Calgary Community Resource Centres

Date PublishedSeptember 19, 2013
CompanyCalgary Community Resource Centres
Article AuthorMelody Wharton
Article TypeJune 2013 Issue
PULSE Interactive

Calgary Community Resource Centres


“Being a business person, I appreciate the concept of a Community Resource Centre. Using a metaphor related to the patch, let’s say we have a rig or a motor or some sort of equipment. Is it best to wait until things get so terrible that we need to invest a pile of money, replace parts, suffer downtime and take a long time in recovering? No, we have maintenance programs and diagnostic checks to foresee problems, to ensure we are catching all issues in a timely manner and dealing with them to ensure everything keeps running smoothly or corrections are done thoroughly before disaster. It is the whole theory of preventative maintenance and service. Community Resource Centres are the best example of doing this for society.”

~ Chris Grabill Board Chair, SouthWest Communities Resource Centre

On any given day, at one or more of the Community Resource Centres (CRCs) in Calgary and surrounding towns, you could see the following happening: 

– An out-of-work labourer searching the internet for jobs, preparing a resume or faxing information to a prospective employer 
– A group of parents reading and talking to their babies and toddlers 
– Women from many different cultures meeting together, making new friends, sharing what they have learned about getting around, getting the kids settled, looking for work
– People talking one-on-one with a staff member, in a private space, about their particular circumstances and wondering how to move forward 
– A staff member talking on the phone to a worker at another agency, or to the pastor at the church down the street, trying to secure some financial assistance for a family with three young children facing a utilities disconnection 
– People receiving emergency food supplies, personal hygiene items and baby supplies 
– A staff member faxing off a stack of camp applications – summer fun for the kids of financially-strapped families 
– People gathered in a room to learn about money management
– Staff members meeting with community residents and other service providers to develop a new program to meet the needs of the community 
– A bus load of parents and kids pulling out of the parking lot, on their way to a fun outing together 
– Rooms packed to bursting with kids and their volunteer tutors 
– Teddy Bear Picnic for the whole town – but only annually, and only in Okotoks Each Community Resource Centre serves – free of charge – community residents living within a defined geographic area.

Each CRC responds to the particular needs of the communities they serve by providing a somewhat different mix of programs and services. However, all CRCs use a strengths-based model of practice designed to resolve or at least mitigate the impact of difficult situations on people and to build up their resilience. CRCs promote individual and family well-being by helping people to: 

– Access concrete supports such as basic needs (e.g. food, clothing, shelter) and necessary services (e.g. counselling or substance abuse treatment) 
– Find additional resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to function effectively, especially under stress 
– Identify and build on their own strengths, thereby increasing their capacity to achieve their goals

CRCs practice early intervention strategies, addressing issues when they first arise (or at least when people first bring them to our attention) so these issues do not fester and lead to more intractable, and perhaps more dangerous, situations down the road. CRCs also practice prevention strategies by assessing the potential for certain issues to arise in future and helping people to build the knowledge, skills and protective factors needed to prevent their occurrence. CRC basic practice includes: 

– Assessment 
– Action planning 
– Supportive counselling 
– Information and referral 
– Advocacy 
– Encouraging and supporting self-advocacy 
– Providing on-site programs and services directly or in partnership with other agencies/service providers 
– Mobilizing the resources of the community (volunteers, in-kind resources, money) to support vulnerable populations

Community Resource Centres have been operating in Calgary and some surrounding towns since the mid-1990s. They are unique to the Calgary area; you won’t find them elsewhere in Alberta. Calgary and Area Child and Family Services is the primary funder of CRCs located in Calgary. CFSA and FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) together, primarily fund CRCs located outside of Calgary. Community Resource Centres may be stand-alone non-profit agencies, programs of larger non- profit agencies or Community Associations, or programs of rural municipalities.

CRCs supplement income from funders through grants, fund-raising activities and individual, service club and corporate donations. If you would like to support vulnerable families and individuals, consider a contribution of time, goods, or money to a Community Resource Centre. Official receipts for income tax purposes are issued.

“I volunteer at a Community Resource Centre that is in the community area I grew up in and currently live in. I find great satisfaction in contributing to my own community and the people within it directly. Working for the agency also allows me to engage with other community-minded people (small businesses, community associations, local organizations). It’s exciting to work with others to better your small part of the world.”

~ Chris Grabill, Board Chair SouthWest Communities Resource Centre

Testimonials from community residents who have used the services of CRC:

“The Resource Centre is helping me to improve my life. I’m getting more responsible as a mom. I was referred to the Best Beginning program which was very helpful. I learned a lot.”

“The Resource Centre gives me a boost of confidence. When you go through hard times, it can be shameful. I never lost my confidence with your team. The staff really cared. Having that support is really encouraging, motivating. This might be a bad day but tomorrow will be better.”

Selected List of Community Resource Centres in Calgary and Area

BowWest Community Resource Centre
Ranchlands Office: #14 1840 Ranchlands Way N.W
Bowness Office: 7904 – 43 Ave. N.W.
Contact: Sydney Empson ph: 403-374-0448

Heart of the Northeast Community Solutions Resource Centre
2623 – 56 St. N.E. (in Village Square)
Contact: Bushra Choudhry ph: 403-293-5467 ext. 25

Inner City Community Resource Centre
Unit #1 1922 – 9th Avenue S.E.
Contact: Shonet D’Sa ph: 403-536-6558

North Central Community Resource Centre
520 – 78 Ave. N.W.
Contact: Shirley Smith McLean ph: 403-275-6666 ext.241

North of McKnight Community Resource Centre
95 Falshire Dr. N.E.
Contact: Sue Holt ph: 403-293-0424 ext. 102

Okotoks Healthy Family Resource Centre
11 Cimarron Common, Okotoks, AB
Contact: Sherri Mullen or Joanne Dzurka ph: 403-995-2626

SouthWest Communities Resource Centre
#42 2580 Southland Dr. S.W.
Contact: Melody Wharton ph: 403-238-9222 ext. 222 (under construction)

Sunrise Community Link
3303 – 17th Ave. S.E.
Contact: Shauna Parks ph: 403-204-8280 ext. 23

West Central Community Resource Centre
3507 – 17 Ave. S.W.
Contact: Minoush Rafie ph: 403-543-0555 ext. 224

Western Rocky View Family and Community Resource Centre
209 – 2nd Avenue West, Cochrane, AB
Contact: Annemarie Tocher ph: 403-851-2259