Why We Exist
Community is the result of building relationships and sharing resources – it is created by its members, and is the result of making “space” to get to know each other, to collaborate, to create opportunities and find solutions that work for everyone.
Community hubs (like CommunityWise) are an idea that both community and policy-makers agree make sense. Reports, conferences and symposiums have all addressed the many reasons that they do. Across the country and around the world, community hubs have emerged as an important way to meet critical local needs and preserve community assets.
The need to address racial discrimination is very real in Calgary, as the city becomes more and more diverse and as the culture here adapts to change. The Youth Centre at CommunityWise serves immigrant, refugee and Indigenous youth ages 12 – 24 and saw the need to do something about racism many of the youth face. Beltline Youth Centre wanted to put on a community celebration of diversity and inclusion, showcasing the talent of the youth who use the centre and inviting wider community to join in.
- A great idea! But how is it possible to organize an event on top of all the everyday demands of running a youth centre?? Needs and capacity to meet these needs don’t always match up… thankfully community hubs can help!
CommunityWise facilitated collaboration, provided space and secured funding for two CommunityWise member organizations, Beltline Youth Centre and Aboriginal Friendship Centre, to put on a special event for the International Day to End Racial Discrimination.
The Youth Centre came to CommunityWise to collaborate on the event because we had announced our interest in collaborating with members. We were delighted and spread the word to other member groups immediately. The Aboriginal Friendship Centre, another member group with offices at CommunityWise has been collaborating regularly with us and was interested in supporting the Anti-Racism Day event.
Suddenly in only three weeks time, we were organizing a big community event together! What better way to acknowledge and address racial discrimination than to work with diverse communities and all ages towards a shared goal? What better way to come together than in a fun, celebratory and educational event?
The event attracted around 100 children, youth and adults, which happens to be the maximum capacity of the main common room! People were spilling out of the building into the yard. Attendees enjoyed a free meal sponsored by our local City Council Ward, funding secured by CommunityWise staff. CommunityWise board members came out to the event, as did representatives from other organizations in the building. Children and youth from Calgary After School programs and from the Youth Centre had opportunities to perform and share their experiences through hip hop and spoken word. The audience made up of a diverse range of CommunityWise members, educated each other on the issue of racism from the perspective of youth and through stories shared by Aboriginal Friendship Centre representatives.
Recognizing the need, collaborating with members and providing the space, CommunityWise had a vital role in this unique and transformative event. Member groups were empowered to find relevant responses to complex social problems.
Together we created the space for community to thrive.
Community Wise exists:
- To meet critical local needs and preserve community assets.
- To bring services and resources together to better serve Calgarians.
- To build the capacity of smaller nonprofits and foster their success.
- To help break down the often stubborn territorial pride that keeps groups from working together.
- To help build bridges between various players, from arts and culture, social and environmental justice, immigration and settlement, support groups, youth services, and poverty reduction.