The teenage years are difficult for both parents and teens. Teens are searching for a self-identity and more independence. Discovering who you are and what you like requires exploration. Conflict often occurs. Adolescence is also a vulnerable and risky time because a teenager’s brain isn’t fully developed.
In a healthy family, parents provide guidance and boundaries through this volatile period. Unfortunately, many families are dysfunctional. Sometimes parents are simply unaware of the issues and emotions their teens are facing. Or worse, teens may have already been subjected to abuse, addiction, trauma, and poverty.
Continue reading Youth are vulnerable to sexual exploitation Prevention and intervention are key in stopping a life in the sex trade
Shortly after returning to school to study communications, I found myself co-ordinating volunteers for Arts on the Ave (AOTA), which runs Kaleido and Deep Freeze Festivals as well as the Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse.
Volunteers are seriously the best, and some of the most generous people I’ve ever worked with. However, working with people who donate their time presents some unique challenges; recruitment, training and retention are ongoing challenges for many organizations.
Continue reading The realities of being a volunteer co-ordinator Reflecting on the joys and challenges of working with volunteers
When I first began volunteering, I was just beginning grade 12 and looking for ways to gain new experiences outside of what high school could offer. I found my first long-term volunteer experience with Catholic Social Services as a Homework Club tutor. I stayed with them for over a year.
The program was a drop-in academic help session for immigrant youth held every Saturday. It was an interesting experience because while my best subjects were Spanish and English, I began to lose my confidence in tutoring these subjects every time a question came up that I could not answer. I began to wonder about limitations in my own offered abilities and I started seeking different opportunities. Not every volunteer opportunity works out.
Continue reading Volunteering as an important part of life Meaningful volunteering starts with finding organizations that click with you
On March 15, a diverse group of community members gathered in a sharing circle to tell their story of how they came to Edmonton.
Organized by the Edmonton Heritage Council (EHC), Weaving City Narratives was held at Ben Calf Robe – St. Clare School. The event was created to help people to find a sense of hope and belonging in Edmonton.
Continue reading Telling the tale of the city’s collective story Edmonton Heritage Council initiative helps Edmontonians find hope and belonging
With spring starting to peek through the winter cold, it will soon be time to plant a spring garden. Before sowing those tiny seeds, tackle a few garden chores to ensure your garden gets off on the right foot and grows the best plants possible.
If your garden has raised beds, now is the time to check for any damage. The soggy soil from rain and snow can strain wooden frames. Repairing bowed or split wood now will save you time and keep plants contained all summer.
Continue reading Preparing and planting a spring garden Great tips for getting the most out of your garden this year
Last fall, my friend Gerard Forget and I attended a Leaders in the Community meeting hosted by the Avenue Initiative Revitalization. The purpose was for people to share ideas and brainstorm implementation of new projects that would benefit the community.
Gerard and I saw this as a great opportunity to share our idea of organizing jam sessions for community musicians and performers who were looking for a place to play together in an informal environment.
Continue reading Musicians, rejoice! Making music in the hall Jam sessions strike a chord with community musicians and music lovers
The City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Service hosted a “Connecting Community for Safety” event at Alberta Avenue in March. This event helped connect residents as well as encourage and empower them to take an active role in crime prevention.
Residents had an opportunity to share their stories, thoughts and ideas around crime and safety in small groups. Afterwards, Community Liaison Constable Jeff Thomsen and Community Safety Liaison Gurjeet Sangha encouraged a four-pronged approach to crime prevention: empower, connect, prevent, report.
Continue reading Tackling crime is a team effort Empowering residents to take an active role in crime prevention
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out with a group of teen moms for two years while doing research for my Master’s thesis. It was a time of just being and talking with them to understand their world. I did not maintain a “professional distance” with the girls; we became friends. We socialized together, I babysat for them, I had them over to my house, I attended their births and baby showers.
What I learned is that like everyone else, what these girls needed most in their lives were friends. They needed people in their lives they could talk to, depend on and have fun with. I was by no means their best friend, but I was someone in their circle of friends they could reach out to.
Continue reading Friends for health and happiness
Community is built one connection and friendship at a time. One thing I’m mindful about is that while I’m quite outgoing, not everyone is. Part of my “job” in the community is facilitating connections. I love it. I’ve been immeasurably enriched, and I’d like to think my friends have been enriched as well.
Continue reading Be a connector
I moved to the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood in 2006. I didn’t move here to be its savior. I moved here because I could afford it. The neighbourhood wasn’t even on my radar initially, but my then boyfriend (now husband) suggested I look here as he had previously lived in the area. My realtor said she wasn’t willing to show a single woman houses in this area so I got a new realtor and a new house. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome! I love living here!
Continue reading The small things make all the difference