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FCSS Success stories

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FCSS makes a difference

Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) makes a difference in the lives of Calgarians. We are proud to share some of our success stories with you. If you would like to share how FCSS has made a positive impact in your organization or client’s lives, please contact us at fcss@calgary.ca.

Note: These stories are published with permission from the people involved. Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

 

Positive Child and Youth Development


Youth Central Society

Tim joined Youth Central in 2015 as a general volunteer with our Youth Volunteer Corps program. At first, he was painfully shy. Our staff continually encouraged him to participate in icebreakers and reflection activities. Over time, he learned more about our staff, his peers, and about social issues in Calgary, gradually becoming more comfortable. Last year, he joined one of our in-office leadership committees. This was a huge step for his personal growth, and all of our staff were excited that he had come out of his shell enough to take on more responsibilities in Youth Central.

Awo Taan Healing Lodge

Three siblings - two girls aged 13 and 15, and their younger brother aged 11 - joined the Youth Mentorship Program. After participating in the sessions and having their parents attend the recreational events and cultural sessions with them, the siblings all say they feel a closeness within their family now. They are now learning of their cultural traditions and cultural identity, not only at the Youth Mentorship Program, but also at home with their parents who are following through with the teachings and supports provided by the Youth Mentorship staff.

Antyx

Roxanne doesn’t always fit in very well with the other youth, and school has been tough for her because of bullying. She started going to Antyx, but would act up there because she lacked confidence in herself. At Antyx, Roxanne was able to make new friends, and she started expressing herself through art and writing. Roxanne now fits in better at school, goes to class regularly, and performs her art in public. Her mother has seen a big difference in her daughter, thanks to Antyx.

Family Cohesion and Positive Parenting


Métis Calgary Family Services

Susan, a first time mother, and her mom came to Native Network wanting to learn positive parenting to strengthen their bond as a family. Both had experienced removal from cultural teachings and traditional ways of parenting, and were disconnected from natural supports. They completed Group Triple P Positive Parenting (PPP) together during the pregnancy, and then joined the Traditional Parenting with the Elders workshops. Mom and Kokum (Grandma) learned traditional parenting and hands on cradle board teachings, under the guidance of a traditional Elder. Both mom and Kokum now have the tools to support each other, while building up a strong cultural identity for themselves and the next generation.

Carya

Jonathan was an 18 month old boy who was not talking and showed signs of disinterest in human interactions. Jonathan was happier when playing alone with a toy in a corner than joining in “theraplay” games with his family. Mom and Dad had their own challenges. Mom experienced high levels of anxiety about her parenting skills, which resulted in struggles with being in the moment with her children. Dad found it difficult to be spontaneous and silly with the kids, which hindered his ability to play with them. After working with In Sync over a six month period, Mom showed more confidence in her role as a parent and had less anxiety as a result. This was apparent during “theraplay” games when she took the lead while still being spontaneous, fun, and silly with the children. Dad also improved his skills of being able to relax and have fun with his children. By the end of the program, Jonathan was laughing, giggling, and engaging with his family throughout the “theraplay” sessions. Thanks to the work with In Sync, Jonathan improved his language skills, and the parents were more confident, and there was healthy child development.

Pathways Community Services

Debbie was one of the first clients referred to the Nitsanak Mamawintowak program in 2016. Debbie is a mother to five children, and at the time she was lost in her addictions and in an abusive relationship with the father of the youngest child. When the Home Visitor from Pathways first met her, Debbie had been recently diagnosed with depression, and was experiencing social isolation. She and her partner had just started working with a domestic violence counsellor on their issues. That’s when Debbie decided to turn her life around. After one year in the Nitsanak Mamawintowak program, Mom is connected to the Pathways community through cultural events, volunteer opportunities, evening family programming and weekly home visits. She is always willing to lend a hand at special events and is a role model for the other parents in the Nitsanak Mamawintowak program. She is now preparing to go back to school and has found the strength to leave her abusive partner. The Home Visitor continues to work with Debbie on child development milestones and developing her parenting skills.

Adult Personal Capacity / Economic Self-Sufficiency


Calgary Meals on Wheels
 
After fulfilling the intensive role as her husband’s caregiver and grieving his passing, Mary, a senior in our program became seriously worried about her health and was preparing to leave her life-long home and move to an assisted living facility. 

Mary decided to call Calgary Meals on Wheels to re-establish her independence with the support of our convenient and healthy meal service. Since then, she has not only gained strength, but a new perspective. “I kept my home and have a car again to get me around. Thank you for helping me through this low time in my life. The visits from the volunteers were amazing. I’ll never forget the day they brought flowers to me. I was really needing someone to give me a hug that day.”

Calgary Legal Guidance

Barb had chronic pain that did not allow her to work, so she applied for AISH. Despite applying and submitting medical reports from doctors and information from her employer about her inability to work, she was denied five times for AISH coverage. Barb came to Calgary Legal Guidance and worked closely with staff from the Social Benefits Advocacy Program (SBAP). Staff from the SBAP gathered information from doctors, specialists and Barb’s employer and applied again for AISH. This time, Barb was approved and received AISH benefits, allowing her to pay her bills and not worry about money.

Kerby Centre

In February 2017, an AISH client came to Kerby Centre because she was turning 65 in August. She was worried about her income after the age of 65. She received help in applying for Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and she was approved before her birthday. Three months before she turned 65, the Kerby Centre helped her apply for the Alberta Seniors Benefit and Seniors Blue Cross, and informed her about prescription coverage under the Provincial Special Needs Assistance Program.

Momentum

Trevor and Mary arrived in Calgary from Afghanistan in May of 2012 in hopes of bettering their lives. The family enrolled in Language Instruction for Newcomers Classes (LINC), while Mary and Trevor balanced full-time retail jobs. They experienced language difficulties, unsafe housing conditions, employment barriers and legal issues, as well as discrimination and isolation. Trevor knew he needed to make a dramatic shift from a job to a career as a plumber, which would provide sustainable income to support a growing family. Trevor joined a pre-apprenticeship training program and the Savings Circles program at Momentum. He was eager to learn ways to be successful in Canada and he regularly took on the personal challenge of sharing his life experience with other group members. After successfully completing this six-month savings program he earned the maximum amount available to him. With his determination, positive attitude and his new plumbing tools bought with money saved through the Savings Circles program, he is on his path to becoming a journeyman plumber. Matched-savings programs such as Savings Circles partner with participants to help them build productive futures through asset building.

Positive Social Ties


West-Hillhurst Go-Getters (Senior Citizens) Association
 
Jose came in wanting his mom to have the opportunity to socialize with people closer to her own age. Both were from Mexico, but mom had limited English. They began by trying a Qi Gong class, and even though his mom couldn’t understand a lot of the meditation, she absolutely loved it. Since then, both mom and son have become members and come to Qi Gong, luncheons and community performances, as well as craft classes like flower arranging and card making. They also connected with one of our other members who speaks Spanish, and visit with her at functions they all attend.

Distress Centre

After an argument with her adult son who has mental health and addiction issues, a mother called the crisis line at the Distress Centre. The son also spoke to the Distress Centre on this call and explained that he was not suicidal, but angry and wanted the money back that he had paid mother for rent. The son also explained that he has other support systems and a counsellor and did not need emergency intervention. The volunteer at the Distress Centre listened to both the mother and son on the call, ensured they were both safe, then transferred the call to 211 so the callers could access more resources. By listening and validating their concerns, a potentially volatile situation was resolved safely and peacefully.

Kerby Centre

Tammy found it hard to meet new people, as a single older adult. She discovered a monthly walking group at the Kerby Centre, and has met new people and made friends. The group walks all year long, no matter what the weather is like, and Tammy has discovered new areas to walk in the city. Now she looks forward to seeing everyone each month and is encouraging others to join.

Community Development


The City of Calgary

Last winter’s heavy snowfall caused significant hardship, distress and isolation for many Calgarians, particularly seniors and those facing mobility challenges. In response, Community Social Workers engaged residents around the issue of accessibility and mobility, and supported them to become more directly involved in the policy making process. By working together to raise awareness around this issue, community members became more confident and well-practiced in community advocacy, increased their knowledge of change-processes, and gained an incredible sense of pride in being an active part of the process.

The Alexandra Community Health Centre

Kyler, 17, heard about The Alex Community Food Centre last summer, when he went to the Food Centre for a meal with his single father and six siblings. Kyler was impressed. He’s met some great people who have helped him find a niche for himself in the community. And he says seeing people so kind and generous has given him hope for the future.​​​​​​