Transitions to Success

A United Way funded program helped Sheila find employment and start a new life with her family.

Sheila and her family relocated to Edmonton from a small community in the Northwest Territories. She hoped to find better employment to contribute to her family income. “We have to think about rent, we have to think about our utilities. We have to think about car payments.”

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Although, having never lived in a city like Edmonton, Sheila was only finding work on and off as a Health Care Aid with her in healthcare background. While searching online for work, she learned about Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society. She looked up the Bent Arrow Transitions to Success. (Transitions to Success is a non-paid employment program designed to support women who have the drive, desire, and determination to become employed in a career or profession that will financially sustain them and their families.)

When Sheila was accepted into the program, she was able to update her resume, write cover letters, and get the skills and experience to have successful interviews and soon she was offered a satisfying receptionist job aligned with her skills and knowledge. Sheila feels that the Bent Arrow Transitions to Success program gave her the skills she needed to get back into the workforce and she is always encouraging her female friends to take the program.

The program changed my life, I have something to do and look forward to every day.
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Show Your Local Love.

Faces of United Way: Cory

“I was born with albinism and growing up I faced a lot of adversity. Part of my albinism is that my vision is twenty-two hundred, which basically means that everything is zoomed out. If you’ve ever turned a lens or a pair of binoculars over, that zoomed-out look, that’s kind of how I see the world. Everything is in perspective, it’s clear, I see colours and shapes and everything, it just looks far away. I’ve seen like that since birth.”

“At five years old, I met with a disability counsellor who told me all the things that I wouldn’t be able to do in life. They told me I wouldn’t be able to play sports, that I wouldn’t be able to drive, that my career choice would be selective and education would be tough for me. So I came out of that meeting with drive and determination to prove that individual wrong, and prove that I could do anything that a normal person could do. It wasn’t easy. I grew up with a lot of battles and people putting limitations on me that I didn’t think existed.”

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Luckily I had great parents who supported me wholeheartedly. They always let me live out my dreams and do the things I wanted to do. I dirt bike, downhill ski, I played basketball in junior high and high school, and I played football on the varsity team.

“Beyond a strong friend base, one of the most important resources I had growing up was the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB). They were a really strong support system for me because with so much negativity living as someone with low vision and with so many naysayers, having my parents, friends and the CNIB supporting me in every decision I made really made a difference and I’ll always be so grateful for that ... I wanted to give back to the CNIB so I started volunteering with them so I could help kids and give them similar opportunities. Just this summer I was able to organize a basketball camp for children with low vision ... To me, the miracle of the camp was seeing these kids transform from having no confidence, to their state when they left where they were inspired to go out and try new things and realize their potential, because they didn’t have any basketball skills when they came in and they left with the ability to dribble the ball and make some baskets, all those basketball skills, and they lit up ... To see them building towards something they didn’t even think was possible was a great experience.”

National Volunteer Week April 15 - 21, 2018

We are very fortunate to live in a community so willing to step up to help lift people out of poverty. We appreciate and thank you for many of the things you do including building Homeless Connect care kits, sorting food and preparing hampers at local food banks, sorting coats and winterwear for people in need, cooking and serving food for families and seniors and building school supply kits. 

In 2017, more than 2000 United Way supporters participated in volunteer work throughout the Alberta Capital Region. For National Volunteer Week, we want to recognize and celebrate our volunteers for their ongoing commitment to the community. 

 Enbridge Day of Caring building Homeless Connect Kits

Enbridge Day of Caring building Homeless Connect Kits

 Volunteers sorting donations at the Food Bank

Volunteers sorting donations at the Food Bank

 Imperial Day of Caring at Edmonton's Food Bank

Imperial Day of Caring at Edmonton's Food Bank

 CWB Day of Caring at IKE sorting coats for kids and families

CWB Day of Caring at IKE sorting coats for kids and families

 Stantec Day of Caring sorting school supplies

Stantec Day of Caring sorting school supplies

It also takes a great number of volunteers to organize and participate in learning opportunities such as The Brain Architecture Game and Poverty Simulations. In 2017, more than 175 people volunteered to participate in Poverty Simulations across the Alberta Capital Region. 

 Heartland Challenge Brain Architecture Game

Heartland Challenge Brain Architecture Game

 EPCOR participating in a Poverty Simulation

EPCOR participating in a Poverty Simulation

 THANK YOU! Happy National Volunteer Week!  To get your workplace involved to help out in the community, contact jbatty@myunitedway.ca.

Faces of United Way: Kristin

“I was assaulted by someone I had known for 15 years. Eighty per cent of survivors have experienced acquaintance sexual assault, so someone they know or someone they care about. So for me, it felt important to speak out, to give a face to a lot of peoples’ experiences and then it empowers people to start talking … it makes me feel that talking about it is worth it.”

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“When I initially disclosed to a social group I was close with for 15 years, which included my brother, none of them believed me, and they all stopped speaking to me and they still hang out with the person who assaulted me. That was incredibly painful and incredibly difficult because not only was I going through this, but I was pretty much completely alone.

When I saw the ‘I Believe You’ campaign, it inspired me to talk about it. - Kristin

"I decided I wasn’t going to hang on to this because it was toxic to me to keep holding this inside of me — not speaking about it and keep shoving it down is not healthy. So I decided to post about my experience on Facebook before I went to bed and when I woke up, I was amazed at the feedback I was receiving from people, things like, ‘That’s so brave of you, thank you for sharing your story, we support you, we love you’. It was huge and I think then I started feeling more comfortable and then speaking about it in a more public way started to feel more comfortable. It is empowering to talk about it because it takes away that shame and the secrecy that is so toxic to survivors.”

“I work on behalf of the Sexual Assault Centre in Edmonton and I’ve been doing a lot of media stuff around the I Believe You campaign, which is connected to building a culture of belief and support for survivors of sexual violence ... With the campaign, we’ve seen a 53 per cent increase of people accessing the Sexual Assault Centre’s services across the province, that’s the provincial average. In Sherwood Park, it’s been a 90 per cent increase of people coming into the centre looking for support, so it creates this environment where people begin to feel okay talking about this with a counsellor and getting some help …

The goal is to change the culture so it’s knee-jerk for people to say ‘I believe you’ when someone discloses to you. And to ultimately prevent sexual assault from happening.”


United Way of the Alberta Capital Region partnered with Faces of Edmonton. Faces of Edmonton features 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.

Listening Can Change the World

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When Amanda Dauvin speaks about homelessness, she speaks from firsthand experience. Homeless twice before the age of 15, Dauvin grew up in a family that faced challenges such as poverty, mental health issues and addiction.

Dauvin shared her story as Keynote Speaker at the 23rd annual Mac & Cheese Luncheon, held at the Westin Edmonton last week. More than 350 people were in the audience to help raise funds for the seven members of the Inner City Agencies Foundation. The event is produced in partnership with United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.

 Keynote Speaker, Amanda Dauvin, 23rd annual Mac & Cheese Luncheon

Keynote Speaker, Amanda Dauvin, 23rd annual Mac & Cheese Luncheon

“In a society of First World problems like too-cold coffee, slow traffic, and a furnace that won’t sync with your smart phone, it is easy to forget that things like homelessness, poverty and hunger are First World problems too,” said Dauvin.

“We can choose to see homelessness as a permanent, unfixable problem that maybe doesn’t even concern us, or we can choose to recognize ourselves as the ones with the honour of making real and effective change.”

 

Thanks to her own determination and fortitude, and with support from several agencies including a food bank and a women’s shelter, Dauvin not only survived but is thriving. She has two university degrees, is a mother and runs her own business, A Cadence Coaching.

Dauvin now uses her story as a bridge between those who experience homelessness and those who can help. She volunteered her time as Keynote Speaker because she values the daily support provided to vulnerable residents of Edmonton’s inner city by Bissell Centre, Boyle McCauley Health Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, e4c, Right at Home Housing Society, Edmonton People in Need Shelter Society, and Operation Friendship Seniors Society.

 Jimmy Morrison, OFSS; Keith Hennel, ICAF Co-chair; Amanda Dauvin; Jeff Baker, ICAF Co-chair

Jimmy Morrison, OFSS; Keith Hennel, ICAF Co-chair; Amanda Dauvin; Jeff Baker, ICAF Co-chair


I believe one solution lies in the simple act of listening,” she said. “Listening to the stories of those we are here to support today, and doing so free from judgment, so that we can truly make an effective change in not only their lives and wellbeing, but also for generations to come.

Learn more about the Inner City Agencies Foundation.  

 

Faces of United Way: Rhea

“I work for The Family Centre, and I’m a youth liaison in south west Edmonton ... I was born in India and being in India you are exposed to poverty. I was in India for eight years and then moved to Australia and basically grew up in Australia. And my father is a single father and he raised us, so food security was definitely an issue for our family, but my dad did a really good job of hiding that.”

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“I sort of fell into this field of human services so I lucked out because I really enjoy it and it feels natural to me. I’m happy to be doing the ground work and helping directly, you know. I like seeing the change.

Just to have one kid say, ‘I don’t know where I’d be without your help,’ it really means a lot and reminds you that this is why I do what I do... - Rhea

When you see the confidence of a child grow, it’s a huge thing. I’ve built relationships with kids so it’s comfortable. I really enjoy that. When kids realize the potential they have, it’s a huge moment. Sometimes they just need someone to flip a switch in their head to make them think ‘Maybe I can do this.’”

“Finding employment is a big challenge for youth I see, also food security, transportation and health. We need more shelters. There’s only one youth shelter in Edmonton and it’s full every night. And what happens when there’s overflow — where do those youth go?”


United Way of the Alberta Capital Region partnered with Faces of Edmonton. Faces of Edmonton features 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.