Sonshine Society of Christian Community Services
Our Story Why We Exist
Motivated by our Christian faith, Sonshine Community Services exists to help women and children transform their lives. We dream of a community where women and children live safely in healthy families.
Sadly, shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence is a deep need in our city. Each year Sonshine Centre becomes home for approximately 40 families, the overwhelming majority of whom are considered at high risk for fatality or serious injury due to violence in the home. Would it surprise you to know that over half of residents in a women's shelter are children? Over the past three decades, Sonshine has seen the alarming impacts of domestic violence on children and its significant negative effects on a child's emotional, social and cognitive wellbeing. In fact, witnessing or experiencing domestic violence is the number one indicator that a child will grow up to be a victim or perpetrator of violence. Not only does Sonshine help end family violence right now, we place special emphasis on the children in our care in order to cut off the cycle of violence before it impacts future generations.
In many circumstances, the 21 days offered at women’s or family emergency shelters is simply not enough time for a woman to gather the resources she needs to ensure she and her children can live safely and independently. Surveys by the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters found women return to abusive partners because of poor economic circumstances and lack of housing. This is why Sonshine offers an 18 month program, to support women through the healing process and equip them with life skills and/or job-specific training in order to become financially stable and capable of maintaining appropriate housing. Most importantly, women leave Sonshine empowered to create safe, healthy, loving environments for themselves and their children.
To learn more about how we make a difference, please click on this link: Our Success Stories.
Our Impact What We Do
Sonshine Community Services has been serving the local Calgary community since 1978 by providing care, support, housing and counselling to families and individuals in need. Our story is best shared through the eyes of the people we serve:
“Thanks to the security, surveillance cameras, and safety plans put in place for us, I feel very safe at Sonshine. I feel supported by my counselor, and no longer feel alone. Being at Sonshine has given me the opportunity to make friends and gain confidence, freedom and strength. I’m learning to enjoy life with my daughter. I’m grateful for the new skills I have been able to learn and the community resources I am becoming aware of through the help of Sonshine. My daughter is now able to make eye contact with others, is very happy and able to have fun. She is doing so well in school and has been able to be focused on studying and has become more responsible with her studies... I now know I can make it and build a better future for my daughter and me. I don’t have enough words to say how very thankful I am to Sonshine.” –Past Resident
“Sonshine second stage shelter gave me the chance to take my life back. By the time I came to Sonshine, my children were grown, however, they needed me to show them how to break the cycle of abuse. Coming from a family life full of domestic violence, I noticed the cycle of abuse carrying on generation after generation. Shelters like Sonshine will help not just help the generation in front of them but families in the future.” –Past Resident
Our Programs How We Do It
Over the years, Sonshine's services have evolved into a full range of residential and outreach programs specializing in developing healthy families and helping families impacted by violence. To that end, Sonshine Community Counseling exists to fortify individuals and prevent family break downs. Since 1985, Sonshine Family Day Homes (accredited in 2005) has enabled children to participate to their fullest potential in day home routines, activities and play experiences. Sonshine Community Services operates Sonshine Centre, a second stage shelter serving women and children who are escaping family violence and abuse. The Centre is an integral part of Calgary’s collaborative response to domestic violence, housing women and children who are at a high risk for serious injury or fatality, and providing the support needed to navigate the practical and emotional complexities of leaving an abusive home. With 24 units, Sonshine’s shelter provides a one-year residential program for women and women with children, followed by a six-month program for safely transitioning back into the community. In 2014, the Sonshine Children’s Centre will open, offering specialized child care for children from Sonshine’s shelter, other shelters and the greater community who have experienced domestic violence. It will be Canada’s first child care facility located in a shelter that integrates therapeutic programming and interventions with child development strategies designed to end the inter-generational cycle of family violence.
Our Requests What You Can Do
OUR WISH LIST | The following are some immediate and ongoing needs we would love your help with. For in-kind donations, we are only able to accept new items. You can also choose to donate to the cost of purchasing items listed below.
Click here for our WISH LIST. To give, and to learn about charitable tax receipt options for in-kind gifts, please call Jeanette Pyle, Resource Development Manager at 403.705.3485
Help Sonshine Community Services supply the toys and materials it needs for the brand new Children’s Centre! Sonshine is purchasing new items through a specific wholesaler, we are only requesting financial donations. Please see the Children's Centre Wish List (pdf) to choose how you'd like to contribute.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT | Calling Male Volunteers! Are you a male interested in being a positive influence in the life of a child impacted by domestic violence? The Sonshine Centre is looking for men in our community who can spend a few hours a month interacting and having fun with our resident children. There are various opportunities for involvement that can accommodate your schedule. Please call Terry-Mae at 403.243.0274 for more information.
Male or females, we'd love to have you join our volunteer team. If you are interested in any of the following volunteer opportunities contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 403.243.0274 or fill out an online feedback form by clicking here.