December 2020 Volume 3 Issue 5 Mental Health issue!

Page 1

Volume 3 Issue 5 • December 2020

published by ZX Media Corporation

SHIFTING PERSPECTIVES Now more than ever, innovation plays a critical role in defining Alberta’s future. Alberta Innovates leads the way by bringing people and resources together to help Alberta businesses grow, create new opportunities and jobs, and solve challenges. Through our world-class expertise, leadingedge facilities and strategic investments, we’re charting the course of innovation that will help renew and sustain Alberta’s prosperity

today, and for generations to come.

Learn how

Clean Resources

Agriculture, Forestry & Food

Emerging Technologies

Health Innovation

IT TAKES A VILLAGE Engage. Inspire. Educate. Together. Krista Malden & Kenzie Webber

CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS VOLUME 3 ISSUE 5 The Community This grassroots magazine is a platform for, about and by the community.

Subscribe for your free issue of Community Now! at Copyright 2019 ZX Media Corporation, Calgary Alberta Canada Community Now! Magazine Copyright 2018, published by ZX Media Corporation. Volume 3 Issue 5 | December 2020 All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher and writer.

Mental Mental illness illness does does NOT NOT discriminate discriminate … …


It does notcare carewhat what size wear It does not sizepants pantsyou you wear It does not care about the colour of your hair

ItMental does not care about the colour of your hair illness doesn’t care if you are rich or poor It doesn’t keep a score

Mental illness does not judge you by your age Mental doesn’t care if It is not aillness craze or the latest rage

you areillness rich or poor Mental is REAL

It’s something we all feel

It doesn’t keep a score Mental illness is everywhere And is in no way fair

Mental illness is here to stay

Mental illness does not judge you by age Unless we work together to find a way It is not a crazewe orcan thestand latest rage Together To listen and learn How to help those around us Not in exchange or for a return

Mental illness is REAL

Mental Illness is in our homes, in our It’s something feel workplaces and inwe ourall schools It’s become a social media frenzy Mental illness is everywhere And it has no rules

And is in no way fair

But Together we can unite We can stand up to this and we can fight

is here by to moment stay OneMental day at aillness time, moment

Unless together to find illness a way Removewe thework stigma, survive mental Together we will build mental wellness.

... to be continued in issue 5

4 // Community Now!

Working from home? Take a break to enjoy the view. Celebrating 47 years of being locally owned and operated. Support local, and stay safe.

Uncovering the Importance of Mental Health and How to HACK It Shawna Curry


Improving our mental health may seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be. 6 // Community Now!

ental health conditions indirectly impact every single Canadian. The Canadian Mental Health Association states that, “in any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.” This year Covid-19 has forced people to self-isolate, caused an increase in unemployment rates and now the dark days of winter have set in. With these impacts, we see the number of mental health concerns rising beyond normal levels. Our distress centers and counselling centers are bursting at the seams to keep up with demand.

There is hope. Mental health is like a muscle that you can strengthen. There are lots of things that you can do to protect your mental health that we’ll discuss in this article. Common conditions such as depression and anxiety are interconnected with five key components including people, pleasure, pauses, purpose and positive self-talk.

rest that we find ourselves more creative and focused.

By addressing these key components, we’re able to positively impact our health. These tools can help us feel better without the use

Purpose Our purpose may be tied to a lofty life goal or life purpose. It may be something that gives us the perception of value in our day to day life. Finding things that give us a sense of purpose are key to our mental health. Your current goal might be to bring clean water to the entire world, or it may be to read to your grandchild once a week. Either way, it’s im-

of prescription medications that have many unwanted side effects.

portant to have something that gets us excited to start our day.

People We need healthy relationships and physical connection to others. People contribute to relationships and other interactions that keep us balanced and levelheaded. They provide intimacy and physical touch, some of our necessary psychological needs. Covid-19 brings challenges of self-isolation. Despite this, it’s critical that we surround ourselves with a few key people to stay connected.

Positive Self-Talk Positive self-talk can keep our thoughts in check to build confidence, self-esteem, and resiliency. In times of stress it’s important to be gentle and loving towards ourselves. For many of us, we have never lived through a life event that has brought so much stress and turmoil. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be compassionate towards ourselves.

Pleasure Pleasure is the component of fun, enjoyment, and satisfaction that gives life balance. We need things to look forward to. Things that make us happy. Now is a great time to explore new hobbies and outdoor activities that bring joy into our life. Discover new things that make you laugh, smile or be silly. While we need to take the current pandemic seriously, we do not need to be serious all the time. Pauses Pauses are any breaks, downtime, interruptions or gaps that helps us reset, recover or rest. It’s impossible to stay on high alert all the time. Our body needs time to slow down and reset. Find small opportunities in your day to take a few minutes to slow your pace. Have a breather. Reframe your focus. It is often out of

These five components interact together to build our mental health resilience. They are important skills to develop so that we can better weather a crisis. To cultivate these skills, research digital health programs that teach you these habits from the comfort of your own home. Why Mental Health is Important Our body has a stress response system to help us deal with what life throws at us. It’s our fight or flight system. It releases hormones to help us rest and digest food or run away from the lion that’s planning on eating us. Our body can’t tell the difference between eustress- the good stress that we love or distress- the bad stress that has us strung out.

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breaths. Start there without the expectation to do more. It’s better than to build success in small steps than to experience epic failure. If you plan to meditate for 30 minutes daily and never get it done, you’re creating feelings of failure. Start small and build from there. • Outsmart yourself Use positive self-talk to trick your brain that you’re more successful than you currently feel. Develop a support network that

(continued from page 7...) If we don’t give our bodies a break from stress, we may start to hit burnout. Symptoms of burnout include anxiety, memory loss, behavioral changes, insomnia, headache, irritability, cravings, weight gain/loss, and fatigue. Sound familiar? So how do we fix this picture? Read on… How to Hack it • Schedule social activities into your calendar This helps give us a break from all that hard work we do. It helps us to maintain social connections. Schedule at least one social event a week and make sure you do it. In Covid times, that can be a Zoom call or phone call with someone you care about. • Slow down to go fast Take time away from work tasks and find ways to slow down. This will make us more productive when we are working. Find a time commitment that you can achieve every day. For some people it’s as small as blocking off time to take 3 deep 8 // Community Now!

understands what you’re going through. Plan activities that are in line with your goals. Speak in present tense to tell yourself that you already are successful (I have lost weight, not when I lose weight.) And when in double, fake it ‘till you make it! • Ration your willpower You only have a finite amount of willpower in the day. Do your most important tasks first thing in the morning. Come up with a script for the first 30-90 minutes in your day. Start with things that energize you. Set your intention for the day. Then work on your most important work task before other distractions unfold. Improving our mental health may seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be. To learn more about other components that affect our mental health, read Healthy by Choice: Your Blueprint for Vital Living. The small changes we make today can lead to big results down the road. The key concepts mentioned in this article will go a long way to developing resilience. They can help us to develop coping skills that we need when times get tough. Remember to reach out for professional help when in crisis. Call or text 211 for a directory of local, provincial or national help lines. We’re all in this together.

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Protecting our Mental Health During the Coronavirus Christmas

Koleya Karringten


hristmas is like a magnifying mirror – a season full of emotional intensity, a time that takes our existing states of mind and amplifies them in a unique way. If we’re happy and fulfilled, it can be a period of beauty, excitement and enjoyment. If we’re depressed, stressed or lonely, these feelings can become dangerously overwhelming.

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where office parties, evenings out and big family celebrations would usually be. Like many of you, I’ve experienced my share of both sides of the holidays. I have treasured memories of happy family celebrations during good times as well as plenty of challenging and stressful years. After the passing of my beloved father, I would flow over with sadness hearing songs like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, and December 26th felt like it couldn’t come fast enough. With the addition of financial stresses and severe illness, some of my darkest moments have been during the holidays, when not being merry and cheerful can feel like a personal failure. “I found that with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone.” Dwayne Johnson This year, so many of us are experiencing loss, financial uncertainty and separation from the ones we love, and our mental health will feel the impact. Nationally, our minds and hearts are already under tremendous strain, especially the most vulnerable.

As Canada’s COVID-19 case counts rise exponentially, Christmas is a poignant reminder of just how much our world has changed, and how far we still are from anything that resembles “normal”. With a four-week period of new restrictions on gatherings and dining out just issued by the Alberta government, it’s guaranteed that for most of us, that this Christmas will be unlike anything we’ve seen before, with a void

According to a new study by the Canadian Mental Health Association and the University of British Columbia, 40% of Canadians surveyed said that their mental health had deteriorated since the pandemic began – a number that leapt to 61% for people with pre-existing issues. Most frightening, the study found that the number of Canadians having thoughts of suicide has quadrupled. Driven by factors like employment dissatisfaction, heavy debt and social isolation, we are experiencing a

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(continued from page 11...) tsunami of mental health challenges that are hitting seniors, women and economically disadvantaged groups the hardest. Christmas, with its pressures and stresses, will no doubt add to these statistics. As someone who has struggled with life-long anxiety and depression, my heart goes out to all of the people who are dreading Christmas this year, and all of the families who will be feeling the pain of missing their loved ones. However, we’ve all already endured so much over the past 9 months, and I have faith that we can support each other, even from a safe distance, in getting through 2020’s strange and challenging holiday season. In my journey towards mental health, I was fortunate to have the support of some wise and empathetic professionals who taught me essential skills and changes of mindset that helped me through some of my most difficult holiday periods. While we each have our own experiences and needs, I wanted to share some of the ideas and strategies that gave me comfort and helped me see a path towards

a brighter future – something that after 9 months of turmoil, we all need deeply right now. “If you feel ‘burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.” Dalai Lama Remove the Pressure: One of the greatest challenges to mental health during the holidays is the incredible amount of pressure to live up to expectations around what Christmas *should* be like. It’s hard not to compare ourselves to the seemingly perfect, smiling families we’re inundated with on social media and television, and a game-changing realization for me that I didn’t have to live up to any preconceived expectations. Not being happy at Christmas is not a failure – and there is no pressure to have Instagram-worthy décor or overextend financially.

Building Purposeful, Engaged & High-Performing Organizations!

12 // Community Now!


Stay Connected: The move to remote work has created a massive adoption of technological ways of staying connected – just like programs like Zoom have brought our colleagues into our living rooms, they’re an invaluable way of keeping our loved ones close. There is something so powerful about being able to bring a large group together and seeing the nuances of facial expressions and smiles – I get so much positive energy out of meeting with friends and family online, and it can be an amazing way for older family members to combat the psychological effects of isolation. Practice Self-Care: Self care means being loving towards our bodies, minds and spirits, and making sure that we give ourselves what we need to rest, heal and stay healthy. Christmas is often a time where we focus so much on other people that we can neglect our own needs, and this can result in burnout, fatigue and a compromised immune system at a time when we need our health the most. Giving your own needs priority and taking time away from work, the endless news cycle and daily tasks not only helps you, but puts you in a better position to support those around you. Seek Help: One of the biggest tragedies of mental health issues is that so often, people feel ashamed of needing help. As someone who was always seen as the strong person in my family who held everything together, I used to be reluctant to admit that I needed help of any kind – until one year, the combined stress of carrying the weight of both my tech company and family left me in the hospital with a life-threatening illness. It’s time to respect and embrace our

limitations as the things that make us human, and know when it’s time to reach for others – family, friends and professionals – for the help we need and deserve. With the new restrictions on in-person gatherings, it’s so urgent that we take care of both ourselves others right now. I want to encourage everyone to think of those people in our lives who might be experiencing isolation or mental health challenges and reach out – even a brief message just to let them know that someone cares. If that person is you, please know that you are not alone, and there is help out there (some resources are linked below) to give you the support you need to get through this incredibly difficult time. Let’s keep working to find ways to de-stress and stay connected through our Coronavirus Christmas, and look forward to reuniting safely in 2021. “Someday soon we all will be together, if the fates allow. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” Judy Garland.

Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas Mental Health Resources: Togetherall Peer-to-Peer Support Distress Centre Hotline Mental Health Helpline Page17137.aspx Find a Counsellor or Therapist aspx?hwid=ug1829 Community \\ 13



ith Covid-19 at the forefront of the minds of so many Albertans, up to date and relevant information provided by our public health officials continues to be of great importance and significance. Accurate and vital information is driving home an increased sense of urgency to take correct preventative measures and to put these measures into action...NOW! So, as you continue to monitor the situation through timely updates, constant changes in information, and ongoing directives from public health experts, what impact might this 14 // Community Now!

be having on your daily mental health, your daily mental wellness and well-being? I encourage everyone, myself included, to embrace a little bit of Positive Mental Health Self Care At Work; Home l Office l Remote. After all, ensuring the highest quality of Daily Positive MENTAL Health during these most difficult times is equally as significant as ensuring the highest quality of our Daily Positive PHYSICAL Health. It's all about having real conversations about the impact that the pandemic is having on our

psychological health & safety. Trust me on this one. When work, Home l Office l Remote isn't working due to challenges with our daily mental health, then life's not working.

• Right from the get go, I don't let the adult me run the show or steal the show and get in the way of experiencing fun and laughter and being silly and goofy!

Many years back, my psychologist highly recommended that I book a trip to somewhere special and somewhere fun for the sole purpose of taking a much needed mental health break. I was experiencing another episode of depression and high anxiety at that time. So, I

• I also give myself permission to feel like a Winner!! Although I may not know what it actually means to feel like a Winner, I pretend, in my way, in a safe and happy way that makes total sense to me and to my heart. All of a sudden, there's no past,

wasn't able to fully wrap my head around the idea that going away somewhere fun would be of benefit to my mental well being. I put my faith in the hands of my psychologist. As a result of this, Sharon and I booked our first trip to Disney World.


In total, we have visited Disney World on three different occasions and Disneyland on two other occasions. We always feel blessed and grateful every time we visit the happiest place on earth. Personally, I now feel even more blessed and even more grateful for what the Disney experience continues to teach me about The Value of Fun, Playfulness, and Happy as a bonafide strategy to best manage my daily mental health challenges. Before you continue reading, I need to say that I wrote this article with YOU in mind. Although it reflects what Disney World teaches ME about The Value of Fun, Playfulness, and Happy as a bonafide strategy to best manage my daily mental health challenges, it is my hope that YOU find something insightful here in my article on your journey of Positive Mental Health Self Care At Work; Home l Office l Remote. Maybe, just maybe, there's something written here that speaks to YOU and YOUR life. In work and outside work. Happy Reading!

• Positive mental health not only means being excited and enthusiastic of some “thing” that truly lifts my spirits and gives me positive energy. It also means that I must grab hold of that thing and jump right into it, experience all that it has to offer, with the courage to make it happen. And that's pretty cool! • I give attention to my voice. I actually listen to my voice as if I'm hearing it for the first time. I listen to my tone and I gauge my energy in my voice. Then, I ask myself, “Is what I hear in my voice a reflection of what I am feeling and if I don't like what I hear, what am I going to do about it?” • Many times, I ask myself, “Am I feeling anxious or is the feeling better described as nervous anticipation!?! Feel the feeling and pocket it”, I say to myself. Then, Do It; whatever “It” is. Most importantly, once I do “It”, I then realize my capacity to push through the nervous anticipation. I become mindful that I CAN do “It”, and I CAN do “It” again and again successfully. Now that's positive mental health. (continued on next page) Community \\ 15

(continued from page 15...) • I give myself permission to live the experience through my eyes, through my perspective, knowing that what happens will ultimately conjure up a full range of emotions. I actually say this to myself, in my head, in advance, in preparation for the exciting moments ahead. I feel less anxious and more ready to take on any fun experience that awaits me. • My wife and I manage the details. Specifically, I manage the details very well by not attaching heavy feelings or heavy emotions to the details. If I do, I then I get distracted and take the details to heart, and run the risk of not managing me while I'm trying to manage the details. I say, “Details are just ideas and things that I can do. I've managed this detail before. I can manage this detail again”. And that feels great! • My wife Sharon and I band together. I really believe that we are literally transforming our individual selves into an amazing two person tribe, ready, willing and able to embrace the fun, playfulness,

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and happy that comes our way. “This is a shared and happy journey”, I say to myself. Neither of us should experience it in isolation of one another. • And finally, allowing myself to feel happy and to share my happiness with others is without a doubt, the best strategy for my mental health and well being, and to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

About The Writer Robert Manolson, BA CCDP (Certified Career Development Professional), Leading Fun At Work & Team Engagement Expert, & Mental Health Champion is the Creator & Facilitator of Powerful Play Experiences, Positive Workplace Mental Health… For Teams. As Robert shares his energy and passions, he continues to challenge leaders in today's ever busy, always stressful world of work to acknowledge fun at work, highly engaged & happy teams as being the most cost effective strategy to raise positive mental health levels in the workplace.

Marilyn Dyck


riting this piece for the December 2020 issue of Commu-


But that their mental health will begin to restore as their contexts change, especially with community support.

nityNow! has been a welcome challenge. CN!’s initiative to host a virtual Mental Health and Wellness Week is a golden opportunity for all of us to pause and reflect on our own mental health and the environments that impact us. I thought I would begin with my own story of how mental health awareness developed in my own life. I was a young girl when I first learned that there were hospitals for people who have trouble navigating the days and tasks of their lives. It was in the 50’s and mental health was still in the darkness of the past. (continued on next page) Community \\ 17

(continued from page 17...) When I was 12 years old, our family travelled on a summer Sunday to see my Grandma who had been in a mental hospital for many months. My Dad (her oldest son) went into the hospital to bring her out to our car for a drive and a visit with our family. Grandma sat on the passenger side in the front seat beside my Mum. Various conversation topics and questions were offered. Grandma mostly just wept into the hankie in her hand. With tenderness we children knew and understood that Grandma was very sad. When I was 15, my Grandma died from cancer in her throat…We knew her mind was happier in the hospital with cancer than she had been before. It was only as I became an adult that I began to hear the stories of Grandma’s life and I began to ponder the impact of the circumstances of the lifetime which had impacted her tired mind. She married when she was 18 and her first baby came at the end of that year. 2 more babies arrived. She and her husband were chosen by his siblings (as their younger brother) to move to the U.S.A. to help his parents with a failing farm business. Now with 3 children they faced the challenge to survive and hope to thrive, in a scenario of poverty and a harsh economy. Grandpa was the love of her life and along with the harsh times, they laughed and loved. 3 more children arrived. She was expecting their 7th baby when, on Grandpa’s 32nd birthday, he was killed in a farm accident. My Dad, now 13 (grade 8) quit school to help support the family. Later that same year, her inlaws moved Grandma and her children back to their community in Alberta.

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Grandma remarried to a farmer there who built them a home. Her 2 oldest sons worked away from their home for their uncles’ farms. She worked hard. She managed the years of all her roles in nurturing her 5 youngest children, the work of cooking for seasonal work crews hired by her husband, and so on. There was more money and much work … and one more baby with her new husband. Years later, Grandma was committed to an Alberta mental hospital after throwing her shoe through the front window of the house of one her sons. My questions about Grandma’s history made me understand a significant picture of her stress and loss over her lifetime. I thought and came to believe that there were very good reasons for her mind to take a turn away from her reality. Years later I had the opportunity to get to know young people who had lived on the streets for a long time. We have been well informed by media and those paying attention, that the life experience of these young people is filled with extreme stress and danger. Every day they encounter violence, abuse, poverty, health issues, absence of nutrition, and a general rejection of their presence in our community. Community attitudes became more sympathetic towards the ‘mentally ill’, after the two destructive World Wars where millions of previously young, healthy people came home with post-traumatic stress disorder. When PTSD was finally named among our military the conversation about how our realities as persons in ‘civil’ society impact our mental health grew to inform in a larger perspective.

As I listened and learned from these wise and knowledgeable young people, I witnessed their change away from stress and anxiety as they began to take charge of their own choices and lives. I also witnessed that community support and belief in them made a difference. When young people recognized that others believed in them, they were able to believe in themselves. As the stresses began to resolve and fade in their reality, they learned it was safe to trust themselves and others.

purpose and meaning as the critical elements which make people mentally healthy and able to live their lives in wellness.

I met a respected psychologist whose study and focus was young people living on the margins of our society. He pointed out that their stress is in many ways circumstantial, and their mental health issues develop in contexts of stress. But that their mental health will begin to restore as their contexts change, especially with community support.

ing the critical power of the individual person as the necessary agent for themselves in any engagement together toward better understanding of how people help others.

A colleague gave me a critical insight in the form of a quote from R.D. Laing, a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness. He said: “Insanity is a perfectly rational adaptation to an insane world.” There is profound HOPE in this statement. It seems community is increasingly aware of the lack of effective interventions of traditional psychology theories to address the current realities of mental health and wellness in our society. For decades, from Europe to North America, the western world had embraced Freud and his theory that the purpose of life for every individual was to seek HAPPINESS. It is only in more recent history that Europe has re-engaged with the teaching of Victor Frankl and in particular his commitment to the perspective he believed was foundational to mental wellness. His book ‘In Search of Meaning’ has become a bright light in the darkness of Freud’s claim that happiness is everything. He wrote a great deal about

North America is following slowly with the recognition that traditional status quo psychology and psychiatry in particular is increasingly irrelevant. We are witnessing more discerning understanding and practice in psychology as young students and scholars bring their honesty and questions to this industry. They are leading the way in learning and test-

I learned from young people that: “Everything you need to change your reality is within you, yourself.” Mental wellness is a great deal about how we think about our reality. We create how we see the world in our brain every day. Do I have meaning in my life? Do I have a purpose to live for? What are the reasons I get up in the morning? Even when our lives are full of reasons to get up, sometimes we lose ourselves in another sadness that makes us forget to choose our reasons to live. What do I think? No one knows that but you. Therefore, no other person can tell you what you should do or think until they know you as well as you do!! People you talk to (e.g. a doctor, a counsellor,) etc. can be helpful in giving you a different way to think about something. But the main thing they do not have is the thing they need the most. They need to listen to you and to understand you and THEN they can offer how their knowledge and skills can help you. THEN, as you walk away and find your own safe space to

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But for anyone with experience and knowledge of how things work today, we find similar impact in how labels for people are created AND the label becomes how the person is seen and heard by others. Insanity really is a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world. Do you know anyone in our current ‘place in time’ in our society who is NOT describing our society and our world as “insane”? Pointing to this thought is in no way disrespecting the measures of our systems to help to the best of their ability. People who work to help other people are some of the most powerful messengers speaking to how stressful and insane people are finding their lives and the contexts where they live.

(continued from page 19...) think, you might recognize a way to see that is already in your brain, and you just did not see it until they mentioned the cue!! You can write down what you think! Then you have your thoughts to look at. AND the next step is to choose and start doing something you thought you wanted to do or think or accomplish. Doing and actions are magic for mental wellness. They fill our thinking and our hours in the accomplishment of what we thought was important to do. My Grandma’s sanity was questioned… and diagnosed, and she was locked in a room, where she knew no-one. We can understand that this non-effective intervention was just a sign of the times and that things have improved. And thank God they have… 20 // Community Now!

This is not about Covid. With all the challenges that Covid has brought logistically and economically, people everywhere are still recognizing the sanity of reducing the influence of the world around them. Taking time to think, to breathe, to get to know the people we live with, to have opportunity to see ourselves and who we really are, and perhaps what we can be when we can take charge of every day of our lives. … this shared experience goes on and on in everyone’s unique situation. When we need some help to process how we are coping: there is help. Good professional help is now spoken of, not as a power based analysis of you by a credentialled ‘professional’, but as an ‘alongside’ listener, supporting our own discovery of who we are and our own agency with power to act according to our own recognition of ourselves and our freedom to choose for ourselves. So many caring people serve in the systems that have been created to intervene in the pieces of life that do not work for ALL people. Their efforts to make changes on behalf of the

persons they represent is growing slowly as Mental Health is seen as a critically important area needing social change and new thinking.


“It is not what we do, but how we do it.” Linda Liebenberg PhD, Community and Join us on June 16th at the Youth Resilience. New ideas ARE introduced. Father Day Walk and Run! But the necessary to make possible the Click herewill to register today! funding to create new is not always Printstrategies Issue Community Events: supported.featuring: Decision makers are held captive Beer Fest, Expo, amazing community to traditional perspectives of the past, by data organizations, people and status quo theories which have not been and much...(it’s must read)


replaced by new thinking.


Traditional thinking and beliefs need to considerJOIN changes our systems and US in TOwhat CELEBRATE! programs need to achieve. They needsupport to start Great food, networking opportunities, local charities, and celebrate a great village. with the starting points of those they are stratSAVE AUG 15 2019 egizing to help.THE As DATE: community we need each To donate auction items or prizes to other. Community connections and relationThe Fathers Day Walk and Run or shipsOur areCommunity powerful. Above all, where they are Celebration please email shared, HOPE is there. A new book has just been released in Canada: HARDWIRED, written by Robert S Barrett, PhD, medical doctor and Louis Hugo Francescutti PhD, social scientist, both Canadian. They wrote a book about the perils of social IndigeSTEAM Power tomore, Choose media, screen time, stress and and the Indigenous Youth Summer STEM Camp 2019 phenomenal impact they have in our lives University of Calgary July 15The /16 to July 19 of our lives and mental health. contexts are creating the stress we experience. The 4 day camp for Indigenous youth hardwired partforisGrade about brains and that in 4 nights residence 7 and our up Day camp for Grades 4 - 6 our development as human beings, our brains of topics depending on your interests areChoices not to cope with ourHillrapidly 2019 ‘hardwired’ Special topic - Veterinary Medicine trip to Spy Campus changing social world. Register at registration is free

Seeking volunteers Camp program Communications WeSupervision have MUCH to think about Sponsors

... CHANGE COMES SLOWLY … We can do this!

Marilyn Dyck. a way of seeing

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As a community we can continue the conversation…Thank you to everyone who joins Community Now! Every month and especially every December for our mental health event. “Take the day” turned into a weeklong Free virtual event… find all the videos on our social media and we will make all the videos available on our webpage in Jan 2021

Jade Alberts

Blaise Hunter

Founder Peer Guidance and Multi-Sport National Champion

Author & Speake

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness”

“Let’s Breathe Fire” “Protect your mind-put on a mental health mask”

Vanisha Breault Founder & Executive Director / Terminator Foundation

“The truth is you can recover”

Thank you; Tony Del Degan for editing CN! Magazines Videos for Take the Day Mental Health

Deborah Nichol Building Better Leaders

Happiness Designer “Don’t look back-You’re not going that way” -Mary Engelbreit

Patricia Morgan

Adette Lacerte

Steven Armstrong

Your Spunky Seniorpreneur

Koleya Karringten

Ceo, Absolute Combustion

Founder, Nine and Three Quarters Coaching

Robert Manolson

Powerful Play Experiences, Positive Workplace Mental Health…For Teams!!

Joanne Neweduk

Owner and creative director Fabulous at 50 Founder FabulousHealth, Registered Nurse, Integrative practitioner

Shawna Curry

Health and Wellness Expert

Connie Jakab

Speaker, Author & Coach The Jakab Co,

Sharyl Madigan

Founder; Clarion Dynamics Strategists

Jennifer Hadley

Fierce Mom & Founder

Al Del Degan

Founding Partner & Anthologist Capturing Legacies Inc.

Karen Judge

Get a Dose of Happiness and Author; Drive Your Happiness

Mo Aladin BSc

President big sky hospitality







A Little Space Inside our Youth Called "Agency" When we take a step back and think about the impact of space, it's interesting to reflect on the who, how and why we ‘create space’ and how it can be leveraged as a tool to take care of ourselves and/or engage others. In all reality each of us create space in a variety of ways. Restaurants want their customer dine-in experience to feel ‘just right’. Yoga studios want their environment to enable their clients to create space in both their bodies and minds. Employers are often intentional with how their workplace culture takes care of their staff. People organize their homes in effort to reduce clutter and stress. Teachers design their classrooms to foster learning. People organize

24 // Community Now!

their social lives and responsibilities to ensure they have enough space in their week to take care of themselves. ‘Creating space’ can be physical, environmental, psychological, and relational and no matter the reason, the desired outcome usually connects back to impacting or contributing to mental wellness. At The Doorway ‘creating space’ begins with the environment we provide a young person. One of our desired outcomes is for the young person to have a place where they are welcomed and feel able to create a safe space in their own head to think, reflect and plan.

We understand when a young person arrives at The Doorway they are often entering our environment from the loud dangerous streets, crowded gloomy shelters, or a stressful living situation. We have learned they often feel powerless, tired, hungry, and tense. In effort to cope with their situation many young people who come to The Doorway do not feel able to be their authentic self. Their minds are running ninety miles a minute, they are often in survival mode or on autopilot as an attempt to get by. When they sit down at The Doorway our goal is for the young person to automatically feel a sense of comfort and ease where they can just take a breath. We want them to experience a genuine respect for their personal space, both physically and emotionally. We are intentional with how we set up our space so that they feel they have independence while visiting and are not having to ask for the things they need to take care of themselves. This includes having access to a washroom to freshen up, picking out a new outfit from our selection of clothing, heating up a hot meal of their choice, using the internet and much more. We want them to trust our space and know we trust them in it. We want them to feel a sense of home and community. At The Doorway, we are committed to fostering an environment where young people consistently experience our principles of integrity, forgiveness and listening. We trust them to write their own goals and identify steps to achieve their goals because we believe they have the skills and attributes that will lead them to success, and we believe they are the experts of their own lives. When we create this space for them to settle in with ease and comfort during every visit, over time they become more confident in creating a space inside themselves where it is possible to think about more than just survival. They are able to think about, and articulate, their hopes and dreams. They experience a space where they can explore endless possibilities for themselves. We have learned from young people that it is when they start to create this space inside of themselves

hat they begin to identify a multitude of things they want. While it may start with what they want the rest of today to look like, it quickly evolves to what they want next week to look like, next month, next year. As they experience having a space to focus and clear their minds, they become more aware of what they need for themselves to be successful and can plan how to create space between themselves and the people, places or things they need or do not want to be around anymore. They can identify what has previously made them feel good and in turn are able to plan how to get closer to those things again. This little space inside them becomes their "agency" and we believe this is the greatest space we can create for a young person.

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Mindfulness, Intentionality and Mental Wellbeing By: Jennifer Stacey, Executive Director Creating space at The Doorway where young people can be mindful and intentional, as opposed to on autopilot, are critical elements which enable them to be present in the moment and identify what they need for their mental wellbeing. Mindfulness allows us to be deliberate in our awareness of what we are doing and make positive adjustments in our thoughts and behaviours. As our space fosters an environment for young people to be mindful in their planning and goal setting, they are able to think about and articulate what is important to them in a positive way. As a result, they start to change how they see themselves and shift how they respond to the various things around them and/or happening in their life. This contributes to transformational changes within them, which in turn can have a profound impact on their emotional and mental wellbeing. Intentionality is part of everything we do at The Doorway. Being intentional is about making decisions that lead us toward a desired outcome. Our space creates an environment where young people can draw on their inner strength and make choices to set goals for themselves in a purposeful and deliberate manner. This provides young people at The Doorway an opportunity to focus on what they want for themselves, weighing out the pros and cons before making their decisions and working through their goals in a way that is meaningful for them. When a young person has a safe space where they can be intentional with their thinking and planning, they are able to gain clarity on the steps they want and need to take to find success in their life. Their confidence grows in their ability to make decisions for themselves and they start to find hope and possibility. This hope and sense of possibility strengthens their resilience and in turn their mental wellbeing. They are able to see beyond their current circumstances and continue to make changes toward creating a better future for themselves.

26 // Community Now!

We asked 'What helped you? What hurt you?' A 19 year old female who grew up within the Child Welfare System and was currently on the street answered: What Hurt You? Having people say something and not follow through Being placed in unsafe homes (Foster Care & Kindship) Telling something in confidence to someone and they tell someone else Feeling like I didn’t get much of a say in what happened in my life

What Helped You? Being listened to by someone Safe environment Follow through To have goals and something to work towards Able to feel comfortable around my surroundings including people A full belly Responsibility

To learn more about The Doorway visit:








I feel trusted here.

I taught myself that getting off the street wasn't impossible like I thought it was.

When I come here it's like all the street stuff disappears.

I believe you should always treat people with kindness and generosity no matter what type of mood you are in.

Setting goals and writing about struggles or strengths really puts ideas into my head and encourages me to do my best.

I have found that if you don't have 'anybuddy' to care about but yourself you tend to do stupid or dumb things.

Talk “with” me, not “at” me, or “about” me. Feel my feelings and my fears.


1 0 ,

2 8 0 8





4 0 3 - 2 6 9 - 6 6 5 8

- W W W . T H E D O O R W A Y . C A

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When the streets feel safer than home. Haven's Way has been providing homeless and at-risk girls in our community with a safe home full of hope, opportunity, belonging, healthy relationships, love and support for over 20 years. The safety and security we provide enables them to heal, complete their education, achieve their goals and keep dreaming about their future.

We need your help for them to keep dreaming. Join our Haven's Heroes by becoming a monthly donor. As little as $10 per month can truly make a difference in the lives of some of Calgary's most vulnerable. One-time and in-kind donations are also gratefully accepted.

Learn more at

When the Streets Feel Safer than Home • An estimated 35,000-40,000 young people experience homelessness in Canada every year • Approximately 20% of Canada’s homeless population is between age 13 to 24 • As many as 77.5% of homeless youth indicated that a key reason they left home was an inability to get along with parents. Factors included physical, sexual, emotional and mental abusive, as well as mental health and addiction problems among their parents • Nearly 1 in 5 homeless youth have been identified as experiencing some form of human trafficking • The longer youth are homeless, the more they are exposed to the risks of sexual and economic exploitation and the more likely they are to experience trauma, declining health, nutritional vulnerability, and addictions

28 // Community Now!

Safe Haven Foundation

Not all youth’s path into homelessness leads directly to that picture of a young person rough sleeping, addicted to drugs and alcohol or in the back of a police car. Some flee the dangers and abuse of their family home and are taken in by empathetic community members. Some do not want to access shelters so stay with friends from school, concerned sports coaches, or a friend of a friend that has space. These youth are couch surfing which is often explained as invisible homelessness. Couch

surfing has an expiry date. If there is nowhere for them to go when they have worn out their welcome, homelessness quickly becomes much scarier. Many will find themselves even more vulnerable and facing increased risk of crime and violence such as robbery, sexual assault, and exploitation. They become disengaged from school, have difficulty obtaining employment and are at high risk for stress, depression, anxiety disorders and suicide.

of a healthy, caring family environment. Haven’s Way is a voluntary, long-term supportive housing program that assists girls between the ages of 14 to 24, who do not have child welfare status, and who have a focus and commitment to completing their education. Key components of Haven’s Way are: • Educational Scholarship Program • Therapeutic Recreation Program

These youth sometimes go unnoticed or if

• Alumni Program

they do reach out for support, they are not a fit for housing programs because they do not have a “high enough score” because they don’t have high enough complexities. Essentially, they are not sick enough. At Safe Haven Foundation, we focus on prevention and early intervention through our Haven’s Way™ long-term homes program. We do not want these youth to go unnoticed and we do not want them to have to get worse before they can get support. We have an opportunity to end their experience of homelessness at an earlier stage, and to intervene before they experience further trauma.

• Youth Voice and Choice

Once they make the decision to open the door of Haven’s Way their experience of homelessness ends, and their next chapter can begin; whatever that may be. They have stepped into a future full of powerful possibilities. They will be given opportunities and individualized support and the resources to focus on their education and realize their potential. They have evaded the harrowing life the street would have handed them. They are free to dream, to create and accomplish a beautiful life for themselves! The Safe Haven Foundation is a registered charity founded in 1996 and our Haven’s Way homes opened its doors in November 2000. This unique and innovative program was the first of its kind in Canada and duplicates that

• Youth Self-Determination We provide comprehensive supports for six young women, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Age is not the determining factor when a girl moves out, rather it is a mutual decision that is made in much the same manner as a nuclear family. The average time a girl will live at Haven’s Way is two and a half years; some have stayed as long as four years. The impact of our program grows exponentially due to ongoing communication, informal supports with the young women and their families, and the impact they make as they enter their new world as a self-reliant, contributing citizen in our community. We operate on a philosophy of effectively creating transformational change. We support the girls and their families inclusively and understand the importance of connecting to culture and community. We walk alongside newcomer youth who have little to no family in Canada helping them navigate the immigration systems and enrolling them in school. We provide a safe place for youth who identify with the LGBTQ2S+ community and allow them time and space to who they are and create their identity. (continued on next page) Community \\ 29

(continued from page 29...) Over the years we have also changed our approach with engaging families. We understand that though relationships are broken, they can be repaired. This may take several years, and they may change form, however we support the families and let them know we are here for them and an advocate and support for their own personal journey. At Haven's Way, we support the girls to redefine what celebration means to them. Their pasts have taught them that birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas bring stress, crisis, more pain, and trauma. Growing up in homes riddled with addiction and poverty can make celebrating dangerous and lonely. We recognize the triggers that holidays can bring up for our girls and strive to be sensitive to that. It is also important that they begin to feel deserving of the special feelings that birthdays can bring and that, on holidays, there is space for gratitude. Seeing these girls giving themselves permission to feel the joy of celebrating, doing it together and for one another, is so impactful and we know that these memories will last a lifetime for them. We are giving them ideas and motivation to bring healthy and creative celebrations into their lives from now on. As we prepare for Christmas, we keep in mind the difficult feelings the holiday season brings. We will plan a magical time full of purposeful giving and community to help our very deserving young women at Haven's Way redefine the meaning and memories behind celebrations.

Lexi’s Story: It was just a short time ago that Lexi was referred to Haven's Way. Facing homelessness, Lexi moved into our home with her suitcase full of trauma and fears. We were able to support Lexi to get the resources she needed to begin to heal, to set goals and complete her education. Animals have always been a big part of Lexi's life. Needing a service dog herself due to health issues, her passion for animal training grew stronger. We were so excited for her when she was ready to leave our program and left to attend school in Nova Scotia. After excelling in school, Lexi has partnered with a friend to open an 8000 square foot training facility and we are excited to celebrate the opening of her new business, On Cue Animal Training. We are so proud that this resilient, passionate and hardworking young woman is an Alumni of Haven's Way! The housing and supports that Haven's Way provides truly does change lives and help girls believe in themselves. Our partners and supporters play an integral role in ensuring the success, growth, and longevity of the Safe Haven Foundation. We do not receive United Way or fee-for-service government funding and rely on financial and in-kind support from corporations, granting organizations and individuals. We invite you to join us as ambassadors by engaging support from your company, making a one-time or in-kind donation, or becoming a Haven’s Hero by providing a monthly donation. As little as $10 per month goes a long way in ensuring our stability and ability to continue to change the lives of homeless and at-risk girls in our community. | curbside pickup and flat rate delivery available

How Does One Become Pregnant With Purpose Purpose?? Blaise Hunter Author| Speaker | Mother of Purpose


I think we all need encouragement to just keep going. To keep pursuing our dreams, visions, and goals.


am Blaise Hunter, and I am a fertility expert. No, I don’t help people get pregnant. My mission is to expand the definition of fertility and inspire people to birth their dreams. I am a mother of a precious girl but because I have had three miscarriages, I am labeled infertile. I took on that label and believed the lie I was barren and had no purpose. I had miscarried my babies and then in turn miscarried my identity. I spiralled into a deep depression and thought my baby girl would be better off without me. (continued on next page) Community \\ 31

(continued from page 31...) Then a defining moment changed the trajectory of my life. I went to a church meeting where a woman healing minister was going to be. I said a prayer to God, “If there’s any hope for my life, please God, give me a sign.” In the middle of the service, the woman stopped and said someone was drawing on her so much she couldn’t continue. She walked over to me and told me, “God hears your cry. He sees your pain. The tears will end. Joy will come and you will write a book about it.” That was my sign! Hope reminded me my life wasn’t over, and I still had a destiny to birth. our pain is our purpose Our problems aren’t here to dictate more future hardships, but rather to challenge us to lean into our pain and let it become our gift to the world. Rumi once said: “The wound is where the light enters you.” We cannot have the light without the dark. So instead of masking the pain and running from the despair, I focused in on the wound and wrote my book Heroine: Embrace Your Flaws & Own Your Awesome. I told my truth for the very first time. I broke my silence on the trauma of infertility and pregnancy loss. I looked in the mirror and admitted all my flaws, fears, and insecurities. That is when I began to find the light and a Heroine was born. Through the death of my three babies I birthed a movement. I found freedom and I found my voice. I broke through the wall of shame and other women began to follow. From writing through my pain, I birthed an infertility program and support system called Footprints. Where men and women are given the space to grieve and find solace in their truth and know they are not alone. I won the Women of Influence Award for creating Footprints. In 2020 I received the Influencer 32 // Community Now!

Award at the Canadian Women of Inspiration Awards. That was all birthed from my pain. This led me to discover that even though I have struggled to bare another physical baby, I am not barren. I think we all need encouragement to just keep going. To keep pursuing our dreams, visions, and goals. We not only need to get pregnant with purpose but also a resolute spirit. You might be going through your own type of dry season, but you are not barren. You might not see the flashy results yet, but there are different stages to growth. Our purpose starts out as a tiny seed. It needs to grow down first and establish strong roots in the dark places before it can sprout up and bloom for the world to see. You might think that you are hidden, that no one is seeing you, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t growing. You are just planted for a time being. I am here to inspire you to continue on your journey and you will be amazed of the incredible things you will birth along the way. Do not miscarry your purpose based on the opinions of others or your fears. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in we are all called to be mothers and fathers in our own way. We are destined to create life in everything that we do. We are ordained to birth babies, businesses, talents, and love. Be fertile in your life today. Allow passion, creativity, and life to flow through you. I don’t know what our destiny is if we’re all supposed to have babies or not. But I know we are all mothers of purpose and I am always expecting. Are you pregnant with purpose and passions today? That is where the light is. When we can push through the darkness by leaning into the transition labour pains and birthing the best version of ourselves.

Like I said, we have all endured our own types of hardships here. We have been dealt blows and setbacks and our life ends up somewhere we never thought it would be. But we cannot afford to miscarry our purpose. Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Most people die at 25 and don’t get buried until 75.” He was talking about the death of purpose—emotional death. We need to fight for our dreams, our identity, and our very reason to live. We all have a distinct purpose to carry out on this earth. It’s our job to discover what that is and let it be our legacy. How bad do you want to live and make your mark on this world? I have looked physical and emotional death in the eyes. I don’t want to be dead. I don’t want to just go through the motions of life. I don’t want to starve myself from experiencing what life has to offer. Get hungry again. Get injected with passion and a zest for life. Lets’ have an appetite for purpose.

Let the wounds become your power Be fertile and get expecting Pick up your miscarried dreams and chase your destiny Birth your purpose and be at peace Learn more

Do you have an untold story in your heart? Have you ever dreamed about writing a book? Or maybe you have been attempting to write for years but find yourself staring at a blank screen... We wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, so why do we think we can write without a map? Blaise Hunter helps people "Google Maps" their book. Clients learn to plot the coordinates and know exactly where the destination will be before they start typing one word. Blaise is a published author, award-winning influencer, branding strategist, and CEO of Blaise the Trail inc. consulting agency. She helps people birth their goals and bring dreams to fruition. Contact Blaise today to GPS Your Manuscript & Birth Your Story. www.

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Local Family Run Business:

Meet the Ali Family The Ali family has built their organization on the following core values: Be Courageous, Aspire to Excellence, People Matter, Together We Are Stronger, Do the Right Thing and Humility The Ali Family owns Budget Car and Truck Rental of Calgary and has been doing business in Calgary for over forty-five years. Mohamed Ali was driving through Calgary on his vacation from Nelson, BC in a Budget car rental and needed to stop at a Budget location in Calgary to discuss the tires on his rental car. Randomly, he ended up meeting the owner of Budget Rent a Car at the location. It was that conversation that led to Mohamed to purchasing the franchise in Calgary.(this was in 1974) Subsequently, he moved to Calgary with his wife. Then, he called his brother and his father in Tanzania and asked them to move to Calgary to help run the business. Mohamed, and his brother, Shiraz, together with an incredible group of employees spent the next forty years pouring their heart and soul into this business. Today, the second generation, comprised of the sons of Mohamed and Shiraz (Naim Ali,

34 // Community Now!

Jamil Ali, and Hafiz Ali), have taken over the leadership of the company. Over the many years, Mohamed and Shiraz reinvested into Calgary and expanded their business holding into hotels (Regency Suites Hotel), parking lots (Park & Jet at YYC and downtown parking) and other commercial real estate ventures. Mohamed and Shiraz grew the fleet of vehicles to over 2000 cars and trucks. One of their proudest moments is saving Firehall No. 1. The Firehall had been neglected and abandoned by the City of Calgary. Mohamed and Shiraz leased the Firehall and invested over a million dollars into the renovating it. In 1989, the Firehall was repurposed as our flagship Budget Rent A Car location. They received accolades from rental car companies all over the world and their customers that this was the most incredible rental car location they had ever seen. Unfortunately, in 2019, the City of Calgary did not renew the lease and they had to move on. “We are so proud that we saved Firehall No. 1 and contributed to the landscape of the Calgary downtown.� Naim Ali | Chief Executive Officer SM2 Capital Partners

Q & A with Naim Ali | Chief Executive Officer SM2 Capital Partners How does Budget Car & Truck Rental of Calgary support the community? Philanthropy has been an innate value in the Ali Family. The family has given generously to multiple causes in the Calgary community, including the new Central Public Library, the Osten and Victor Alberta Tennis Center, and the family donated the land and funds for construction towards the Westwinds Mosque. How has the pandemic impacted Budget Car & Truck Rental of Calgary? On March 15, 2020, COVID-19 locked down the world. Airlines stopped flying and the Calgary International Airport came to a halt. Consequently, all businesses, especially those related to travel and tourism, including Budget Rent of Car, suffered devastating impacts. Due to the lockdown there weren’t any travellers flying into Calgary and customers were not renting cars to visit or work in our beautiful province. Suddenly, our focus was on the concerns around the health of our employees and our fears about the present economic uncertainties. We launched the Budget Worry Free Promise (expressly outlining the intentional safety measures that we take to provide a disinfected vehicle for our customers) and protective shields were installed on all customer facing counters. Unfortunately, due to this unprecedented drop in revenue and to ensure that we would be financially viable to re-open, we asked many of our employees to embark on a temporary “going away” plan. For certain departments, we adopted a work from home model where possible.

I am infinitely thankful to each and every single one of our employees who worked so diligently to provide our customers with a safe experience and stayed safe themselves. Words cannot capture the immense pride and gratitude I have for our employees as they demonstrated support for one another, our customers and the communities that we serve through the pandemic. I have been inspired by their resilience. What advice can you give to people who are looking at starting a new business? or getting involved with a franchise? Our advice would be the Golden Rule: treat your employees and your customers, how you would like to be treated. It is impossible to do it alone. And we are so thankful to our employees for showing up and staying grounded in our core values. There are such great stories of employees meeting circumstances head on and incorporating those challenges as part of their identity and journey. For example, this is a story that a manager shared with us: “A few weeks back, at the end of a very long day, I received a breakdown call from one of our customers. She got a flat tire. She was told it would be a few hours until a tow truck was available to assist with the tire change. Our customer called us back and explained that she couldn't wait that long as she needed to get to the hospital ASAP as her mother was there ill. Our employee, William overheard the conversation between myself and our customer, and immediately volunteered to meet her and quickly change the tire for her. William’s shift was over for the day, but he went the extra mile to make sure our customer was taken care of.” – Adam Sassano, Service Manager, Budget Rent a Car Community \\ 35

Calgary families need your help. Create a holiday miracle today! In times of crisis, Made by Momma knows that sometimes mothers are the ones who need to be taken care of. Help make sure no family has to face crisis alone this holiday season by donating non-perishables, new unwrapped gifts or family essentials today. 10 years. Volunteer-Run. Donation-Driven.

Adopt-A-Momma 12 CANs till Christmas Santa's Workshop

Simon House Recovery Needs the Communities Help! Our Story. Founded in 1982 by Doreen Baker and Franciscan Brother, Bernard Barry, Simon House began its work in a Bowness duplex that still serves men in need today, 37 years later. Simon House has been, and will always be a beacon of hope and refuge for men who have found themselves in the grip of addiction. Humble beginnings saw Brother Bernie and Doreen work tirelessly with integral volunteers and original employees, to grow and develop Simon House into the program and facility it is today. In 1983, the duplex immediately next door to its original location was generously donated to expand Simon House services and support. In 2006, through the generosity of donors, Simon House built a 30 bed building with a full commercial kitchen, board room, and office space. Today, Simon House operates 4 buildings and 64 beds, which provide 3 distinct phases of addiction treatment and recovery to assist men in moving from a residential program to transitional housing, and onto independent living with supports and counselling. Through committed staff, board members, donors, and community partners, Simon House has become a highly respected, valued, integral, and successful addiction recovery centre in the Calgary community, serving men and their families from all across North America.

Understanding Addiction. ASAM – AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ADDICTION MEDICINE – DEFINITION OF ADDICTION: Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

To find out more go to: To Donate go to:

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on


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Telling It Like It Is With Special Guest Interviewer: Krista Malden This issue of Telling It Like It Is features Jade Alberts; bringing the saying “Asking for help is not a sign of weakness” Forward. Where did the saying “Asking for help is not a sign of weakness” come from? To be honest, I do not know how I came up with it, but I remember the first time I wrote it down, I got goosebumps. In my opinion, it is the perfect statement that is extremely powerful. Why do you repeat this message? I repeated it because you never know when someone will see your post or hear you speak. I want to make sure that everyone knows there are people out there that will help you. As Vanisha said on my #TellingItLikeItIs Facebook live show, “The hard part of recovery is the first step, asking for help.” Why is mental wellness an important topic in life and business? It is something we might not see or know about someone until it is too late. I had two friends take their own lives, and I had no idea. I spent a lot of time wondering why I didn’t know, and I should have been a better friend. I was very close to both of them and had no idea. I think about them daily. We are a fix when we are broken system, and that has to change. With Mental Health, sometimes that can be too late. We have to let people know we are here to help.

Why do so many entrepreneurs go through mental health struggles? They have a few extra worries than the average person. They are not guaranteed an income; how will I support my family if I lose my business? Will people view me as a failure if I fail. If they have employees, what happens to them and their families if we have to lay them off. We all have worries, but entrepreneurs sometimes feel they are on an island, and that weighs heavily on their mental wellness. What does Peer Guidance offer to entrepreneurs and business owners in terms of support for their business? We are a group of carefully curated entrepreneurs who have assembled for a noble purpose before profit — to pay those honest conversations forward. We’re here to listen, connect, offer honest advice, and guide you via our vast network to the resources and funds you need to build a successful business. In simple terms, we have been there and done that. If we haven’t, we know someone that has that you will be able to talk to. Why did you choose to support entrepreneurs as your business? Because I am one and know of the struggles when you are sitting on that lonely island and thinking no one understands what you are going through. It is as simple as that.

Jade Alberts - Peer Guidance - Jade Alberts Consulting 403-771-1301 38 // Community Now!


Free expert business advice. No strings attached. Business Link provides 1:1 support and guidance, market research, access to experts, training, networking opportunities, and specialized support for Indigenous and immigrant entrepreneurs. 1-800-272-9675

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Banbury Crossroads School

Banbury Crossroads Seeking a school like home? School

For 40 years, Banbury has offered an atmosphere where children feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. Foroffer 40 years, offered We full Banbury Pre-K tohas Grade Toatmosphere learn more,where children feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. We offer full Pre-K to 12.orTo learn more, please schedule please schedule an appointment withGrade us today call in the office at today (403) or 270-7787. an Anne appointment with us call Anne in the office at (403) 270-7787.

Seeking a school like home?

For 40 years, Banbury has offered an atmosphere where children feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. We offer full Pre-K to Grade 12. To learn more, please schedule an appointment with us today or call Anne in the office at (403) 270-7787.

Building B1, #201, 2451 Dieppe Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7K1

Powerful Play Experiences, Positive Workplace Mental Health…For Teams!


Your Online Social Workshop

Building B1, #201, 2451 Dieppe Ave SW, Calgary, Series AB T3E 7K1 Experience “We All Need More Positive Mental Health At Work” COMPLETE REGISTRATION DETAILS

Exit Planning Workshop Series for Business Owners Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term that describes impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD is a lifelong disability and individuals will experience some degree of challenges in their daily living. Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges. Research shows that early and appropriate supports can make a positive impact and improve outcomes for those with FASD. The Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network (CFAN) aims to reduce the incidence of FASD and ensure people who are affected are able to live a positive and fulfilling life.

An introduction to Exit Planning, 4 part workshop series presented by Commercial Ventures During this 16 week program receive instructional lessons, workbooks and templates for how to draft your written Exit Plan. Gain clarity on the journey toward a sale and learn how to prepare yourself and your business to be operated by your successor. This online program is results driven & designed with; •

small groups


workbooks & exercises

Through our work, we support over 1,000 individuals with FASD and their caregivers each year in the following areas:

paired accountability partners

FASD support for individuals & families


FASD assessment & diagnosis

FASD prevention, training & education

Visit us online at by email at or by phone at 403-249-7215

You will come away with a written exit plan and clear direction on what your next steps Course Modules; •

Personal Readiness & Future Planning

Business Readiness in the Eyes of a Buyer •

Exit Options Analysis

Understanding Business Value

Timelines and Scenario Planning

Format; •

4 Virtual Seminar Sessions

Handouts and homework to be given at each session

4 Live Q & A roundtables, hosted virtually, between each seminar session

Accountability partner self-directed sessions Register Today:

Why I think “#BellLetsTalk” is missing an important point about Mental Health Steven Armstrong


ou may have seen memes of a lion or battle-hardened soldier with the words ‘The Problem With Being Strong Is That Nobody Bothers to Ask.’ I’ve asked I’ve talked. I’ve tried. But it seemed that nobody listened. It seemed that nobody wanted to hear. I am a big man; I’ve lived a great life, and I come across as hard and strong. I’ve led soldiers and emergency responders and been hugely successful. 42 // Community Now!

Yet I have failed. Failed in relationships, struggled in business and made moral mistakes that sit heavy on my heart. I was a functioning drunk who drank Rye like it was a cure for alcoholism. I am pretty sure I have been depressed, and I know I have struggled with my mental health. I grew up in an environment and served in the Army when you were not sick unless a bone was sticking out of your body. I understood that mental health issues were a sign of weakness. Motivational posters surrounded me saying: ‘Big boys don’t cry,’ ‘Pain is weakness

leaving the body,’ and a visit to the Chaplain or a Counsellor was a black mark on your career.

we got a door open, the car seat out, and to our giant relief, the baby started crying and was seemingly unharmed.

Such initiatives like ‘#SickNotWeak’ and ‘#BellLetsTalk’ are excellent in destigmatizing mental health issues.

Police, Fire & EMA came in time and took over the scene, and I carried on as if I were completely normal.

For a child of the ‘60s, it is remarkable that mental health problems are now considered normal and asking for help is the right thing to do.

But I wasn’t.

But where ‘#BellLetsTalk’ misses the mark is that we need to have a complementary imitative called ‘#LetsListen.’ But for many bringing an emotional problem up is hard to do. In many of my blog posts, I have spoken about my last couple of years at Red Cross. I was struggling in a shifting and changing workplace. I had made a bad hire and was trying to manage an asshole. Years of working in high tension environments were catching up with me. I was leading a giant disaster and working on my Master’s degree. In short, a lot was going on. One day I was rushing to a meeting in another city. While driving, I witnessed a small car get T-boned by a pickup. The vehicle was flipped end for end several times. I stopped to help and saw the driver, a young mother, was dying, the passenger, a Grandmother, was dead. As bad as the scene was, the worse was finding a toddler in a car seat, not moving and trapped in the back seat. Other good Samaritans and I fought to get into the back seat to help the baby. It seemed to take forever, but

Something switched deep inside of me, and I began to struggle even more with work. One day I told my boss what had happened, and that was bothering me. All I received for my vulnerability was an unblinking stare. I never felt so exposed or let down. That one incident changed my entire relationship with her. She was once a trusted friend and confidant, and now she was someone in authority with whom I had lost trust. The outcome was preordained the moment that trust was lost. Eventually, I left or maybe was pushed out of a job I loved and left people I cared for. There were many times that I reached out when I struggled with emotions and mental health. I made myself vulnerable by trying to “#BellLetsTalk,” but no one listened. A relative who told me that everyone hates their job so quit complaining; A boss who betrayed my vulnerability; or a Pastor who didn’t ask that one more question. And all that accomplished was a guarded fear of opening up again. So this year, as part of “#BellLetsTalk” let us try harder to ‘#LetsListen.’

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DON’T WAIT UNTIL MONDAY! Jennifer Hadley – Fierce Mom Personal Coaching @fierce__mom

“I’ll do it later”, “I’ll start after the weekend”, or my favourite – “My New Year’s resolution is…” Sound familiar? This is how we trick ourselves into thinking that our excuses are acceptable. This is how we set ourselves up for failure. By postponing our goals, we cheat ourselves out of the satisfaction of accomplishment. I appreciate that these statements all seem very grandiose and dramatic but if you think about it honestly, you might find the drama warranted. How many times have you started your fitness program on a Monday? How many times did you wait until the New Year to quit smoking or drinking? How many times did you put off a work task until the last minute only to have 44 // Community Now!

an emergency come up rendering you unable to do it? Forcing you to either work stressfully through the night, or create excuses for why you’re not ready. We’ve all been there. Assuming that we have time on our side. Assuming that we’ll have another opportunity, or that the ‘thing’ will go away or get easier somehow if we ignore it. We give ourselves excuses to wait. We tell ourselves that everything has to be perfectly in place before we can start. We need the right shoes before we hit the treadmill, we have to build the perfect website before we start talking about our business, we have to buy all of the ingredients for the week before we start eating healthier. What would it be like if we just decided to go ahead and do it now? What would it be like to use the motivation that sparked the idea as fuel for building our dream life by start-

ing where we are right now? It’s never too late, we’re never too old, and there’s never a wrong time to start. We’ve heard these words many times, but until we decide to consciously and actively participate in our lives, it’s all just a series of ideas and dreams without a plan. They say that “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is absolutely true, and the biggest mistake we make is not even trying. Not even starting. And then years later, we wonder why we’re still gaining and losing that same 10 lbs. We wonder why we’re still earning the same salary, why we haven’t advanced in the ways we wanted to years ago when we could have started. I wrote a blog post called “What happens when you press PLAY?” The concept is about what happens in life when we decide to match our actions to our goals. Pressing the PLAY button builds a motivation towards action. Starting is always the hardest part. Especially if you’re an “all or nothing” person. I tend to be all in or all out, but as I’ve learned, that not only stifles my growth, it also has an opportunity cost of epic proportions. Procrastination not only doesn’t get the job done, it could potentially undo progress we’ve already achieved! Like that pizza and burger binge we had over the weekend knowing that this is the “last one” until Monday comes in and eradicates our transgressions. And what happens on Monday when we’re lethargic and bloated? Do we check the scale and get discouraged because the water we’re retaining is literally weighing us down? What if we would have started on Thursday when that fitness plan was introduced to us? we’d have been 5 days ahead now and well on our way towards success!

What if we started our project when it came to our desk? We’d be home with our families the night before the presentation instead of sweating bullets and contemplating calling in bomb threats! It’s that way for everything, every “last drink”, “last cigarette”, “last cheat weekend” … all that does is put us behind where we started because we’ve given ourselves permission to fail before we begin. We pre-plan our self-sabotage in such a way that convince ourselves that it’s okay. Why do we wait until Monday? What’s so great about Monday? Is starting on Monday going to help us today? Only if today is Monday! Unless it’s for valid reasons, like the new hire starts on Monday so we can’t delegate until then. Or unless the gym is closed until Monday, in which case, find a new gym! There are many reasons that we don’t allow ourselves to start. Most are based in fear. Fear of the unknown, of ridicule or embarrassment. So, we make excuses. We say we have to wait until we have all of the pieces in place before we press PLAY because we’re scared of what others will think. We don’t want to fail. But in not starting, we’ve already predetermined our fate. Wayne Gretzky famously said that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. He was right. If we don’t try, we fail by default. Then there are those mundane tasks that we legitimately dislike doing, can I get an Amen for every small business owner during tax season? These are the “have to’s” but sometimes also fall under the “hate to’s” category. In these situations, I beg you – please – hire someone! The amount of time it’ll take you is exponentially higher because you know you’re going to leave it to the last minute, and then you’ll be stressed out and anxious over it, (continued on next page) Community \\ 45

(continued from page 45...) that’s just bad news all around. We’ve all been guilty of this. We save all of our receipts in a big box – don’t even laugh – you’ve done this too! Then we sit on the floor for an ENTIRE day sorting through it. Our backs get sore, legs fall asleep, we’re eating takeout and drinking too much coffee. We get distracted because we reminisce over the lunch we’re expensing, or get cranky over a parking ticket we paid last year, and then we end up surrounded by a ridiculous amount of piles that still have to be tallied and justified. The entire day is gone, we’re relieved that it’s done, and promise ourselves that we will never let this happen again. And then it happens again, year after frustrating year. Until we hire someone else to do it <insert angels singing and jazz hands here>. What happens after that is the most glorious thing of all time – freedom. No more

stress over the tasks we hate, no more aching backs, numb legs, binges, or distractions. This is magical. Please trust me – delegate the things you hate to do so that you can have the time and motivation to do what you love. And I promise you, there are people out there that actually love doing these tasks so you’re doing everyone a favour! Let’s promise ourselves – and commit - to starting today instead of Monday. Let’s change our thoughts around ‘waiting to be ready’, you are ready, you’re ready now. Here’s a tip I use a lot… Instead of Monday, call it Day#1. There’s a huge difference in what that does in the brain and how it’s processed.

Day #1 is today! What are you going to do today?

Mer ry mas! Christ

e y, n o lth y r e ea v E 1 H 2 g y, 0 n i 2 p h s p l i a fu W H ess A ucc S



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