tim Osborne is the Director, Community Building and Investment for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.