Photo credit: YW Calgary by Neil Zeller
It is time for another Give Back Tuesday blog. For this next feature, we are highlighting the work and mission of a very special organization for all of us at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre: YW Calgary.
We have had the pleasure of welcoming YW Calgary’s YWHISPER Gala to our Centre for almost a decade. Through all these years, we have gotten to know their team and we have learned about the important role they play in supporting women’s wellbeing and their families.
Their 2020 gala was hosted on March 4, and it was one of the last pre-COVID events we welcomed through our doors.
Since then, YW Calgary has encountered many challenges to continue operating and providing support to their community, including having to pivot many programs to a virtual format, and loosing the ability to fundraise through in-person events.
This fantastic organization can’t do it alone, they need our support more than ever. Please join us on this campaign to create awareness about the needs of this beloved Calgary non-for-profit, and how we can help them help others.
Intervene, empower, and lead when and where women need them most. Voted one of Maclean’s Top 100 Charities of 2020, YW Calgary focuses on enhancing women’s well-being while advocating for equity. Each year, YW Calgary supports nearly 6,000 women and their families as they move from crisis to stability by providing shelter, supportive housing, counselling, child development, childcare, education and employment programs in partnership with their donors, government and other social agencies.
How operations have adapted through the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on YW Calgary and the vulnerable women and families they are proud to support. They have spent the past year working hard to make decisions with the health and safety of their clients in mind, and they continue to bear witness to the significant pressures people are under.
While some of their in-person programs were temporarily closed due to the pandemic, they could not stop providing their critical and essential services: transitional housing, emergency shelter, domestic violence shelter, permanent supportive community housing, counselling and outreach.
Their team shared with us that at any time there are nearly 200 women and children who rely on YW Calgary’s shelter programs.
Technology provides big help for YW Calgary, as they have been able to offer some of their programs virtually, including individual counselling and domestic violence outreach.
YW Calgary has been taking every precaution to protect their clients and front-line staff, but it has not been without challenges. The financial pressures on the organization are unlike anything they have experienced in the past, and they continue to experience an increase in expenses, including new cleaning and Personal Protective Equipment costs.
How you can help
Historically, a large portion of YW Calgary’s funds raised on an annual basis came from in-person events, including the YWHISPER Gala which has been held at our Centre. Last year’s gala, one of the last events attended by Calgarians before the COVID-19 pandemic, was one of their most successful events.
However, after the health restrictions were implemented a few days after, they have cancelled a few of their smaller in-person fundraising events.
For 2021, the team has decided to go to the virtual route for their 2021 YWHISPER Gala, which takes place March 11, 2021.
You can support YW Calgary by buying a ticket to attend their virtual gala and spreading the word with your family and friends. Funds raised are more vital than ever and will help to ensure they can continue supporting those must vulnerable and keeping their essential services available.
For more information on the 2021 virtual gala, please visit www.ywcalgary.ca/ywhisper.
Follow us on social media for more details on how you can help.