Empowering Our Community - Enbridge United Way Community Investment Project

A Safe Place; A Shelter for Abused Women and their Children, in Strathcona County, was the recipient of the Enbridge Community Investment Project. As a United Way funded partner, they received a one-time $50,000 funding gift and the volunteer expertise of Enbridge employees to lead a project to make much needed upgrades to their office space.

Enbridge’s long-time partnership with United Way extends back to 1969. In that time, Enbridge and its employees have empowered our community through multiple community renovations projects like this one, as well as, jointly contributing over $15 million to local Alberta Capital Region programs and services.

As a result of Enbridge’s outstanding contribution, the shelter received: 

  • A renovated storage room with upgraded shelving units;
  • A renovated staff office;
  • Installation of televisions and new bedding in each of the client rooms;
  • Furniture for the shelter's expansion into a new unit which offers second stage housing;
  • Custom artwork provided to the shelter from an Enbridge employee who is also a local artist 

The impact of this project will provide staff with greater capacity to help residents, as well as, improve the living environment making it more inviting and enjoyable for women and children in a time of crisis.

Thank you to Enbridge and Enbridge employees for your tremendous commitment to our community.

A Safe Place

A Safe Place provides emergency accommodation for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. They provide 24 hour crisis support, for up to 21 days, including counselling, child care, emergency transportation, and outreach services. A Safe Place also offers a phone line for people experiencing violence, elder abuse and for victims of human trafficking.  

In 2016, A Safe Place supported 727 clients (including 369 children and youth) from Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan, Edmonton and surrounding areas. In addition, over 2,000 calls were answered on their crisis line. Visit http://asafeplace.website/

Alarmingly, the number of reported cases of domestic violence continues to increase in our region. In 2016, there were approximately 8,715 events throughout the city that had a domestic violence component.  Alberta leads the provinces in incidences of domestic assault, homicide-suicide, and stalking and has the third highest number of domestic homicides.  At least one in four children in Alberta will witness their mother being abused and 70% of those children are also abused.  (Source: Edmonton Police Service and Today Family Violence Centre.)  

Community Investment Projects

United Way identifies the needs in the community, convenes partners, such as Enbridge, and acts as a project liaison in the spirit of collaboration and for the purpose of achieving positive outcomes for vulnerable populations. 

Lifted Up

Iman was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta to immigrant parents who moved to Canada from Tunisia, North Africa. She is a first generation Canadian and extremely proud of her heritage and the opportunity her parents have given her by immigrating to Canada to raise their family.

Two months before her seventh birthday, Iman witnessed her father brutally murder her mother.

Iman’s father was sentenced to 25 years in prison and Iman was put into foster care. She spent the next 12 years living with four different families in 10 different homes and attended 10 different schools.

Even though I never knew the strangers that were helping us, I was forever grateful for them and what they brought to our home.
— Iman
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You can help people like Iman.

In the foster home that Iman lived with the longest, her guardians were addicted to drugs and alcohol and suffered from mental illness. Iman spent many days and nights feeling the pain of hunger. They relied on welfare and the food bank to survive. “Even though I never knew the strangers that were helping us, I was forever grateful for them and what they brought to our home” says Iman.

Upon reaching adulthood, Iman knew she needed to make a choice to either allow her circumstance to rule her or to create the fulfilled life she desperately longed for. After investing in years of education, therapy, counseling and coaching, Iman has been able to create a life filled with success, happiness, abundance, gratitude and forgiveness.

Today, Iman is a transformational speaker, empowerment trainer, published author and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. Her memoir, “Cracked Open – Never Broken” will be available November 2017. Through sharing her own story of trauma and triumph she hopes to inspire the lives of others and spark the possibility for greatness that lies within us all.

Back on Track

Kim was diagnosed with postpartum. “You struggle with the guilt and the feeling that you should be grateful to have this little bundle, but it’s all in your mind. Even though the external might look happy to everyone else, inside you’re dealing with hormonal changes and mental changes—you’re learning how to be a mom. I almost had to mourn the loss of my old self. Your number one isn’t you anymore; it’s now this little person.”

Kim and her husband decided to move to St. Albert to set down some roots close to her husband’s job. “I thought I could integrate myself into a new city and do it on my own, but sadly, the postpartum reared its ugly head again and obviously it hadn’t really gone away,” says Kim. 

Today, I know I’m not alone and I’m the confident, loving mom I want to be.
— Kim
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You can help local families like Kim and her daughter Quinn. 

Then she remembered there was a Family Resource Centre in St. Albert and looked them up. This was the phone call that changed her life. “They sent someone to my house because they actually do home visits, which is nice when you’re feeling really low. So somebody came to my house, we talked and cried, and she met my daughter. She encouraged me to come to the St. Albert Family Resource Centre and to their parent group. It’s kind of like A.A. for parents.” 

This drop in program provides parenting advice and support around a variety of topics including potty-training, sleeping, in-laws, and things that you want to talk about in a safe place. It’s been two and a half years now and I am still going”, says Kim.

“The support is like family,” says Kim. “It helps to bond with a group who can relate with what you’re feeling. When you hear other people tell their story and you can relate, all of a sudden that feeling of ‘it’s only me and I’m failing as a mom,’ that isolation gets lifted because you don’t feel alone in this and you feel you’ll get through the challenges.“

A New Beginning

As a young man Danny’s home life was in disarray. Danny and his brother ran away and joined the circus. He learned many new skills and trades during his 12 years. “I learned how to be an electrician, painter, a sheet metal person, a truck driver,” he says. “I learned how to trust people and I learned self-esteem. I was really good with numbers and I could understand blueprints fairly easily. I could build almost anything. I didn’t have to read.”

But as he got older Danny found he struggled because he couldn’t read. His wife suggested he connect with the Project Adult Literacy Society (PALS) in Edmonton. P.A.L.S. is a not-for-profit organization that helps adult learners improve their reading, writing, speaking, and math skills. It has operated in Edmonton for over 35 years.

Learning how to read later in life was a big challenge, but Danny was motivated. He had just completed a detox program. “If I was going to survive I needed to be able to understand the AA literature.”

A local adult literacy program connected me with a tutor and the inspiration to learn.
— Danny
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You can help local people like Danny. 

Danny now helps others to open doors through literacy. “The rewarding part now is being associated with P.A.L.S. and United Way,” says Danny. “There are so many adults like me out there who need help. Just helping one person really means a lot to me.”

Danny says he receives as much back from the program as he puts into it. “We were in a program the other day and the guy in front of me said, ‘I just want to read like Danny.’ I can’t tell you how that hit me.”

Danny Haines is one of the 2017 Faces of the United Way and has been featured in previous United Way poster series’ before. The United Way of the Alberta Capital Region is proud to work with this tremendous advocate for literacy and community wellness.

As a young man Danny’s home life was in disarray. Danny and his brother ran away and joined the circus. He learned many new skills and trades during his 12 years. “I learned how to be an electrician, painter, a sheet metal person, a truck driver,” he says. “I learned how to trust people and I learned self-esteem. I was really good with numbers and I could understand blueprints fairly easily. I could build almost anything. I didn’t have to read.”

But as he got older Danny found he struggled because he couldn’t read. His wife suggested he connect with the Project Adult Literacy Society (PALS) in Edmonton. P.A.L.S. is a not-for-profit organization that helps adult learners improve their reading, writing, speaking, and math skills. It has operated in Edmonton for over 35 years.

Learning how to read later in life was a big challenge, but Danny was motivated. He had just completed a detox program. “If I was going to survive I needed to be able to understand the AA literature.”

Paying it Forward

Elizabeth was sexually assaulted in the spring of 2012. "It was pretty violent, pretty scary. I had a lot of problems after – post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, I was even afraid to leave my house." After the assault, attending one-on-one and group counselling sessions helped Elizabeth recover. She did two rounds of group therapy at the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, and then took part in one-on-one sessions with one of the facilitators. This process lasted for almost two years.

When she felt strong enough, she decided to share her story with others. “I wanted to be able to use my voice to help other people find the help that they need.”

“I thought that people needed a face and a name that they can relate to. Once I went public with my story then I’m someone that people know – I’m the friend, I’m the friend of a friend – it humanizes it because it’s easy to feel so far removed from the faces in the public.”

There were a lot of people along the way who pointed me to the Edmonton Sexual Assault Centre, but it took a little while for me to actually be ready for it.
— Elizabeth
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You can help people like Elizabeth.

United Way funds the Sexual Assault Centre’s client services so Elizabeth was able to access therapy for free. “I was in an okay financial place before this ordeal but I had to quit one of my jobs and I went through all of my benefits very quickly because I needed therapy three times a week, and it adds up so fast,” says Elizabeth.

Elizabeth speaks about her recovery saying, “Edmonton is such a good place and I feel that the community came together to help me out in a big way, and I really want to pay it forward.” She commends the wonderful police and detectives, the intake nurse at the hospital, the people at her work, friends and family for their support. And she thanks United Way saying, “This organization really impacted my lift.”

As a Community Impact Speaker for United Way, Elizabeth travels to organizations and groups that are doing fundraising and shares her story to show firsthand some of the work that United Way supports.

What does your donation look like?
It looks like me.

Finding Purpose

In 2001 Lincoln began experiencing vision loss. And with that came feelings of anger, denial, grief and loss.

In 2006, Lincoln connected with The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). “CNIB showed me the assisted technology for people with vision loss and that’s how I got started and that’s when I decided to work towards something.” In 2007 CNIB suggested that Lincoln enroll in NorQuest College, working towards a degree in social work. He started listening to books on tape and learned Braille. “That’s when I got involved with the United Way public speaking and I really got on to the idea of helping people and telling my story. People would shake my hand and tell me I am very inspirational so that helped build my confidence and from there, I flourished.”

As hard as it was, with support I found hope and purpose.
— Lincoln
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You can help people like Lincoln

Lincoln is a natural helper and speaks about how much more comfortable he is in his skin now as a social worker than when he was a rig hand. “I do speaking for the United Way because one of the reasons I'm here is because of the supports that were available to me. CNIB showed me what I could do.”

Lincoln gives back by working with aboriginal counselling services where the majority of participants are aboriginal. “They can relate to me and I can relate to having to overcome obstacles, so when they hear my story it allows them to see how I’ve changed and makes them think that they can change too. It shows them that we have troubles in life, but we can get through them.”

“I believe this is where I’m supposed to be now, as a social worker helping people,” Lincoln says. “I’m a completely different person than I was — I feel now that I can have a conversation with anyone. Everything has lead me up until this point.”

Hope for the Future

When Mike learned he was going to be a parent, he decided to quit school, find a job and move in with his girlfriend. He was determined to provide for his family and found the Terra Centre. “Young dads very much feel judged by the community. Our work is to help them engage in parenthood and show them that they can really make a difference in their children’s lives”, says Karen Mottershead from the Terra Centre.

Mike and his family received help to find housing and quality child care. The Terra Centre has run a program for teen dads since 2000. Last year, it served more than 100 young fathers. The agency provides male support workers for male clients through its Young Dads Outreach Worker program. It also supplies daily necessities for young families, such as bus tickets, diapers and infant clothing.

I have the support I need to keep my family together and I have hope for the future.
— Mike
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You can help families like Mike and Treyson.

Mike lives with his with his fiancée, his five-year-old son Treyson and his younger child, a daughter named daughter Selena. A budding hip-hop artist, Mike volunteers and works full-time to support his family. Because of United Way donors, programs support young fathers in our community. 

The Power of Love

The Power of Love

Sarah’s childhood memories aren’t the kinds of memories that most little girls have. She doesn’t have memories of sitting around a dinner table with her family. She barely remembers eating. “I don’t have memories of my mom making sure I was okay or taking care of me. By the age of six, I was removed from my parents’ care,” says Sarah.

Living for Tomorrow

Nicole’s relationship with money was rocky from the start. Growing up, she struggled with her weight and became the target of bullies at school. “Money was equal to my self-worth, and my self-worth was nothing,” she says.

Nicole left high school after becoming a young mother and turned to drugs to help cope. Her addiction even led to some time in jail.

While she was there, Nicole made the decision to turn her life around, embracing a more positive, hopeful and healthy future that didn’t include drugs or alcohol. Shortly after her release, a friend connected her to a United Way financial education program—Empower U—that teaches financial literacy skills to women living in poverty.  She decided to give it a try. “I’d always been a ‘no’ person,” says Nicole, “but this time I chose to say ‘yes’ and it changed my life.”

Now money isn’t scary. It can empower my life. My past can be fixed—by me.
— Nicole
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You can help women like Nicole.

The program helped Nicole manage her finances and set her up in a matched-savings program, where she was required to contribute $50 a month. At first, putting aside that amount seemed impossible, but she rose to the challenge.

Learning to save consistently was about far more than money: it was about making peace with her past and taking control of her future. Nicole is grateful to United Way donors like you for helping her get started—and putting her on the path to financial security and life-long success. “Now money isn’t scary,” she says. “It can empower my life. My past can be fixed—by me.”

Today, Nicole lives in social housing and has a stable job where she is saving up to help purchase a home.  

She’s also using her experience to give back to other women in her community who have experienced similar challenges. “I’m so excited to help others take control of their lives and to be part of helping them build more secure futures.”

Investing in herself—thanks to the support of donors like you—has paid dividends for Nicole and other women in the community. “I like who I am today and I’m confident about my tomorrow,” she says.

Faces of United Way: Gurston

“When I participated in United Way’s poverty simulation, it was a real eye opener.  I was so impressed with it that I thought it would be good to support it by volunteering for it. Basically everybody is given a role, which includes a set of circumstances that are challenging, and they have to work through an imaginary four weeks in the life of a person who is on the edge of poverty. So we’re not talking about the people who simply lack the skills to enter the workplace in any sense, rather these are people on the edge of poverty, who are living paycheck to paycheck. The simulation includes them experiencing some kind of challenge that just tips them over the financial edge and interacting with community agencies to try to get together a plan so that they can live financially secure lives.”

“I think it’s a very useful kind of exercise for people because I think there’s a general assumption that poverty tells you more about the individual than about their circumstances. Sure, sometimes people make poor decisions, but often times they lose their job through no fault of their own, or they have illness or family responsibilities.”

“When I participated in United Way’s poverty simulation, my role was that of a forty-two year-old grandfather of a one-year-old so I had to juggle child-care and a kind of marginal job. In this kind of marginal job, if the child is ill for a week, is the job still going to be there when you come back? Then it’s the round of charitable agencies and social services, so it changes your thinking about how people become and stay poor, and it also shows you the impact of social agencies being under supported. So, part of the idea of the simulation is that it’s hard to get to see your social worker and the charitable organization just doesn’t have enough money. If you have $600 worth of bills, they can give you $50; so, that’s not a business plan. It’s really an enlightening kind of exercise. It also shows the difficulty of being poor, the frustration, the loss of self-confidence, and all of those negative feelings. It’s a useful thing, and they have to have volunteers to run it, so I do that. I’m retired now. I can do it.”

“People don’t understand the demoralization of living in poverty — that this is a painful experience for people. You know, they can’t make their way in the world and when they have people who depend on them and they aren’t able to deliver for their loved ones, that’s really difficult—the feelings of frustration that the exercise creates.”


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.

Faces of United Way: Kim and Quinn

“Having children is such a huge transition. You can feel so isolated and alone and there’s no going back. I mean they’re worth it and you made them, so you struggle with the guilt and the feeling that you should be grateful to have this little bundle, but it’s all in your mind—it’s something going on inside of you even though the external might look happy to everyone else, inside you’re dealing with hormonal changes and mental changes—you’re learning how to be a mom. I almost had to mourn the loss of my old self. Your number one isn’t you anymore; it’s now this little person.”

“I wish there were more Family Resource Centres throughout the city. They have great programs. I started taking my daughter there when she was two and it opened up her world because she got to interact with other kids. Then last year she went to play school there. The support is like family. It helps to bond with a group who can relate with what you’re feeling. When you hear other people tell their story and you can relate, all of a sudden that feeling of ‘it’s only me and I’m failing as a mom,’ that isolation gets lifted because you don’t feel alone in this and you feel you’ll get through the challenges.“

“I was diagnosed with postpartum and my doctor recommended that I go to the Family Resource Centre in Mill Woods and get hooked up with the postpartum mom’s group called Managing Motherhood. So I did that. Then we decided to move to St. Albert to set down some roots close to my husband’s job, so we came here and for five months I struggled. I thought I could integrate myself into a new city and do it on my own, but sadly, the postpartum reared it’s ugly head again and obviously it hadn’t really gone away. I remembered there was a Family Resource Centre group here. I looked them up and made a phone call and that changed my life. They sent someone to my house because they actually do home visits, which is nice when you’re feeling really low. So somebody came to my house, we talked and cried, and she met my daughter. She encouraged me to come to the St. Alberta Family Resource Centre and to their parent group. It’s kind of like A.A. for parents. It’s a drop-in thing. There’s a group leader and we talk about different things like potty-training, sleeping, in-laws, and things that you want to talk about in a safe place. So I started going to that and I’ve been going ever since. It’s been two and a half years now.”

“I made a lot of friends at the centre and that was a huge thing. When we moved out here we didn’t see our friends as much as we used to. So making friends here helped a lot. I didn’t realize that it was what I was missing. You think Facebook might suffice and it might for some people, but I really need that human connection.”


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.

Faces of United Way: Andy

“Balwin is a school with a highly socially vulnerable population, lots of poverty, lots of trauma, lots of refugees. And so because of that population, United Way is involved with Edmonton public in a number of ways, mainly through the Family Centre, E4C, Tools for School and in many other ways. They built the park at the back of the school as part of their day of caring. So the United Way has had a huge impact on improving the lives of our kids and taking them out of that cycle of poverty. We have so many supports in this school that other schools just don’t have because the United Way funds organizations that can come into the school and provide therapy, provide success coaching, and provide individuals to go into homes and support to end that cycle.”

“We’ve got kids who have come from refugee camps, so things like getting those kids to line up is a challenge because for them what they saw in a line up was, I’m going to have to beat my neighbour to get to the rice—it’s trauma inducing. So in this school we have to address our processes and how we do things because we can traumatize the kids just by doing stuff that we take for granted … United Way is supporting us in making sure that we can address those things and that we are looking at things proactively from a position of love … What we have here is a community coming together to make sure that kids can succeed.”

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“These kids are lucky. If they’re not getting a meal at home, they’re getting one here because the school is supported by E4C, which is funded by the United Way. A kid doesn’t go hungry here so learning can happen and then they can give back and end the cycle of poverty for themselves. United Way evens out opportunities so many ways: whether it’s food or social or emotional, ending trauma … and they don’t just do it for the kids, they do it for the families so the cycle of poverty just grinds to a stop and the kids can achieve.”

“The kids here, what they see from the United Way is that there are people out there who care, that poverty can be ended, and that they can achieve something greater than what they thought before. It gives them the capacity to understand that they can also make a difference. In our school too that caring leads to us going out into the community and doing things to give back. In the winter, we have a snow patrol. It started as that block over there and now we will shovel all the way from sixty-sixth, all the way over to the school here and up the side streets. We take a period and everyone goes out with shovels. There’s a lot of older families here who can’t shovel their own walks, so we just do it. Those little things are inspired by the kids’ desire to give back because they see that that’s part of what a good Canadian citizen does.”


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.

Faces of United Way: Nicola

“I got involved with the United Way through work because we fund their campaign, since I work for the City of Edmonton. That’s how I found out that United Way is the main funding organization for the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton seriously changed my life—saved my life, really. So when I found that out, I became very passionate about the United Way. I’ve met so many women who’ve been through so much, particularly in childhood, which has affected their adulthood. Some of them were in prison, some were homeless, some were in abusive relationships, and some struggle with addiction and are in transitional stages in their lives. But after the therapy from the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, they made huge, amazing changes in their lives. They’re working, they’re safe, they’re no longer addicted, and they’re living healthier lifestyles.“

“For me, I’m now working a job that I like. I don’t call in sick all the time, dealing with severe depression and anxiety. I am happy and I feel quite confident in myself. I used to really hide behind a persona and I never spoke up for myself, whereas now I have no issue talking to anybody. I had really bad anorexia and alcoholism and I was not in a good place at all. I had several suicide attempts, but they didn’t work, so I thought there had to be a reason why it’s not working, so I knew I had to deal with it. I tried so many different therapies, but everything else was terrible and just made things worse. It felt like putting a bandaid over the situation. Many of the programs were way more triggering than they were helpful. So I was having lots of flashbacks. That’s when I figured I would call the Sexual Assault Centre. The first phone call was extremely difficult, but from that moment onward, my life completely changed. They were so empowering and encouraging; they educate, they connect you with other people who had similar experiences. Suddenly, you’re not this horrible demon who all these things happened to because you’re a demon, but rather, you’re in the place you are because these horrible things happened to you. So now how do you take your life? One of my best friends from group therapy was literally living in her van when she was in therapy, but now she runs her own business. It’s really amazing the changes that can happen with the therapy program. Knowing that, and seeing so much change, I became even more passionate about the United Way and helping. I knew that many of the women I met at the Sexual Assault Centre were accessing other programs, like addiction programs, the Food Bank, education programs, and daycare programs. Knowing that United Way takes a wholistic approach to helping people, it’s something I can really get behind.”

“I think the program at the Sexual Assault Centre worked so well because it was all based on a significant amount of research on what happens to someone when they’ve been sexually assaulted, harassed, or aggressed against, and they have therapists who use different modalities, which they blend together. They have therapists who speak different languages, which really helps because we have such a multicultural society. Their group therapy isn’t just come in and everybody talks for a bit; it’s come in, this is what we’re doing today, you all get to talk a bit, and then you all get to support one other. That was really profound. Also you get educated every step along the way, so it’s empowering. They also have a crisis line that’s available twenty-four hours a day, that’s specific to their centre, so you kind of feel that there’s a safety net too as you take steps to improve your life.”


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.

Faces of United Way: Muriel and Ed

“We came to Edmonton in 1962 and from then on we’ve supported United Way … We’re part of United Way’s Red Feather Society, which means that we’ve been donating for over twenty-five years. The Red Feather goes back to the early days of United Way. It was United Way’s emblem when they first started.“


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.

We Need to Stop Stigmatizing – Ron’s story

He sat there, a rum and coke in one hand, and a revolver in the other, ready to pull the trigger and end his life.

Ron Campbell was suicidal. He was sabotaging his own life and his family’s, so no one would miss him when he was gone. But Ron got the help he needed before it was too late - but so many do not.

Newly retired, Ron now dedicates his life to talking about PTSD and other mental illnesses, any chance he gets.

For 24 years, Ron worked in various departments of the RCMP. He was an expert in crisis negotiation and mediation. He was no stranger to high-stress and often violent situations, including one where his colleague and friend was killed in the line of duty.

He also saw the darkest sides of poverty in his day-to-day work, because in many cases, the people he was called out to help were living in it – and they were desperate.

“We can be productive, we’re not broken toys,” he explains. “We need to stop stigmatizing and start helping those who need it.” Ron is committed to a healthier, stronger community and feels that everyone, regardless of income, should have access to mental health care and support.

Stress is a part of life. But a life in poverty is full of stress. This can lead to family struggles, abuse, and even addiction and crime. As families and individuals try to find their way out, toward a better life, it takes a tough toll that’s physical, emotional and mental. Each year, over 500,000 Albertans access at least one mental health service.


The need is great... but you’re GREATER!

Lead the way! Join more than 3,000 of your community members who give at the Leadership level of $1,200 - $10,000.


An Independent Woman – Elaine’s story

She left with nothing…not a penny. 

The abuse was physical and emotional, and he controlled all the finances. After many years, Elaine finally made the difficult decision to leave her abusive husband.

Elaine applied for welfare and accessed Edmonton’s Food Bank. Hoping to begin healing, she found a drop-in group with other women who escaped abusive relationships. It was here that she learned about Empower U, a financial literacy program supported by United Way.

Her life began to change. In addition to learning how to manage and grow her finances, she took classes on employment preparation and personal growth, and counsellors helped her find work.

Today, Elaine is a licensed financial professional, coaching and mentoring others to reach their financial goals and dreams. And, she’s an active volunteer helping women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Thanks to United Way donors, Elaine is an independent woman, freely giving back to the community who helped her when she was at her lowest.

Economic challenges, natural disasters and a jump in our population. Before it all happened, there were already 120,000 people living in poverty in our region. Now more families are struggling, many making difficult choices between paying the rent and putting food on the table.

In fact, this past year there was a near 10% increase in households receiving social assistance.


The need is great... but you’re GREATER!

Be an Everyday Hero! Join hundreds of people who gave a dollar a day, and help people living right here, in your community.


A Chance to Change – Tim’s story

Tim* was 13 when the trouble started.

He was missing school, his grades were poor and he was at risk of being drawn into crime and gang activity. Then, thanks to United Way donors, just like you, Tim got the support he needed.

Tim’s youth worker learned that he was missing school to look after his two younger siblings. Through program support, alternative child care was made possible. Tim attended more classes, got involved in positive after-school activities, made new friends and his grades improved.

Tim’s youth worker still remembers that day when Tim said: “There’s all these people trying to help me. I want to change.” And the change was dramatic.

*Tim's name has been changed to protect his privacy.

*Tim's name has been changed to protect his privacy.

Tim has since graduated from high school and now has a full-time job. He has plans for post-secondary and wants to pursue a career as a social worker or police officer, so he can pay forward the help he received – the help you gave.

One-third of young children in our community lack the basic skills to begin school, many face challenges through their development years and too many kids aren’t graduating. In fact, 25% in our region do not complete high school within five years.


The need is great... but you’re GREATER!

Celebrate with us! As part of our 75th anniversary, we’re offering a special giving level of $750, please consider giving a commemorative gift.


Faces of United Way: David

“I’ve been involved with United Way since 1977. I remember it was 1977 because the Edmonton Social Planning Council used to be in the 630 CHED building and we had a meeting the day that Elvis died. Elvis had left the building. I was also with the Edmonton Police Service for over a quarter of a century and one year they loaned me to United Way, so I was the United Way liaison with the University of Alberta for four months. The police paid my salary, but I was showing up for work at United Way. I believe in United Way. I think it’s a good way of giving. I became a believer when I worked as a loaned representative. We had quite a good team.”

“I still say that my crowning achievement was that I was on campus pretty well every day for four months and I never paid for parking and never got a ticket. I attribute it to knowledge and friends. I played over thirty-five hockey at the University of Alberta for thirty-two years, so I knew who was in charge of the loading docks.”


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.

Faces of United Way: Al

“I was on the board for United Way from 1982 to 1988. I was the Chairman of the board in 1987. I also worked with the Government of Alberta so I was involved peripherally after that. I helped with the United Way campaign within the Alberta government as a facilitator.”

“The year I was Chairman of the United Way board, we had the tornado in Edmonton so we became quite involved with that, along with many other organizations, because that was the worst disaster that Edmonton had ever experienced. Most people would not have thought it could happen. I didn’t. As a matter of fact I was at a United Way meeting that night at the building they then occupied, which was across from the High Level Bridge, right on the riverbank. It was a hot day and so we sat out on the balcony. Then all of a sudden it got dark, dark, dark and by the time the session was finished, the rain was coming down in torrents. I was headed to the Legislature Building so fortunately a fellow said he would drive me to the tunnel underneath the legislature. So I watched a bunch of stuff happen including a train get hit by lightning — they were building the government LRT station at the time and there was a crane up there. I was talking to my wife, then all of a sudden we got cut off and BAM — it was a direct hit. It didn’t do anything but frazzle the electricity, but then we found out that we couldn’t go home the usual route because it was impassable, several of the roads were out of business. The next morning, the United Way board met to see what we could do to respond and we became part of the effort. It was really difficult to believe how hard that trailer park got hit on the north east end of the city. The other area that was badly hit was by the Sherwood Park freeway. Transport trucks were tossed around just like they were paper toys. We focused on providing relief where we could.”


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.