March 2022 Volume 4 Issue 7

Page 1

Volume 4 Issue 7 • March 2022

published by ZX Media Corporation

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2 // Community Now!

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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER I will open with this: My kid came to me the Sunday night after the war started and said “Mom, it’s so sad. There is a war right now and tomorrow I will wake up and go on with my life as if nothing is happening” Dear Community, With a heavy heart, I am saddened by the world events of today and want to take a minute to address what is happening.

The past few years have been unbelievable, and the uncertainty has been felt around

the world. TODAY, we have to pause. We have to pause to pray and have HOPE for the people of Ukraine.

I have struggled to come up with the words, the right words, but there are NO right words for this situation.

So, I will tell you how I feel. I feel as though, I am watching my neighbour get the shit kicked out of them by their

abusive partner, I am standing there hoping they won’t die so I may help them recover. I am watching the rest of my neighbour’s watch, knowing there isn’t much they can

do except HOPE. And I am watching the higher powers stand on the sidelines telling

everyone to stay back, don’t get involved…because we don’t want to escalate the situa-

tion…and not to worry because “WE WILL BE OK” and “WE WILL BE THERE WHEN THE ABUSE IS OVER TO PICK UP THE PIECES” I understand, this is bigger than any of us. This is the world repeating history. This is NOT the world I ever thought I would live in. Canadian’s have freedom. To the people of Ukraine, we stand with you from a far. We believe in you. We HOPE and pray that this will end in your favour. You are ALL heroes.

To everyone, Ukraine is not only fighting for themselves and their country, they are also fighting for the rest of the world.

To President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, you are a true leader. We as a society need to be better. “It takes a village” and the village is NOT just local it is GLOBAL.

- Krista Malden, founder of Community Now! Magazine.

INNOVATION AND COMMUNITY COLLIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS VOLUME 4 ISSUE 6 To The Young People of Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P5 A Message to the Youth of Today • Al Del Degan Permission To Be You • Jennifer Hadley The Superpower Project EQ: The Next Generation • Blaise Hunter Community Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P17 Safe Haven Education; A Key to Opportunity. • Krista Mergel The Doorway Skipping Stone Foundation Community Features: People Making an Impact. . . . . P24

Youth Running a Business - What That Looks Like. • Sophia Fairweather Making Mortgages Easy for First Time Home Buyers: HOUSKI Mental Health. Youth. Parents.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P43 Three Things I Wish I Had Known • Maureen Towns Should I be Concerned About my Quiet Anxious Teen? • Tracy Quillet Mental Health Tip of the Month • Joanne Neweduk Identity: a Short Piece by Hayden Taylor International Women’s Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P53 Hopes Corner • Kimberly Dawn

Christina Henderson

International Women’s Day 2022

Geoff Freeborn

Featuring Women in the Community

Youth and Business. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P29

In the Community. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P58

Stop Searching for a Career • Robert Manson The Importance of Hiring Juniors and Interns • Halle Andrews Telling It Like It Is

Episode 2: Overcoming New Obstacles • Jill Quirk Calgary’s Getting Ready to Ride • Shawn Webber

• Jade Alberta

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 4 Issue 7 | March 2022 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.

This grassroots magazine is a platform for, about and by the community.

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To The Young People of Today.

“Build the fundamental skills that let you respond to rapidly evolving challenges in the future. Learn to think critically, creatively, and in systems. Understanding how a computer works and how we move our ideas into software is also really valuable. Everyone needs to be able to learn quickly and respond. That is the core competency required for most future work. Become a student of human nature and cultivate a strong self-reflective practice that seeks to improve the quality of your thinking and acting.” - Greg Hart, Founder Thin Air Labs Community \\ 5

A Message to the Youth of Today Al Del Degan

P Unfortunately the truth is that we only see the world from our perspective and our perspective can be very wrong at times. 6 // Community Now!

erspective is a word that basically means from your own point of view. The way things look, feel, or sound to you rather than to someone else. As we grow, our mind grows and all the experiences in our life build upon one another giving us new insights and new perspectives. At any particular point in your life, in your mind, you feel like you know what is right, what is wrong, and where the “grey areas” are. In simple terms, we always think that we are pretty smart, and everyone else is clueless, especially our parents. That is because from our perspective, certain things make sense and we expect that everyone else thinks the same way as us.

Eventually the person is interrupted by their server coming by to ask if they need anything else. Would your perspective change if you knew that the person at the other table just came from visiting their mother at the hospital, and that their mother only has a week or so to live? Would knowing that they were simply looking out the window that is right behind you while they were in deep thought and upset about their mother’s situation? Of course it would, and you might feel a bit silly thinking it was all about you.

Unfortunately the truth is that we only see the world from our perspective and our perspective can be very wrong at times. Let’s look at a realistic example to clarify my point. Let’s say you are sitting in a restaurant with your friend and you notice a person a few tables away that keeps staring at you. They have a very disapproving facial expression and it is bothering you a great deal. You mention to your friend “don’t make it obvious by looking, but do you see that person a few tables away that keeps staring at us? How rude, do I have pasta sauce on my face or something?”. Your friend immediately sides with you, and for the next few minutes your conversation is taken up talking about it as you both start to get angry.

The way we see colors, the way our brains process sounds and form memories is very different from everyone else, to some degree. Things that you find so simple, or easy, or obvious, are often the opposite of that to someone else. Don’t believe me? Do you recall the viral phenomenon of “The dress” back in 2015 where people argued over a washed out photograph of a dress posted on Facebook ( To some the dress was gold and white, but to others it was black and blue. Within a week, more than ten million tweets mentioned the dress. Spoiler… the dress was black and blue, but the designer ended up making a gold and white version in response to all the attention. Why do we all get so passionate about the way we see things? How many court battles and lawyers fees could have been saved if people could take the time to think about the other person’s perspective? If you want to live your best life, keep in the front of your mind that everyone has a different perspective. When people do or say something that you don’t agree with, try to suppress your feelings until you can consider what their perspective might be. As hard as it might be, if you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you may just realize that rather than being right or wrong, it could just be a matter of perspective. Community \\ 7


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Jennifer Hadley


one are the days where the only “right way” of having success depended on going to school, getting a job, building a family and then living the middle-class dream. There are so many different streams to success available to us now that we can choose from. The old model was set up for war times and for economic growth based on the factory models. Although with all of the world’s chaos lately, it may seem we are right back there, however our future has never been so “in our own hands” before. This is an exciting time and an opportunity to really live the life you want to live – not the life that you’ve been told you “should” live. I don’t live on the edge, or think of myself as some sort of martyr for no longer doing the traditional things in life – I have! I went to university after high school, and left because I didn’t want to commit to years of learning something I didn’t know I wanted to do – that’s a huge financial and time commitment if you’re not committed! Then I worked in the hospitality industry, spent money like a mad woman because it was easy enough to make it all back the next day. Then got married, had kids, went back to school, got a “real job” and

the only thing that actually lasted from all of that was the fact that I still have kids, and a huge amount of credit card debt because I never saved a penny. I’ve been fired from a lot of “real jobs” and left my marriage 8 years ago because I was absolutely miserable. The way it looks on the outside is that I failed. My family saw it that way, and I let myself think that too. But I didn’t fail – I did it all, and then finally understood that I am just not built for the traditional life that we were conditioned to live. And that’s OK! Knowing who you really are in a world that is constantly changing is a real gift. A gift that gives you true insight into where you should be, based on your own purpose and values – not someone else’s. This is different for everyone, some people love that life, and it works for them. I am so grateful that there are those out there that LOVE accounting, and LOVE insurance, and LOVE the 9-5 where they can go to work, do their thing, and shut it off at the end of the day. Some days I wish I could do that too. But the universe keeps firing me from those jobs, keeps pulling me into this entrepreneurial/contactor life, because it knows that’s who I really am. Even though a consistent paycheque provides a lot of security, I found that the security of that had a huge cost on my soul. There was a lot of unbalanced energy around my wanting to climb the corporate ladder, and also wanting to be a mom and not have to ask for permission to leave my desk to pick up my kids from school. That’s one of my highest values – that’s why my company is called Fierce Mom.

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(continued from page 9...) Why am I telling you all of this? Because as you grow and figure out who you are, you might see that you’re not on the same path as your parents, friends, community members or anyone else who you may have followed or admired as a child. People you have looked up to before, may have inadvertently fallen from their pedestals that you’ve put them on. Not necessarily for anything negative or wrong, but you as a person are growing, you are changing as you come into your own. You are going to form your own opinions based on your own feelings and experiences, and sometimes, you learn that you’re no longer aligned with the beliefs you grew up with. Give yourself permission to explore that. Give yourself the autonomy to be you in a world where others want to have influence over you. Be your own cheerleader. Not to say that you need to eliminate others from your life or have conflicts with people that aren’t aligned with you. There is a lot of good that comes in knowing how others think and work and in what they value. The point is, that you can be you in any situation, and when you act and grow and pursue a life that is yours based on your true values and purpose – you’ll find ultimate happiness, fulfilment, and success. It’s hard to break the mould. Coming out, claiming your identity, “doing you”. There will be a lot of opposition and discomfort. But on the other side of that is freedom and joy. On the other side is where you find your truth and your tribe. The people that are just like you, that want the same things, that have similar goals and ideals and beliefs. When you find your community, you will feel safe and fulfilled.

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I always knew who I really was, but my need to keep up with the rest, my need to make my parents and family proud, my obligations to my community, and the ideals of what I should do all made me blurry. I feared stepping out and putting my stake in the ground. Not until I was in my late 30’s and deep in debt, depression, anxiety, divorce and feeling like my life was imploding did I finally start to listen to my heart. I went against the traditional expectations I was supposed to live, and found my purpose. I did a lot of work, a lot of digging and a lot of discovery. It came to this – I am a great mom, an entrepreneur and a leader. I am fierce and fearless. And I now live my life in alignment with those values. Confidently shouting it from the rooftops and not concerning myself with what others have to say about it has given me freedom and absolute joy (among the hard times it’s taken to get me here and the hard work it takes to stay here – this isn’t always Disneyland, there is always a cost, but the cost to me is worth it). I challenge you to do some personal digging. Who are you really? Maybe you are the person that loves academia, you’re an insatiable learner, a teacher, a worker, a free spirit. Whoever you decide you are, be that person. Prove it to yourself and show up for yourself every day. Do the things that align with your purpose. Do the work that you’re called to do, and train and learn and practice to be better at that. Find your career and then learn how to do it. It sounds backwards because we’ve been conditioned to learn first, then get the job – but what if you’re like me and do all that learning and then hate the job? Scared? I was too. Be brave in your purpose and give yourself permission to seek out your true happiness. The only way to do that is to truly just be you. Unapologetically, enthusiastically, respectfully, confidently… you!





SCHOOL OF ROCK | Calgary 2707-17th AVE SW, Calgary, AB (587) 353-7625

The Superpower Project EQ: The Next Generation Blaise Hunter | Human Rights Consultant | Heroine


ur future is solely dependent on how we deal with our past and present. We must be their hero…

The greatest hope every parent has for their children is for them to be happy, healthy, resilient, and good citizens. We also fear the insurmountable challenges they will face. How do we set the next generation up for an optimistic future? We must be the change we wish to see in them. We have anti-bullying campaigns, mental health messaging, and endless support programs yet our youth are continually battling anxiety, depression, and a lack of purpose. What is the remedy? The Superpower Project is about highlighting various challenges or “kryptonites” facing 12 // Community Now!

people and helping us neutralize their effect on us. A deadly kyrptonite facing us these days is parents are battling the exact same things as the kids. How can we lead them on a better path if we their guides cannot do it for ourselves? If we really want to change the world, let's raise a generation equipped for self-regulation, self-reflection, empowerment, and empathy. We do this by picking up the mantle of accountability within our own lives. When we can pause, reflect, and direct ourselves, we will provoke our lineage to do the same. When you see an emotionally intelligent youth or young adult, you find a parent or caregiver who made a courageous move. They decided to turn the mirror on themselves and reflect instead of deflect. EQ in the next generation will be about making

not one, but many valiant decisions. There are crucial choices for us to cause a positive effect for our children. If we can step into the portal of bravery and contemplate on who we are today and the why, we will transform our next generation’s tomorrow. By doing this, powerful implications will take place in us and in them. •

Vulnerability becomes the goal

EQ = Strength

Resilience by outlasting the resistance

Empathy trumps Ego

Clarity to focus on present and future priorities

Gratitude for what we have

Understanding different perspectives yet holding a strong grounding in values

Developing and using a resolute moral compass

Acquiring a deep sense of self

Realizing our unique identity and stepping into our purpose

The responsibility of each generation is not to please their predecessors. It’s to improve things for their offspring Adam Grant By parents taking steps to personally grow, they strengthen their inner world which triggers a powerful outer world for their young. We don’t need more programs; we need more emotionally intelligent parents. This is how we hep the next generation. Emotional intelligence is the wave of the future. It has the capability to resolve conflicts, end wars, provoke peace, build bridges, disrupt chaos, heal relationships, and lead us into a new world. So why aren’t we all flocking towards achieving EQ? Simply put, it’s messy and hard. We

often hear how millennials don’t have the work ethic like their parents or grandparents. There’s a disconnect from the balance between work hard and play hard. Various generations swing the pendulum to the extremes, but we require an equilibrium of the two. Kids don’t put the effort in because they don’t see their parents working on themselves. The linchpin to this balance is parents from all genres be willing to get in the trenches and fight for their own EQ. Modelling that kind of grit and willingness to be the change will have a powerful cause and effect around the world. I see it in my own daughter. The more work I do on myself, the more she positively transforms. It truly takes on the butterfly effect. Where minor changes in the now can lead to immense variations in the future. By me doing the work now, I ensure a better pathway for my daughter tomorrow. I say this and everyone will nod and agree but not many will do much about it after they flip the page. The million-dollar question is how to get parents to realize the urgency of this? We need more people to sound the alarm. We need to debunk how terrifying self-work is. Yes, it is hard, but all my wounds, traumas, and flaws haven’t been that scary. And once I worked through them, they no longer had power over me. We supress those things and shove them deep down because the very thought of exposing them sends us into panic mode. But if we never deal with them, we relive all those nasty things over and over like a broken record. The initial pulling off the bandage stings but then it’s done. There is no more repetitive torture. We stop the toxicity pattern and play a new song. If we can teach our children how to navigate through the challenges of life, we will fashion a gallant generation. Our own demonstration of (continued on next page) Community \\ 13

(continued from page 13...) responsibility will promote buy-in from our children. Don’t wait for tomorrow, begin the shift today. Decide to be the best version of yourself. Start with an internal dialogue, face the mirror, and do the work: 1.

Write down your weaknesses or things you want to work on


Name your strengths


List the people you have conflict with


Ask yourself if you are happy


Reflect on what would it take to be happier and at ease


Sit in silence and write down where your body is feeling dis-ease or illness


Talk to a counsellor or someone you trust and be vulnerable


Take off the masks of perfection and show your kids how to work through being human

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Do an inventory of what your dreams or goals are and refuse mediocrity

10. Push through the fear daily If we allow fear to paralyze our personal growth, we cripple the next generation. We have not a moment to lose. Our very future depends on our choices today. Leadership isn’t a title parents carry, it’s an honour bestowed to the ones brave enough to bare their souls. When we solve our present problems, we blaze a trail for profound answers tomorrow. Individual EQ is our legacy for the next generation. We are in a relay of life, and it is our mandate to pass the baton down to our young. The baton isn’t head knowledge; it’s heart wisdom. If we don’t secure EQ for ourselves, we drop the baton. Safeguard the race for generations to come. We are the keepers of the anecdote. For more information about the Heroine Movement visit

“The responsibility of each generation is not to please their predecessors. It’s to improve things for their offspring” Adam Grant

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Feed a Family

Love a Baby

The need is growing and so are we! Help fund a new commercial freezer to feed families with premature and critically ill babies, through our NICU Family Meals Program. Access to healthy meals allows families to better care for their vulnerable children.

Please donate today! 16 // Community Now!

Community Organizations

“There really are things that are more important than money. Do things that you are passionate about, that make you happy. If that changes, then do something else. You are not locked in to one single career path, you can easily pivot as you go.” - Al Del Degan NOW! \\ 17

Community Organizations

Krista Mergel, Program Manager


ducation is a key that can open the door to many opportunities. Learned knowledge and skills help to create better societies, reduce crime rates and poverty, and increase jobs and economic growth. Youth who have experienced housing insecurity and poverty have not been given the chance to have a focused, fun, and educational experience. At Safe Haven Foundation, we operate on a philosophy of effectively creating transformational change. We feel the pressing need to ensure Calgary’s most vulnerable youth experience barrier-free and continuous access to education throughout their youth. It starts with each individual homeless or at-risk 18 // Community Now!

youth that we serve. Our goal for all of them is to end their experience of homelessness forever and allow them a pathway to adulthood self-sufficiency. The educational dreams of the youth at Safe Haven Foundation are front and centre in all we do. We know that there is nothing these youth cannot accomplish if we allow them the ability to dream. In 2020, we welcomed J. into Haven’s Way®. A newcomer to Canada, with many chapters of her life lived in fear, this young woman needed a safe space to begin to heal and grow. One that did not have a time limit on her stay and a revolving door of other in need strangers. She deserved a place to truly call home

and to live in an age-appropriate environment that was conducive to the transition to adulthood ahead of her. Since walking through our doors, she has seized every opportunity. When J. left Cameroon in 2017 at the age of 16, she thought the abuse, poverty, and hardship were behind her. Sadly, the family she lived with in Canada put her to work as a maid and childcare provider without paying her or making education easily accessible. She had left one abusive man in Africa only to be stuck

education can be especially intimidating for an ESL student, however, because J. feels safe at Haven’s Way, she reaches out for emotional support when she needs it. The support J. received in these teenage years has allowed her to thrive and she has wonderful relationships with her roommates and the staff at Safe Haven Foundation. She accesses the counselling provided for her by the program, and attends all the fun, recreational activities saying, “One of the best things about Haven’s

inside the home of another. And while she had left one bad situation for another, there was a light inside this young woman; a bright hope that has kept shining even in the darkness of her life circumstances. After fleeing this situation, J. lived in two different homeless shelters before finding Haven’s Way. When we first met her, she confessed to her love of the color pink and was excited to have her own room. We ensured that her new bed had pink blankets and that it was the warm, welcoming environment that would become the place for her to feel safe and call home. The joy that J. has brought to Haven’s Way cannot be measured. Her light continues to shine bright and is often what helps others find their way. When J. told us that her dream was to become a Social Worker, so that she could help children escape the type of violence she has experienced, we knew her heart was guiding her. After successfully graduating high school, she enrolled in the Bow Valley College Social Worker Diploma Program. She was awarded the Bissett Bursary and the Soroptimist International of Calgary Dare to Dream Award in 2021 and is excelling in her post-secondary education. J. has maintained part-time employment for over two years and seizes the opportunities that Haven’s Way gives her to save her earnings. J. is kind and motivated, she works hard, never gives up and recently even purchased her own car! Post-secondary

Way is the people around me and how we get out to do fun things!”. Through giving J. the safety of a home, food, healthy relationships, and resources to connect to healing and education, we have seen her loneliness and pain lessen. We watch as she has discovered new interests like her love for horses. Seeing her experience things like river rafting and hikes in the mountains for the very first time has brought so much joy to the staff team at Haven’s Way. We have been witnessing the peer support and love she offers other youth at the program, and we have been absolutely honored to be a part of her journey! She is preparing to move out into the community and rent her very own place. This is a big step that she has put a lot of thought and planning into. Moving into market rental housing will create the need for J. to continue working as much as possible while going to school. Her moving day will be sad for us, and she will be greatly missed, but seeing her fly without the weight of past abuse, with new knowledge and empowerment, and with the whole world in front of her is a great privilege. It is the true WHY of the work we do at Safe Haven Foundation. It is in these moments that the youth we support show the strength and independence that we are striving for. When we see the great success

(continued on next page) Community \\ 19

Community Organizations (continued from page 19...) from youth like J., we know we need to keep striving to support more youth in need. Safe Haven Foundation is helping to address this need with our newest initiative Haven’s Harbour. Scheduled to open in Fall 2022, Haven’s Harbour will provide housing with supports to nine additional youth in our community who want to continue post-secondary education and need low-income housing. The overall goal is to create space and time for them to focus on education while being in a supportive environment where they can grow and reach their goals at the own individual pace. The youth will come to Haven’s Harbour through Haven’s Way and other like-minded programs and will be at a stage where they can safely live independently. Youth will be able to practice the life skills learned while being provided with a much-needed safety

20 // Community Now!

net of affordable housing and be supported to reach their educational and personal goals. We truly believe that giving these young people a chance to complete post-secondary education will provide long term stability, fulfilling our mission of ending their experience of homelessness forever. In the words of J., “I want to prove to the people in my past that thought I was not smart enough to succeed, that they were wrong. I want to prove that I can help other kids who are going through similar abuses that I went through. So many youth commit suicide when they can't deal with what's going on in their lives. I want to help those kids to know that they can do this and they are strong and valued, and in the end it will be so worth it.”

We are a community instilling hope and connection in the lives of young people, exiting street life.

Change is Possible. - CRA 13140 1226 RR0001 W O R D S






Reach out and let go of inhibition's.




Surround yourself with a positive crew.

Kindness is the way.

Be generous and kind, you never know when you are going to need help.

If you win some you have to lose some.

Understand the idea of reciprocation of respect and it's opposite.


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2 8 0 8

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

O G D E N -


S E ,


F R I E N D S @ T H E D O O R W A Y . C A

Community \\ 21

Community Organizations What is Skipping Stone? Skipping Stone Foundation is a community-focused charitable organization that connects trans and gender diverse youth, adults, and families with comprehensive and low barrier access to the support they need and deserve. Through peer support, system navigation services, community advocacy and education, Skipping Stone works to dismantle and replace the barriers, stigma and discrimination trans and gender diverse individuals in Alberta face with positivity, affirmation and support. Why was it created? Skipping Stone was founded in 2016 by Lindsay Peace and Amelia Marie Newbert, who were impacted by having to navigate barriers in various systems and wanted to give back to the community. They started with fundraising for a yearly scholarship and community building events to celebrate resiliency among trans youth and, almost immediately, noticed the significant gaps in support for youth and families. The organization rapidly grew to act as a systems and services navigator grounded in peer support and offers a broad range of services, including peer support groups and mentorship, healthcare and ID change navigation, youth programming, therapy groups, voice classes and expressions days, and gender affirming gear. How can people access your services? Those wanting to get connected with Skipping Stone services can complete an intake form on our website ( and a staff member will be in touch to schedule a time to meet. First meetings can be done in-person at the Skipping Stone office in Calgary, or by phone or video call and are a chance to learn more about the agency, for us to get to know each other and to start connecting you with the supports and services you are interested in. Skipping Stone's peer support groups are run online on a drop-in basis, so individuals don't have to wait to have an intake before joining. How can the community support you? There are many ways to get involved! Financial donations to Skipping Stone go directly to supporting trans folks to access life-saving support and services. Skipping Stone also accepts gently-used clothing and gender gear, new cosmetics, non-perishable food, toiletries, and school supplies to pass along to community members who might not otherwise have access to or receive such gifts and necessities. Community members can also get involved as volunteers and various service providers can attend training with us and join our Trans Affirming Network as we seek to increase the number of local businesses committed to creating welcoming and inclusive spaces. 22 // Community Now!

Banbury Crossroads School 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

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

Community Features: People Making an Impact

“Don't believe university is your only option. That is old thinking. Have a side hustle - something you are passionate about” - Scott Pickard 24 // Community Now!

Community Features: People Making an Impact

Building a Stronger Community Through Educating Students and Providing Support for Care Givers. Meet Christina Henderson Why did you become a teacher? I grew up in the classroom. My dad was a high school music teacher so I was always in his classroom, interacting with the students during music concerts or after school rehearsals. I always loved watching my dad build relationships with his students and the connection that was so important. My dad was a teacher that everyone trusted and respected. I have always admired my dad and the impact that he had on his student’s lives, often long after they were his students. For me, that is what is important about teaching. As a teacher, we have great accountability because we are given great responsibility.

I love building relationships with the youth that I work with as well as my colleagues. Connection builds trusting relationships that have an impact. That is the most important reason I became a teacher. What do you teach and what have you taught? I currently teach grade 4 at a K-9 school in Calgary. I have taught students in grades 1,2 and 4-9. I have taught all core subjects as well as theater and dance. Besides being a teacher I have held the position of Student Services Learning Leader at the junior high level. My role was to help students transition (continued on next page)

Mental health support for caregivers and youth. I offer a FREE drop-in group for caregivers as well as fee-based one on one and group coaching options for both youth and adults. Book a FREE 30 minute coaching session: Community \\ 25

Community Features: People Making an Impact (continued from page 25...) to high school as well as offer services such as counseling and mental health resources. I also worked with teachers to provide these resources for their students. I participated on the Forest Lawn Youth Health Committee and assisted in organizing the My World Conference for junior high students in the Calgary area. What is the best part of teaching? The best part of teaching is having the opportunity to work with youth to discover their full potential, to watch them have aha moments in their learning and to build connections that last long after they are my students. What is a caregiver? A caregiver is just that, a giver of care. They can be any gender and any age. Examples include; parents, siblings or friends. A more formal definition from Caregivers Alberta is: Anyone who supports someone with an illness or disability (mental or physical), or who is caring for an aging friend or family member, is a caregiver. This position can be paid or unpaid and can be as intensive as living with the person you are caring for or as simple as driving the person to a doctor’s appointment or sweeping their steps. How did you become a caregiver? I became a caregiver 26 years ago when my twin boys were born. They were 13 weeks premature and weighed just over a pound each. They spent the first three months of their life in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit. It was there that I began my journey of understanding the needs of my boys. Why did you start your business? In order of importance, I am a mom, a wife, a Family Peer Support Worker, a Flourishing 26 // Community Now!

Life Coach, a Flourishing Wellness Coach and have been an educator for 18 years. I have been a mentor for the Alberta Association of Peer Support, a Peer Support Trainer, Facilitator and Mentoring Team Lead as well as a Peer Team Administrator with the Canadian Mental Health Association: Calgary Region. I have seen the gaps in the system. I am passionate about mental health support because of my lived experience with family addictions and mental illness. I have navigated the systems of youth to adult services in both physical and mental health, addiction services to become educated about a family member's addictions and the mental health system as it relates to Peer Support and mental illness. I have raised twin boys who both have special needs and I have weathered the storm of addiction as a caregiver. We have overcome some incredible obstacles that some might have seen as insurmountable. Through lived experiences, I have learned more about resilience and courage then I could ever learn in a book. Another reason I started this company is because of my work in schools from elementary through high school. Through my work with students in facilitating leadership groups, GSA’s and working as a Student Support Services Learning Leader I became acutely aware of the growing need for mental health support for families and youth. Additional work with mental health organizations, corporations and committees shed further light on the gaps and motivated me to seek further education and training in the field of Peer Support and being a Flourishing Life Coach. I am a strong believer that if you want to see change you need to step up and make it

happen in a productive and purposeful way. I found evidence of the gap that currently exists in our mental health system in regards to awareness and integration of Peer Support services. This gap exists for not only adults and families but, in a time of online learning, uncertainty and severe isolation, the system is sadly lacking in these necessary supports for our youth. I found this unacceptable. What advice can you give people who are caregivers? We all hold one thing in common, the need to be understood. Not everyone is going to understand your journey and that is okay. Surround yourself with people who have shared lived experiences. Your journey is about permission, acceptance and choice to; grieve, to accept where you are at and meet yourself there as a starting place to move forward, to accept your limitations while honoring your strengths (your gifts), to accept the fear you may be feeling but use it as a tool of strength rather than a weapon to keep you stuck. Give yourself permission to set respectful, purposeful boundaries with others and with yourself. Finally, take steps to change your mindset from feeling responsible for vs. responsible to the person you are offering care to. Being responsible FOR means you are trying to be a fixer. You are rescuing rather than listening and you are carrying your own as well as the other person’s feelings. Being responsible TO means you are a supporter. You listen, empathize, comfort and encourage. You allow the other person to take ownership for what they are able to, including their own feelings. This will provide accountability to everyone in the relationship and lessen the load on you as a caregiver.

Community Features: People Making an Impact

Meet Geoff Freeborn

Geoff Freeborn is a former pro athlete in 2 sports. Geoff played pro baseball for 5 seasons on 6 continents including 3 seasons with the Calgary Vipers. After baseball Geoff got into golf and made the Remax Long Drive Championships 3x. For the past 18 years Geoff has worked as a community support worker with adults with developmental disabilities for the Calgary Scope Society. After retiring from pro golf, Geoff got into baseball coaching, running his own site

ball in Australia, Africa - while with German team we did our spring training in Canary Islands, Asia - played in Men's tournament in Hong Kong with Team Canada What advice would you give to young athletes? Work hard but don't forget to have fun! You never know when might be the last time you get to wear a jersey.

Q & A with Geoff Freeborn

How hard is it to make it as a career athlete?

How did you get into baseball?

Probably would have been easier to be a pro baseball player if I grew up in Arizona lol but

I got into baseball when I was 5-6 playing t-ball. It's funny baseball is how I found out I needed glasses when was like 8-9. I had a really good swing but couldn't hit the ball to save my life. Turns out I needed glasses, the following year baseball became way easier lol Where did you play baseball around the world? So I've been fortunate to play on all 6 continents: North America all over but 3 seasons with the Calgary Vipers would be most memorable, Europe - played professionally in France and Germany, South America - played winter ball in Colombia, also played winter 28 // Community Now!

I put in a lot of time and made a lot of sacrifices to get as far as I did. After I was done with pro baseball I found out I could hit a golf ball far and got into pro long drive golf. Been very fortunate to still make a living doing what I love with my site

3 fun facts Did skeleton for couple weeks with national team after college, Was a male model for a year (industry not really for me), Furthest golf ball I've hit is 473 yards.

Mental Health. Youth. Parents. Stop Searching for a Career! The word “Career” is not new to you nor new to me! You see the word “Career” just about everywhere in the workforce and on postsecondary school websites. You might think that only professional people have “Careers.” You might think that “Careers” involve deciding what to do for the rest of your life. The truth of the matter is that your search for a “Career” is over. You already have a Career, and it's about time that we dispel old myths about this important term and set the record straight, once and for all!! The term Career is a continuous process of lifelong learning, growth and development in all aspects of YOUR life, whether it's paid and unpaid work, learning, and the range of roles we undertake throughout our life NOT just in work but also with family, in recreation and more! Career involves the balance of work experiences, community involvement, interests, hobbies, training, education and more, so much more. The term Career is a life management concept encompassing a full range of YOUR life experiences. Therefore, each and every one of us already has a Career, a life filled with endless opportunities in work and outside work. And as you add life experiences to your backpack of life, YOU are literally building YOUR CAREER PATH!! YOUR LIFE PATH!! Now, go online and check out my very good friend, Sean Aiken’s “One Week Job Project.” - Robert Manolson Community \\ 29

Mental Health. Youth. Parents.

The Importance of Hiring Juniors and Interns Halle Andrews

Why You Should Hire a Junior or Intern In the growing technology industry, hiring young people is important in order to create a productive and efficient workplace environment. Although some companies believe they are high risk, hiring these new members can give back to the community. For some companies, juniors and interns are the most integral and fundamental part of an organization. Not only do internships provide job experience for new developers, but they can also add significant value to a growing company or business by sharing new ideas and advice. Companies with an extensive internship program can help educate younger employees while also growing as a team. In doing so, the junior or 30 // Community Now!

intern can help both the company and other employees. A thriving business is likely to have had its fair share of people they have taken under their wing. Without hiring these individuals, we would not be able to discover the potential future leaders of tomorrow. What They Can Offer Most juniors are fresh out of boot camps or university and are prepared to start their careers and put their newly developed skills to the test. The majority are open to learning the new programs or procedures of a new company and have the flexibility of an open schedule that many more experienced workers do not have. A new member joining your company can fit into many different roles that you may see fit. They do not have to commit to one assignment

at a time, but rather a multitude of varying jobs you need extra help to tackle. Juniors and interns are resourceful and can offer unique perspectives that differ from those who have been in the industry for years and are not as familiar with newer programs. If they happen to share their creativity and knowledge with others, it can provide an improved feel to an already developed company. Changing the atmosphere through their work also aids other employees in further developing their

work ethic and productivity. Through these additions, juniors gain work experience and sky-rocket innovation by contributing with a new perspective. Simply including an intern in a brainstorming session can change how a company functions and approaches challenging problems. Notably, they are part of a community and add to the culture and diversity. Younger members can enhance the team as a whole. (continued on next page)

Mental Health. Youth. Parents. (continued from page 31...) How They Benefit Others Juniors have the opportunity to give just as much as they receive. In addition to offering new ideas, advice, and perspectives, they also have the capability to be creative and come up with new projects. Similarly, juniors and interns have developed time management skills and lessen workloads for other employees. Straightforward tasks can be assigned to interns so their colleagues have the freedom to put their energy into more complicated tasks. When an intern takes on some assignments, there is time for other projects to begin. If different members can work on more demanding projects, the junior then has their own space to learn while also completing tasks. By providing extra pairs of hands, the company a junior or intern works for can grow and become that much stronger. Training a Junior or Intern In the first few months, juniors and interns require plenty of training. When hiring and coaching these members, seniors are able to gain quality mentorship experience that helps them grow as developers. Having this involvement can be extremely useful because training a new member allows you to shape them into the person that will best fit your company. By teaching them what it takes to work at your company, they can understand what a mentor relationship can look like in real life. Having the chance to mentor a younger colleague helps establish better patience and resilience when working with others. Strong communication between colleagues encourages a healthy work culture and strengthens the bond between the junior and other employees. If senior developers have the opportunity to train juniors, they can discover new things about themselves and how they solve problems in the process. Motivating current 32 // Community Now!

employees can increase their leadership and adaptability skills, making them much more effective developers. Being able to successfully train a junior staff member can make them an ideal and wellversed senior staff member in the future. How They Can Help Grow Your Business Increasing the productivity of your company benefits everyone. When hiring juniors or interns, internships can heavily contribute to the growth of a business and how they are advertised to and perceived by others. Without internships, a company may be exhausted with too much work and responsibility. Being overwhelmed at a job may lead to a substantial decrease in the quality of projects if members are rushing to complete assignments. A team that takes on too many projects cannot be efficient. Hiring a junior or intern can reduce the number of tasks per person so other members can ensure their work is completed to the best of their ability since they no longer need to rush their projects. The more people you can hire, the more evenly the tasks can be divided. Knowing when your company needs some assistance shows you can be a practical and valuable leader. Technology Use in the Workplace Juniors and interns are highly skilled with technology. They are constantly connected and aware of what’s happening in the world today. Look no further than your junior or intern to determine changing trends. Young professionals are not held back by basic technology since they can pick up new techniques without much difficulty or struggle. Juniors and interns will be able to attract a younger and more technologyfriendly consumer base if that’s what your company is in the market for. With the current rise of social media through applications

such as Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, interns can apply their skills to increase engagement and bring their creative ideas to the table. When hiring junior developers, less time is required to train them on specific programs a company may use. If a junior or intern has more free time, they will be ready to start getting things done and making progress. How to Get Started Hiring juniors and interns can be a rewarding process for the companies they work for. Having them on your team allows a company or business to gain more support and invest in its future. By creating a sustainable and profitable internship program the entire company gains perks - not just the people you hire. In order to find valuable employees who want to become a junior or intern, post job opportunities on a variety of platforms that work for you such as Indeed or LinkedIn. This way you can find a target audience and find exactly what you have been searching for. Plan your internship program along with some main goals and ideas beforehand. Further define what the position means to you and your company. Juniors and interns help the team and provide contemporary talent for your business simultaneously. They are tech-savvy and will always be there to lend a helping hand for whatever you may require. A fresh and eager mindset could be just what your company needs. How could a junior or intern not benefit your company?

WITH CAREERS, EVERYONE WINS As an educator, you carry a lot of responsibility. Not only are you expected to teach today’s youth, you also have a huge impact on their future choices and who they will become. CAREERS: The Next Generation offers support to help you do it all and do it well! We’re a nonprofit organization that’s been working with schools since 1997 to enhance career exploration for students and facilitate paid internships. Off-campus education has countless advantages for students and schools. CAREERS simply supports you in maximizing the benefits – a free resource available to all Alberta educators.

WHAT WE OFFER Presentations | Our team members are well trained to provide both in-person or virtual presentations that are tailored to your class and lesson plan. This includes information about different industries, occupations, and trends. Hands-on experience | We are well connected to industry. We match students to the right employers to create a positive, hands-on learning experience that benefits everyone. Internships can be done part-time during the school year or full-time over the summer. No off-campus coverage for summer? No problem! We have options to make every situation fit.

Lear n more!

Telling It Like It is This Issue of Telling It Like It is Features Advice to the Youth in the Community are the things we can naturally do better than Brigitte Legault – Community Manager Rainforest Alberta I followed my heart and quit college to follow my heart and random interests! Haha! Then I spent my adult years in and out of university because I couldn’t get enough learning. I wish I had specialized in something sooner than I had. So, I guess the more palatable version of this advice would be, “Be open to ongoing learning. According to a Deloitte study that I read last year, the ability to learn is the most sought-after skill since the onset of the pandemic. Learning doesn’t stop after high school or university. It’s a skill you have to keep honing throughout your professional life.”

most. Skills we learn at school and/or on the job. Finally, a young person must research the “marketplace,” and what it will pay for so they can finance their desired lifestyle. Our educational institutions and culture, in general, operate as if we were still living in the 1950s. For example, thinking in terms of “picking a/one career” isn’t helpful. It’s much better to develop a “career strategy.” To do this and seize the emerging opportunities of the future, young people need to find the sweet spot between the four factors mentioned above. I recommend completing a thorough Birkman assessment and working with a Career Coach to develop an overall strategy that serves the individual needs of the young person over time and being resil-

ient in the face of the many changes to come.


Clifford Wessel

Margo Purcell – CEO InceptionU


Making career decisions can be both exciting

For a young person to optimize their career

and daunting at the same time. There is so

choice, they need to identify four factors: in-

much being said about tech and the digital

terests, strengths, skills, and “what the market

economy, how do you figure out what your

is willing to bear.” Interest is what motivates

place in the future can be? For some of you,

us and puts a smile on our faces. Strengths

software development and programming

34 // Community Now!

may be the pathway to take. If you find that

Joy to Job

you like solving complex problems, working in a team, seeing the whole and then diving into the parts and details to build a solution, then this could be the pathway for you. AND, software development is not the only pathway into tech. Who do you enjoy engaging with? What types of activities light you up? Do you like telling stories and communicating in a wide variety of ways such as verbally, visually or written? Tech marketing, customer success and product design are all roles that need talented individuals with a passion for tech where any digital skills you build allow you to contribute and bring value to the company. watch?v=YQTFRdJCvyY&t=15s

Melissa Cao – Joy To Job “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For as long as I can remember, I never had an answer. The personality quizzes were lacklustre; the career websites were overwhelming. I struggled to find a career that I was passionate about and felt pressured by this uncertainty - I was going into my graduation year and running out of time to decide. However, Joy to Job lightened that pressure by giving me a peek into careers from the perspective of passionate professionals. Joy to Job hosts webinars for students to ask and learn directly from professionals in career fields they are interested in. I found these webinars welcoming and genuine, made even more so by their student-led structure. After hearing various

Dan Olesen – Senior Program Coordinator at Careers

professionals fervently speak about their careers, I gained the confidence and motivation to pursue those areas. I was able to get a look

It is time that employers, teachers, parents

into their career and journey from a realistic

and students stop the rhetoric of starting

perspective - including the failures, moments

your career “from the bottom.” It implies that

of uncertainty, and lessons. In the 2021 Com-

those in entry level positions are in a hole that

puter Science webinar, I vividly remember

they must climb or scratch out of to earn any

a panellist sharing his work in coding. He

self-respect. We can change the message and

spoke with sparkling eyes, but also empha-

instead we can emphasize the importance of

sized his burnouts. Furthermore, I realize

learning the culture of work, to develop key

that there isn’t a right or wrong decision. The

employability or soft skills in tandem of the

unique experiences of each panellist have all

technical skill development. Entry level roles

carried a common theme - trust your passion

help one evaluate career decisions and choic-

and let your passion work. Although I am still

es with those working professionals in the

not 100% certain about the career I chose, I am

sector they are most interested in. Ultimately,

eager and determined to start my journey of

it is the value and willingness to start… from

self-discovery. I have Joy to Job to thank for




watch?v=yQc0RoeT4nE&t=11s Community \\ 35

Building Stronger Communities.

Learn More! Get Involved!

Find Out How!

Events: We are building stronger communities through Education and Training. Including Courses Such as: • Assisting Individuals in Crisis Training • Group Crisis Intervention Training • The Secrets of Psychological Body Armor™ SIGN UP TODAY. Critical Incident Stress Management (“CISM”) for Communities is a registered non-profit organization, in reactive and proactive environments in many areas of mental health.

Youth Running a Business What That Looks Like. I’m Sophia Fairweather. 13 years old, a sister, daughter, student and business owner. Ever since I can remember, I have had an interest in business. But as a young person who wants to get involved in business, learn about business, and run my own business…let me tell you I have faced multiple barriers. Here are a few things I hear on an ongoing basis. 1.

“Just be a kid”


“You sound to rehearsed”


“Is this what you really want to be spending your time on?”

Barriers I face: 1.

I am not old enough to qualify for most internship grants.


I am too young to be considered for any job positions.


There are no grants, funding, coaching, or opportunities for young people my age who want to explore business and or run their own businesses. Question to consider:

“Why is a young person in business different from a young person in sports or music?” Here is a look into how I spend my time: what I have been up to as a blossoming 13 year old business owner! Recently I have been working on an organization called Key-Angels, where we are leveling the playing field for unappreciated youth in housing. I did this because of my own experience with housing and buying a property that was a 4 plex, which I got support from my Grampy on. Because in the Fairweather family we have always seen the importance of a home, and Financial Literacy. So passing on his knowledge he helped with the application, and allowed me to use his credit score and qualifying room, while I gave the down payment. The reason we went for a 4 unit, was because it is a good investment, while being a home. Because I can live in one unit, and then from renting the other units get 3,000$, and after expenses then 700$. 38 // Community Now!

This process of involving another person to allow me to have a home, and have access to stability and security from it. Inspired me to want to help others have this security, and not be stuck in survival mode which is very stressful. Stress I want to help ease, so right now we are helping the people that don’t have a Grampy to help them. Get into there Own First Home. So we are connecting single parent and zero parent family youth to a donor with qualifying room. Then getting them to pool their resources into a home joined, and then the youth pays off the mortgage with help from the home until it can go under their name completely. An idea and cause which has helped 6 already, and admirable. But I have experienced while getting Key-Angels up and running that people push it aside or ignore it, because I am a youth. Because apparently youth are unorganized, and also I am not doing this from my own free will. Even though this is something I had my own experience in, and it’s a cause that I can go somewhere with and grow from. But because people look at my age then my merit, people are hesitant. Also when it comes to funding like grants or scholarships, they are often solely for High school students, and older. So me being now 13 and in Grade 8, I still can’t reach the resources I thought I could have by now. By all means don’t let everyone in, and you can be picky. But if my achievement or resume is better or as good as a High Schoolers don’t you think it should be looked at? If you’re trying to help youth… help youth. So to all the people out there saything “Just be a kid.” I am. In the process I am helping future me have less stress and still have fun, and I am helping others have fun and “ be a kid.” “You sound to rehearsed” I want to make sure I am clear when I speak, so you understand that I did this, and I am not an unorganized youth. “Is this what you really want to be spending your time on?” Wouldn’t you want to help others, while sharing and spending time with your family, and making friends? Like other extracurriculars that expand your opportunities and future.

This is something I am building , and I want to start now. And Key-Angels is the way I found to do it, I am going to continuing to build it. So far since last summer I have been able to: •

Talked with Servus Credit Union about how they could connect Key-Angels to people with qualifying room that would be high enough. Because they have the data. Sadly they have a problem with liability when they recommend it. But we are looking for ways they can fund this, and be helpful. Which my connection there has been and continues to be! I am talking with government MLA’s, MP’s, and City Councillors of my area to see what organizations they know helping 18-25 people we can get into housing. Also what grant and other payment methods are around, to use as a downpayment. Probably one of the best is I reached out to Kardia Communities which is a company that does the same process for housing. Key-Angles simply targets 4,5,6 unit houses not duplexes, and 18-25 youth. I had a meeting with Kardia Communities Founder and Head of Marketing to see how I can join, work alongside them, and learn what I can. A meeting with others is currently being scheduled! Lastly a lot of research, learning, and fundraising. One thing is I have been looking into the Alberta Job Grants program so that joining Kardia is easy, and also how Key-Angles can grow. Also joining and talking with people on how to gain money, and making a budget.

What’s Possible is a youth in business with support, and positivity\fun\experience coming from it. If I think I want to build or dive into something why not support it, why do people understand this in the Entertainment industry and not in much else. I understand you want me to be a kid, but I also am stretching and coming out of that age, and getting ready for independence and my future. If you want to support youth and the future. Support me.

Key-Angels Empowering and Educating the underprivileged to achieve stability through investing in a home

FIND OUT HOW….. Key-Angels is a process that I am growing that helps youth in single parent families or without guardians buy their first home. Our goal - Help solve the housing crisis, and get them out of survival mode. Then support them achieve: Stability, growth beyond basics, and have the opportunity to access a home!!


Helping you find the perfect community. 518 9 Ave SE Calgary T2G 0S1 phone: 403.815.0429 email:

Call today and let us find your dream home in the perfect community.

Making Mortgages Easy for First Time Home Buyers Meet the Founder: My name is Alex Wilkinson. For as long as I can remember, I was very different from others. Inefficiencies in processes are often very obvious to me, and I have a weird drive to improve everything that can be improved. I have tons of lists for product ideas and improvements that I'm meaning to get around to someday. That pretty much all there is to me. It looks like a complex behaviour, but really I'm like a bee simply travelling from flower to flower - the difference is I then attempt to fix the flower - and hopefully for a tidy profit. I was doing startup stuff before I even knew that's what it was called. Luckily, over time, I have had some successes. Meet Houski Houski is the fastest and easiest way for Canadians to buy their first homes. In a literal sense, Houski is building the first and only fully automated mortgage brokerage. Houski was created January 1st, 2021, by co-founders Alex Wilkinson (CEO) and Warren Wilkinson (CTO).

Q & A with Alex Why did you start houski? I created Houski because the way Canadians get mortgages is one of the most painful, widespread processes remaining. I became a licensed mortgage professional 7 years ago with the sole goal of fixing the process. Houski enables homebuyers to buy a house in minutes, rather than weeks. It gets your documents for you, it advises you on the fly, it 40 // Community Now!

gets you an excellent deal every time - it's the process I want to exist to do my own mortgage stuff. Right now Houski is mainly geared towards people buying their first homes, but we'll expand that out to refinances over time. We're also trying to make Houski much more friendly and approachable. For some reason financial transactions are treated with an aura of seriousness that makes them even more stressful. We want to create a friendly (continued on page 42)

Business Leader Community Builder Philanthropist




3 fun facts about Alex: I am an award winning audio engineer. I am a jack of all trades, my skill set includes everything from mortgages to robotics. Everything in Houski and all related materials so far are built by either my brother or myself. All design, all marketing, everything!

(continued from page 40...) environment where it's ok to ask any question you want, and that you're not expected to know everything. We don't really want our customers spending months researching mortgages just trying to ensure they get a good deal. We want people to trust Houski to do all of that for them, so they can spend more time living their lives, and less time worrying about their mortgage. Why is Houski the better choice over the standard bank/mortgage broker Houski is better for the same reason Ford's assembly line is better. By creating an opinionated process, we can ensure things go smoothly and get done quickly. Currently the process of getting a mortgage is different between virtually every broker in Canada. At Houski, every homebuyer gets the same high quality experience. Our automation and AI technology also allows us to reduce costs significantly, and 42 // Community Now!

many of those costs can be passed onto the homebuyer, to keep money in their pocket. What has been your biggest challenge so far as a start up? The biggest challenge as a startup like ours is making technology in an antiquated industry that is still understandable and accessible. It's easy to make something amazing, but people won't use it because it's just too much of a change from what they're used to. Too alien. You need to always be considering the principle of MAYA, which stands for Most Advanced Yet Acceptable, as coined by Raymond Loewy. Another challenge is simply creating an actual mortgage brokerage at the same time. Starting a mortgage brokerage is tough by itself, in terms of getting initial clients, and creating word of mouth to continually attract clients imagine doing that and building a startup at the same time. It'll keep you busy

Youth Parents and Mental Health

“1 Step at a time. You don't have to have your life mapped out. As you move through your learning or job prospects you get clues to thing’s you're good at or things that light you up, pay attention to these moments or events, they will lead you to the next clue and eventually when you've collected enough clues the layout of where your life is leading you will be more clear. No one ever has it all figured out in the beginning of the journey.” - Liz MacRae Community \\ 43

Three Things I Wish I Had Known Maureen Towns


y oldest son Sam’s hopelessness and desperation hit a peak toward the end of June 2013. He was 21 years old, and a year earlier he had experienced a psychotic break that had left him hospitalized. The year had been one crisis after another; dropping out of university, hopeless nights drinking alone, and suicide attempts. Right about the time of the 2013 Calgary flood, he was talking about wanting to die. He agreed to be taken to an emergency department for assessment and was admitted to a psychiatric unit, again. As Canada Day, July 1, approached, the plan was to head to 44 // Community Now!

the hospital as a family with snacks in tow and play a game of Monopoly. We were regularly interrupted by other patients, one of whom carried the distinct odour of urine, and by the nurses, who were doing their 30-minute safety checks. I felt increasingly sad, increasingly agitated, and irritable as the day wore on. Sam’s dad, Steve, seemed exhausted as we left. The day had taken a toll on him too. Our second son, Ben who didn’t live with us at the time, had spent the day trying to cheer Sam up. Sydney, our third child was characteristically quiet and our youngest, Ally, spent the day on her cell phone texting someone and smiling to herself.

The whole city seemed to be rallying to help with flood cleanup efforts, and that evening, Ally, then 15 years old came to our room and excitedly asked for permission to pitch in with friends we’d never met. I was concerned, not only about the prospect of her heading off with strangers, but also about some of the risks associated with flood cleanup. Bacteria multiplies in stagnant water and water-damaged homes are a hotspot for potentially harmful mould. Protective gear was recommended for all people helping with the cleanup. We didn’t have what she needed, and we couldn’t go with her, so we told her she had to stay home. She was visibly deflated, despite our reasoning. A year and a half earlier, Ally had started self-harming at 13 years of age. It started with a few cuts on her forearms, but had progressed as we struggled with various counsellors, therapists, medications, and services until we were referred to a psychiatrist. Finding bloody tissues, new sharp objects in her room, and fresh cuts on her body had become regular occurrences. “Here we go,” I thought. “She’s going to do something stupid.” Minutes later, I went to her room, gave a cursory knock, and opened the door. I was horrified. There she was, razor in hand, cutting her forearm. I feel nauseous just recalling how raw her arm looked. There sat my little girl on the edge of her bed, open wounds sliced into her arm. Her forearm looked like hamburger, and blood was dripping thickly and clotting on a Kleenex. I didn’t react well. I’m not proud to admit that I snapped at her. I told her abruptly to clean herself up. I took the razor away. I feel such sadness as I reflect back on that experience with Ally. I didn’t have the capacity or knowledge to give her what she needed. Instead,

all my frustration with not knowing how to help my kids manifested in my short, clipped reprimand. Ben, our second son, now 20 years old, had spent the past two years trying to get sober. When he was 18, we had conducted an intervention and sent him to drug treatment across the country. The treatment centre was closed before he completed the program, and he relapsed within 6 weeks of returning home. Since then, he’d moved in and out of our home, intermittently vowing to get healthy and get a job, then relapsing and occasional homelessness. Sydney our third child spent most of her time in her room. She was 16 years old and hadn’t needed anything extraordinary from us. In fact, she’d done her best not to need even ordinary parenting. Sydney’s an introvert and I rationalized her time alone as time to recharge. Frankly, I was just grateful she was in her room, safe and sound, since I could not say the same about our other three kids – they seemed constantly on the brink of catastrophe and my capacity for being needed was at its limit. I have since learned that Sydney too was struggling. She was in her room, but she was not safe and sound; she was depressed, sometimes suicidal, and self-harming. Over the course of three years, I had worn myself out trying to manage, control, cajole, bully, and pray to the point that I was exhausted and feeling hopeless. Ten years later, I have some time to reflect on how things went. Today, I know things didn’t have to get so dark; there are things I wish I had known that could have made a difference.

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With help, I did eventually learn to feel my feelings which allowed me to be more empathetic when my kids were struggling. (continued from page 45...) I wish I had known how to accept and feel my own feelings so I could help my kids accept and feel theirs. The behaviours my kids were using; selfharm, excessive alcohol and drug use were all about coping with strong and unpleasant feelings. My kids, like me, had not learned how to accept and feel those feelings. Instead, like me, they sought comfort and distraction externally. For me, the distraction was trying to manage other people. For them, it was substances or overwhelming physical pain as a distraction from emotional pain. With help, I did eventually learn to feel my feelings which allowed me to be more empathetic when my kids were struggling. Ally’s 46 // Community Now!

cutting became less frequent, but in 2015 I again opened Ally’s bedroom door to find her cutting her arms. Her face told me she expected the usual admonition and anger. Instead, I considered how she must be feeling—possibly frustrated, sad, anxious, and ashamed, and I tapped into those same feelings in myself. I told her that I loved her and was sorry that she was struggling. I said, “It must be so difficult to deal with how you’re feeling, Ally,” and then I crawled into bed and snuggled with her. I remember her crying and my heart hurting as I felt her sadness. I let her know that I believed in her and her ability to get better and that slips were bound to happen. It was another moment of grace for me, connecting with her in compassion and love instead of my usual anger, fear, and frustration.

I wish I had known that validating emotions is not the same as validating behaviours, and it leads to connection. I felt so close to Ally that night. I felt so much better equipped to be her mom, to just love and accept her; to sit with her in her darkness rather than run for the light. Gone was the old panic, fear, and pressure that had made me so reactive in years prior. I’d been practicing self-care and I’d learned validation skills. Validation is the affirmation that another person’s feelings are valid and OK. It is an authentic connection through that recognizes and affirms that we are not alone. I was finally able to support Ally instead of adding to her shame and misery. We have talked recently about that night as a turning point in our relationship. Today, Ally describes her self-harm years as being desperately lonely for her. She talks about a feeling of emptiness, of feeling bad and not knowing it was abnormal or temporary. She says she needed help but didn’t know how to ask for it. She says she needed someone who she felt was on her side, instead of someone judging her and getting angry when she self-harmed.

watching her siblings take up all our time and energy, and us just letting them have it, one crisis at a time, over the course of years, until there was nothing left for her. I’d missed Sydney’s formative teen years completely and I cannot get that time and opportunity to mother her back. Today, I would be very intentional about spending time with her. It’s critical to make time and spare energy for those who are not in crisis; to nurture the relationships that matter but that don’t necessarily demand our attention. Had I done this, Sydney may have grown into adulthood better equipped to handle her own feelings, anxieties, fears, etc. Today, I firmly believe that had I learned to accept and feel my own feelings, to validate the feelings of others, and to be intentional about nurturing my relationships with my children who were not in active crisis, our family’s journey to peace and recovery would have been much, much shorter, not to mention less painful. I wish I had learned those lessons earlier, and I have compassion for myself that I did, and will continue to do my very best.

As I had learned to accept myself, I had also learned to accept others. All of this led to empathy and a genuine feeling of connection when we both needed it most. I wish I had known how important it was to nurture and spend time on relationships with the child who was not demanding my time. Sydney had been flying under the radar, and I had let her. Not noticing Sydney’s struggles is one of my biggest regrets of raising my kids. My heart sinks when I consider how alone she might have felt Community \\ 47

Should I be concerned about my quiet anxious teen?

Tracy Quillet


t the age of 17, Daniel, an introvert-

In the teen years, the more commonly known issues teens face is spending too much time with friends and engaging in more risky behaviors. 48 // Community Now!

ed young man, seems to have no real friends, spends the majority of time in his room on his computer and rarely opens up about how he is doing. He never used to be like this. As a parent, when you remember back to when he was younger, vivid memories show up of him being happy and carefree. He was always a quiet child and seemed more sensitive than other kids but he wasn’t shut down like he is now. Over the past few years, you have watched him retreat more and more into his own world. For a while you assumed this was because

of the impact of Covid. Lots of parents are witnessing the negative impact of the social isolation of their teens. But if you really sit with how he has been doing since junior high, you can see that things had already started to become problematic before Covid arrived on the scene. The struggle of Junior High For quiet teens like Daniel, the issues often start showing up in junior high school. And it’s tricky with these kids because often the indication that there is a problem is because of what they aren't doing. In the teen years, the more commonly known issues teens face is spending too much time with friends and engaging in more risky behaviors. With the quieter kids it is the opposite. It is what they aren’t doing that becomes concerning. But because their struggles are often hidden behind the keyboard of their computer, it can be hard to really determine how much they are struggling. The Extrovert Ideal In Susan Cain’s book: Quiet; The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, she describes a concept called the extrovert ideal. This ideal says that being an extrovert is the desired outcome for all of us. It overvalues those that speak more and sees quietness as a deficiency in need of correction. The impact of this is that by the time quiet kids get to junior high, they have heard in multiple ways and from multiple people that there is something wrong with them. The more they believe that there is something wrong with being quiet, the more they dislike themselves. The result of not liking themselves is either being too accommodating in friendships or avoiding peers as they assume no one would want to be their friends.

In my counseling practice where I specialize in working with teens and young adults who are quiet, sensitive, and overwhelmed with life, these are the two ways that I see them struggle. To illustrate what this looks like, I will discuss two different types of quiet teens that I see. First we will start with the struggles of Daniel and then we will look at Tina. Key indicators that Daniel is struggling: •

He only connects with peers online

He rarely opens up about anything

If you ask him too many questions ( too many might only be three) he quickly becomes overwhelmed and angry

He spends most of his time gaming

His marks are poor and it hasn’t always been like this

He seems to easily get overwhelmed and emotional over seemingly small things

Daniel might be labeled as lazy due to how much time he spends on the computer but it is often a way to manage anxiety. If he is struggling in school, teens like Daniel often have a difficult time asking teachers for help. So instead of doing school work, they avoid it so they can avoid feeling anxious. Tina’s struggles look different but often come from the same place. Teens like Tina work very hard and often receive many positive messages for their strong work ethic. When I see teens like this in my clinic, what often stands out for me is how burnt out they are.

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(continued from page 49...)

She is anxious about doing poorly in school and almost always has high grades

Key Indicators that Tina is struggling:

She has a hard time relaxing

When you make a small request of her, she quickly becomes overwhelmed

When she is doing homework, she sometimes will cry or become quite angry if she is struggling to understand

She has friends and is often taking care

A possible missing piece Many quiet people are also highly sensitive. Dr. Elaine Aron has been researching this area for many years. It is an innate personality trait that is not well known or understood. Highly sensitive people make up 15-20% of the population.

of them by listening to their problems, helping them with their school work, and responding diligently to the many texts she receives from them •

She stays up late night after night studying and still feels like she hasn’t done enough

Common characteristics of highly sensitive people are that they feel their emotions deeply and can feel the emotions of others as well. They are also sensitive to textures, smells, and being hungry or tired. My middle child is highly sensitive so buying socks is often an ordeal. If the sock doesn’t feel ‘right’ there is no chance he will wear it. And if something emotional is happening he either is very emotional or shut down. Highly sensitive people are more impacted by their physical environment as they are noticing so much more than non-sensitive people. This can make school a very overwhelming place to be at times. Highly Sensitive males In my practice, I have seen the negative impact on males who are highly sensitive. These young men are often shamed for acting like a girl due to their soft, tender nature. They don’t fit the mold that says males should be strong, quick decision makers, aggressive if necessary. The unfortunate consequence is that sometimes these really lovely humans have such a strong dislike for themselves. How to help your quiet teen The first thing I always recommend for parents is to learn more about introversion and highly sensitive people. The more you

50 // Community Now!

understand your quiet teen, the better able you are to support them. I have two quiet teens of my own and over the years I have helped them see who they are and the gifts that come with this. The impact is that when they do hear negative messages about their quiet nature, it has very little impact on them because they don’t see this as a bad quality. The next recommendation is to help them learn skills to manage anxiety and overwhelm. One way to do this is remaining calm as they escalate. Our calm energy can help them calm down. I used to escalate as my son escalated and this never ended well. The third recommendation is to determine if they might benefit from professional help. This can sometimes be hard to determine in quiet teens due to the lack of sharing. A key issue to help to determine if professional help is needed is looking at the quality of their friendships as well as how often they are anxious. In regards to relationships, quiet people tend to have a small circle of friends. If your teen doesn’t have friends, it is quite possible they are struggling with how they feel about themselves. We all need friends. In looking at anxiety, if your teen often becomes anxious and it is interfering in their life this is also a sign it can be helpful to work with someone who understands quiet teens and anxiety. When quiet teens are understood, accepted, and loved for all of who they are, they can become confident and like who they are. To learn more about quiet teens and young adults, go to

Mental Health Tip of the Month: Make Gratitude your Attitude Feeling grateful is a sure-fire way to improve your mood. Emotions of gratitude have even been found to create positive shifts in our brain. Gratitude mixes well with mindfulness, a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Try this helpful daily practice by concentrating on five different things for which you’re grateful that pertain to each of the five senses, as in something you can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Notice how your happiness setpoint changes.

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Identity: a short piece by Hayden Taylor, Grade 8 Student. Grade 8 student at Bridgetown School in Nova Scotia I’m a prince, I’m well known everywhere, I’m royalty, I even fence. These are expectations, iIm expected to be and do this, I was born into doing this, no matter where I go how far I run, i’ll always be ‘his royal highness Prince Henry Edward Astley’ I’m trapped in this body, a body I don't want, a body i’ll never understand, a body I stare at and ask ‘why god?’ why me?” I often think i’m not fit for the role I was born to do, my body isn’t a prince. It’s a ‘commoner’ as my father refers them to. It’s just not right and it’ll never be right, I can’t do anything to escape my body and i’ve come to terms with this fact, my sister thinks i’m dramatic. I’m supposed to be perfect, perfect face, perfect mind, perfect academics, perfect. I sit in front of my mirror as I often do letting these thoughts race in my head, I don’t know how long I had been out but I heard my sister shout out to me ‘Henry! Dinner!’ I bounced up and ran to get dressed ‘proper’ instead of my sweatpants it’s dress pants. Yay. I speed walk down our many hall ways, long old, antiques everywhere. It was constant

52 // Community Now!

growing up, do not break the vases. The consequences in my ‘house’ were interesting, not what others may consider normal, but for us it was. I went in to meet my mother, she was still a princess since our grandmother was still alive, she had set the table with everything I didn’t eat often I usually only ate one meal a day because of this ‘perfect’ body I had to maintain, and there we go again back to the topic of perfect, Casper doesn’t have to be perfect, I guess they don’t have a whole nation looking over him, watching his every move needing to know everything about him, right down to his favourite colour. Because I was born into the role of ‘prince’ I do not like this role I do not want this role, I never wanted to be king,but I have no choice to who I want to be its about who I have to be, no matter how far I run i’ll always be trapped in the body with the set role that my mind just wants to run from. No one but Casper knows I hate my role, not even sister knows, my sister. Now she’s perfect, she loves everything life has given her, she loves her role as a princess, she eats so much and still looks perfect to the nations eye, we don’t talk much but she acts like she knows how perfect she is and makes me mad she knows, I wish for one day she could feel how I do, wanting nothing to do with this dumb family, some days it doesnt even feel like a family. I just want it to all go away. Does this make me selfish? Am I a selfish person for not wanting any of this? I don’t even know who I am anymore, i’m a shadow of a person, born with blueprints that cannot be changed. And I hate it.




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54 // Community Now!



Alberta Community Employed Consultant

- Rainforest Manager & Self

"Wherever you are, is where you are." - my Dad Why do you do what you do? When I started at Rainforest I had no idea that I would fall in love with community management. I knew the work resonated with me because the Social Contract is just how I roll but the impact that this community would have on me personally and professionally has been far more profound than I could have imagined. It's all about the people, the generosity, and the trust that is built when we let our guards down. I see that, and the resulting collaborations and initiatives that come from it, every day in the Rainforest. That's what inspires me. Who inspires you? There are so many people in this ecosystem that inspire me. I think the most prominent are those that are humble, generous, and selflessly support other women. Serene Yew, Shannon Lanigan, Margo Purcell, Shannon Pestun are a few that come to mind. Kylie Woods is also a great inspiration to me. As working moms, we are challenged in unique ways and Kylie does it all with such grace, intention, and thoughtfulness. Outside of YYC I'm a total Wendy Cukier fan-girl! Honestly though, I hate to name anyone in particular because it's the little acts of kindness and generosity that result from the Rainforest that inspire me most.

Sarah Hawco

- Founding partner: Hawco Peters

& Associates Instagram: @hawcofitness Aim Higher. Do Better. Why do you do what you do? I knew there was a better way to help businesses facing financial challenges. My fitness side hustle? I truly believe everyone feels better when they move. Who inspires you? Women inspire me, those that lead with compassion, live in alignment with their values, strive to create space, not compete. Women who don’t apologize for who they are and who they are becoming.

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Kenzie Webber - Communicty Now! Magazine "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." ~Mae West Why do you do what you do? I’ve always been a creative person. I love the challenge it brings each time I have a new project; going from an idea or a text document to something that people want to read and enjoy. Who inspires you? Everyone. I feel that I can learn and grow by all those around me each day. Everyone has something to teach me, good or bad, thers is always something.

Deborah Nichol - Happiness Designer "don't look're not going that way" ~Mary Engelbreit Why do you do what you do? I love what I do, and if I can inspire just one person to create happiness in their daily life, it becomes contagious! I believe there's nothing better than living each day with Happiness, Intention & Purpose! Who inspires you? I'm inspired by anyone who dares to be who they are... unapologetically!

Amie Uitvlugt-Valenzuela - Curator of

You Insure Inc.

"Without bravery, you would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of your capacities. Without bravery, you would never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your lives would remain small - far smaller than you probably want your lives to be."- Jack Gilbert My Why runs deep: I was widowed without a plan. No woman should have to start over financially. I help woman set up their future and reach financial wholeness. My inspiration comes from hearing others' stories. We all have a story, and it matters. There is something about the courage it takes to share, and when we listen closely, we recognize they are the hero in their own story and don't know it yet. It spurs me on! Instagram is LinkedIn is https://www. 56 // Community Now!

Serene Yew - Executive Technical Director “If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou Why do you do what you do? Life and true happiness are about making deep connections with people. I've spent so much of my life changing who I am to be who I thought the world wanted me to be. Now I want to live fiercely according to my values and create authentic, meaningful relationships. Who inspires you? My children are my driving force every day. Life can be challenging and they will see my actions as an example of how to respond. I want to show them how to manage fear while being vulnerable, and teach them to practice their courage through these obstacles.

Katherine Alberts

- Mental Health Advocate & Manager, Sales Associates at Mackenzie Investments “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much” - Helen Keller Why do you do what you do? I believe that not only should we state our values but live them. Whether it is my day job or personal life, “ I believe greatness resides in everyone” Yes, everyone. It’s my passion to see and observe. “How did that person show up today? When someone is not where they need to be, how can we inspire them to find their greatness? As an empathic leader, I believe that when we are vulnerable about our struggles, it offers others to know they are “not alone” and hope for a brighter future. We are truly better together. Who inspires you? Honestly, there are so many to name. Someone who stands out for her selfless and self sacrificing life dovation to the poor is Mother Theresa. Her love and compassion gave hope to so many. Every day in our interactions, we all have this opportunity to touch another soul until we are called to our ultimate home. So I challenge everyone to ask “ How did I show up for someone today?” Amie Uitvlugt-Valenzuela, I am the curator of You Insure Inc. When you can’t find what you’re looking for in the finance industry, you create it. I am a money coach extraordinaire paired with being an insurance specialist. I use unconventional wisdom that leads to financial wholeness. I inspire, encourage, equip, and empower you to finish well financially. Community \\ 57

Stacking the wood

Episode 2: Overcoming New Obstacles

The Quirks in a New Wonderland Jill Quirk

“Curiouser and curiouser…” I decided to jump down a rabbit hole …what could go wrong? When teaching, I’m always trying to get students to think like engineers. I provide design challenges for students to learn and grow from. Design challenges teach students about adopting a growth mindset, learning from the parts of the challenges that maybe failed. I try 58 // Community Now!

to teach students to FAIL FORWARD, so they jump into something and not be afraid of the results. This is the same advice that I have been trying to live by. As designer of my own fate, I thought, why not create an ultimate design challenge for my own life? When there is a problem that needs fixing … Why not approach it like a scientist/engineer? Moving across the country from Alberta to Nova Scotia has provided our family all kinds of

obstacles to learn and grow from. And we are learning to be like Alice, being curious and finding joy in all the little things that a new adventure can offer. SO...When your current life isn’t cutting it what can you do? You can create your own life design challenge. Just jump down a new rabbit hole of unknown possibilities. Design question: How can I create a new life for my family to live more sustainably and feel more fulfilled?

The Design Cycle Identify the problems. Feeling far too removed from nature. As a family, a mutual feeling of needing fulfillment in our lives. Missing community connection. Explore the options to solve the problem. We could move…? Imagine the possibilities. What if we moved to a place where we could grow our own food and live more sustainably? And find a community that works together to help each other? Plan the steps. Buy a house with land to farm (Nova Scotia?). Get a teaching certificate for Nova Scotia and get on the sub list. Make a prototype. I AM HERE. TRY TO MAKE A NEW LIFE. Improve the design. Work on getting adequate jobs that don’t take over your life. Find things to do to connect to the community. Find ways to find joy in the new home. Communicate the design. My “making a new life” prototype is discussed.

The Quirks In WONDERLAND: Our first month in our new house was so surreal. I really did feel like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, in a new place of wonder. I think we were in shock for days… our constant thought was, “we live here?”. The excitement was overwhelming, we didn’t even mind that we had no power or water for days. We were in a new land and adventures were ready to be had. However, there were many challenges, just like Alice faced in her Wonderland. The Quirks needed to figure out the basics: water, electricity and WIFI. So the first few weeks we were figuring out the “how to” on some pretty simple things. Even how to get the mail… which took days to construct and figure out the “how to” for our own mailbox. “How do we get WIFI?” This took a day of going to Greenwood (35 mins away) and then talking to the Eastlink company. I chose the easy install package - however it took another day of calling to set up the “easy self installation”. Everything seemed to take longer than anticipated. AND ...flashback - when I was in Quebec, I had remembered to call the power company Nova Scotia Power. They originally said it would take at least 11 days to install power (or something crazy like that), and at that time we were only a day away… so I tried my best to sweet talk the power company and they agreed to try their best to speed up the process. It ended up only taking 4 days to connect. So we were only 4 days without electricity or water (not 11 thankfully).

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So days turned into weeks. While on our property, we had to sleep in the camper for the first three weeks while we waited for our beds and mattresses to be delivered. Our new house was full of blow up mattresses and furniture from the Salvation Army. It was nice, just an extended camping adventure... We enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings, did trail maintenance in our mini forest so Wayne could dirt bike around the property. We especially enjoyed the Annapolis river, which is conveniently right across the street from our house, and a perfect fishing spot. Swimming in the salty water, flowing from the Atlantic, reminding us how connected we all really are. The days of exploring the land felt so refreshing and so good. We picked from our apple trees, we bought produce from our neighbours, we mowed the lawn, we prepared the land. We went to new seasides and hiked around Kejimkujik National Park and learned about the new geographies that now surrounded us. We also dreamed about what our own land will become one day. We had spent a small fortune to get us and our stuff across the country and we wondered if we would completely run out of money? Employment was needed. As we started our new jobs, we both tried to not get caught up in the fact that we don’t have the job security we once had. The pay is lower, the benefits are less, however we feel the community connections are stronger. There is something to be said about being part of a small community. Stories of how everyone helps each other out, helps us feel stronger. In a community if you need something and can’t afford to buy it - there is always someone willing to help you here in the Annapolis Valley and that is priceless! 60 // Community Now!

I got a job as a long term substitute teacher at our local school in Bridgetown teaching grade 6 math, science, art and health. Wayne got a job as a mechanic in Middleton at a Ford dealership. My job is a sub position and it is based on a month to month contract. Something I have to get used to is learning how to accept our new realities of “going with the flow”. My career is still up in the air. It is hard to get teaching contracts here, so being a sub means that I will not have job security like I’m used to. It is hard to not depend on a good stable teaching job, however I will be flexible and accept change, both essential to this adventure. As fall approaches, I embrace all the changes I experience like the colours of the trees surrounding me in the valley. So many more colours to see. The change in me may be starting? … Am I feeling a little lighter… it’s subtle - not sure if I can see it yet…? Training the mind to find joy in everything takes practice. The things that make me joyful here: Century old houses. Stores that shut before 5. Sleepy streets. Trees and gardens everywhere. Fruit and vegetables sold at the side of the road. Smiling faces. Meandering rivers. Waterfalls. The sea. Antique furniture. Long dusty roads. Coyotes that sing in the middle of the night. The morning rooster. Farm fresh eggs. Quiet. There is a rhythm to this place...Am I on beat? Am I dreaming?… Half surprised and half anxious of these new surroundings. What will these new experiences bring? A rainbow of emotions comes and goes. Getting settled into a daily routine is nice, and taking comfort in the fact that mother nature is also going through changes as well. Running through the pathways of yellows and oranges like a bewildered child. Amazed at the transformations of what mother earth can bring to the valley.

I take comfort in our new “old” house. Excited for the warmth of the real wood fire. A house with relics of what used to be. A 200 year old house that speaks with it’s creaks. I think about what this house has endured. If the walls could talk... What kind of stories could my house tell? I know in my heart this move will get me closer to what I am searching for, a connection to the earth and to a community. Where the salt water soothes and heals all the anxieties

A street in Bridgetown

from the past. Where the air refreshes and revives. The earth, keeping us grounded. The future is unknown. And I am ok with that. I am trying to accept that I am currently a long term substitute that means the current teaching position could end before the end of the school year. So this job cannot define me. I enjoy the job along with the people at the school. But I must keep reminding myself that the job is not the only thing that can matter. I appreciate every day that I am fortunate enough to work. And I get to decide… what shall I become? How can I be a person that contributes to this new community?

Apple trees Bridgetown

Learning to embrace the unknown, and remind myself that this is what I wanted. I am working at a school where both my children go. I am part of a great connected community. I teach in a classroom and not online. I am learning new things and growing because I am doing something new. Some things seem the same, many things seem different. I’m enjoying the moments and helping to navigate the trials and tribulations of a new life. My daughter is in grade 8, she has done well, making new friends, joining sports teams and learning about living in a small town. My son in grade 5, also enjoys the new life as well. He

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(continued from page 61...) has made some great new friends, (however he often reflects on how he misses his old friends). The move has helped us reevaluate life. It has not been an easy transition. And we did a lot of jumping in feet first. BUT… we are only in the beginning of this ultimate design challenge. As the weather turns again, we are embarking on a whole new adventure, winter in the valley. The Christmas penguin is blown up and on our lawn. A reminder of Christmases past. We have our Christmas tree up in our house, cut down from our own backyard forest. Our forest provides us with all kinds of treasures, especially lovely animal creatures. One particular creature that sprays liquid from it’s anal glands. We have a wee bit of a skunk problem. So that $900.00 spent on our winter wood for our fireplace is now smelling like skunk (a skunk sprayed our wood shed). Currently the fresh scent of skunk is taking over our house… our wood, dog and husband…sprayed… so that is fun. The Quirk scent of skunk is a great way to fit in. “Mrs. Quirk what’s that horrible smell?”, asks the children, “Oh, that’s me students, I am the reason for this horrible smell that is taking over the classroom.” (That actually happened… I stunk up my whole classroom without even knowing I smelled like skunk). So as I teach in Nova Scotia I am learning about the dangers of small mammals, and also learning about all the benefits of living in a cute little community. Bridgetown is “the friendly town”. This is a town where decorating the Christmas tree at town hall is part of a 50 year tradition (and I got to go with the students to the town hall and decorate 62 // Community Now!

the town tree). This community is all about giving and connecting. There is a “find the gnomes around town scavenger hunt” and a Christmas house decorating competition. And right now, everywhere you go and spend over $10.00 your name is put in a draw to win gift certificates around town. Bridgetown sure lives up to its slogan. My grade 6 class came up with the idea, “let’s be Empathy Engineers”. One of the projects we are piloting is the Across the Country Email Pals, where currently we are helping grade 2 Alberta students from Northern Lights CBE school in Calgary to learn about what life is like to live in Nova Scotia. A colleague I used to teach with needed a class to connect with to help teach the grade 2 social studies curriculum, communities in Nova Scotia. I am excited to see what comes out of this adorable connection. Another Empathy Engineering project is making 3D ornaments, designed in Tinkercad. We print them on a 3D printer and then paint them. We will then be giving the ornaments to community members to spread Christmas cheer. Working at Bridgetown School was a great introduction to Nova Scotia. However, because the job was a long term substitute position, I decided to try for a new term position in a new school district. Even though I loved working in Bridgetown - being a long term substitute you don’t get the benefits you would get having a proper contract. Having a term position provides a lot more security in uncertain times. So off I go to Digby High School to teach grade 7 math/science and grade 10 science. It is a very different scene, and I feel like my new mission will definitely be a little more challenging, however, this is what life is about. Challenging yourself daily to help you grow.

This change will hopefully help me to find a new fire in my belly and a new purpose. I am looking forward to what the future will hold. A future with so much hope. Winter hits…”the wrench” … how will you adapt? Winter here has definitely brought us into another world of adventures. It is now the third weekend in January. And each weekend there has been some kind of weather trauma. Our first weekend in January we had no power for three days due to extreme winter weather… and then the next weekend there was so much snow it took us all day to uncover our vehicles. And then there was some kind of accident and we lost power for the entire Saturday (when it was -16 outside). As we huddle around the wood fireplace, it sure helps us appreciate simple things like power. Having no power or internet really forces you to be creative and find other ways to enjoy the great outdoors. So off we went to the adorable town of Wolfville for the day (home of Acadia university) did a mini hike and found The Church, a church turned into a microbrewery and enjoyed some delicious beer and grub. As we persevere through these winter months we have a long list of “to dos” for the year. We are excited to look into sustainable power solutions, like geothermal and solar. And we continue to plan and dream about the upcoming Spring when we get to start our garden and get our pigs and chickens.

Behind our house

The valley (Bridgetown)

Where the garden will go The Penguin

Like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland constantly asks Alice, “Who are you?”. I continue to question, who am I?… and these new adventures will push me to reevaluate my life and find JOY in all the little things.

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Calgary’s Getting Ready to Ride Shawn Webber


t’s almost time Calgary! If you’re anything like me the longer days, leaping clocks and melting snow mean that outdoor season is fast approaching. Yes, it’s very possible to enjoy the outdoors in Calgary during the winter, but the ability to roll quickly and confidently along our cities numerous bicycle friendly pathways is a much more enjoyable endeavour when the summer sun is smiling upon us. Over the coming months we will use this space to explore some of the events, people, and places that give Calgary and the Eastern Rockies it’s vibrant and exciting bicycling culture. As the sun begins to arrive earlier in the day and stay later, it’s time to start considering your reasons for cycling. Perhaps you’re an experienced rider, you take pride in maintaining your steed right? Do you have the parts you need? Have you picked the day you’re going to look after your preseason tune up? If you’re not the self maintaining type, should someone take a look at it for you? I hear the line ups at all the best local places get longer this time of year. If you’re a less experienced cyclist interested in looking after your own maintenance there’s many great local resources, from courses at local post secondary education resources and bicycle cooperatives. Even the mechanics at your local bike shop will be happy to share their wealth of knowledge, as long as you are respectful of their time. After all every one of those mechanics was once a beginner, asking questions of the mechanics before them.

If the possibility of bicycle commuting to save money, comfortably pedalling along the river on a warm summer evening, getting out and exploring the amazing pathways and scenery of Calgary, or your tastes involve something more “extreme” there’s something for you in Calgary. It’s time to pump up those tires, oil that chain, and check those cables and bolts to make sure you’re ready for that first warm weather weekend. If you’re not sure what any of that means, but the prospect of enjoying some of the sights this city in the shadow of the Rockies has to offer, now is the time! with warmer weather fast approaching and your New Years Resolutions firmly in mind (or far in your rear view), then it’s the perfect time to find your bicycle, whether it be in the shed, the garage, the backyard, or waiting for you to discover at the shop. Check back in the coming months for a look at the cycling scene in Calgary and Southern Alberta. Community \\ 65

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