By Donna Marchak
The Community Hub program on Wednesdays at St. Andrew’s Centre offers a wide assortment of programs for clients seeking advice and direction in managing their careers, personal & family finances and accessing community services.
Marce El-Husseini, Community Advocate for the Sunrise Community Link Resource Centre Hub, is part of with a team who offers services in every quadrant of Calgary. Clients in Calgary South West meet at St. Andrew’s because of its convenient location and proximity to public transit.
“Our mission, as community advocates, is to empower our clients to take the steps forward to change their lives in ways they always thought possible. St. Andrew’s Community Resources Hub is an inclusive and safe place for individuals, families and community to come together to achieve development through resources, support and specialized programs,” says Marce.
Clients come from varied backgrounds and are given access to basic needs referrals, Advocacy (AB Works, AISH, Rental matters), information on local events and programs, connections to housing, counselling and financial resources. Many clients are new to Canada and need assistance in establishing their families in Calgary. A wide assortment of programs are offered, some of which include: financial literacy; financial coaching; “Sunrise $avings;” and tax clinics. Employment agency information, legal resources and guidance in creating RESP’s for children are also reviewed with clients.
Rev. Joel Den Haan, St. Andrew’s Director of Regional Ministries, welcomes the Community Resources Centre Hub to St. Andrew’s, as one of five locations servicing Calgary. This innovative program is offered in part with Bow West Community services and grants from the City of Calgary.
“Being involved with this program is very gratifying for everyone involved.” Joel noted that there are many who benefit from the service. “We are very pleased to be working with Bow West and The City on this worthwhile program. Helping others achieve their goals is very rewarding.”
Marce says that the flow of knowledge and self-awareness goes both ways. “Each and every day, we as community advocates, learn from our clients. We learn about their strengths, their dreams and passions. Most of all, we learn the true meaning of resilience.”
The community advocates are able to assist individuals and families in accessing resources such as food bank hampers, Project Warmth (winter coats), Christmas hampers and health referrals/information on how to access benefits. The Women in Need Society (WINS) for women only, Community Voicemail program, and furniture referrals are provided. Children benefit from programs like the Happy Birthday Project (birthday hampers for children), Bump and Baby Matters (for new parents with babies from birth to 6 months).
St. Andrew’s Community Resource Centre Hub introduces those in need with the inspiration and information to make their lives better and more fulfilling.