Sonshine Community Services

we serve these populations

  • children and youth
  • women

we need help with:

  • domestic violence
  • mental health

There has been a steady rise in domestic violence in Calgary in recent years, and the urgent need for Sonshine Community Services and our support for victims of domestic violence is rising with it.

The Calgary Police Service recorded 5,945 domestic violence victims in 2019, or 31.9% more than the five-year average in 2014-2018. The prolonged economic and social upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made this situation worse, with many households struggling with huge financial and relational pressures.

Women and children cannot run from domestic violence without someplace to go. After their first 21 days in an emergency shelter, they need long-term safety and security, and wrap-around supports to overcome the emotional and psychological trauma. Sonshine meets that desperate need. Motivated by our Christian faith, we envision a community where women and children live safely in healthy families.

When a woman lives in an abusive household, she often experiences social isolation. The lack of social supports, combined with the impact of trauma and abuse, may cause a wide array of physical, emotional, mental consequences that can hamper a mother’s ability to focus on her children.

If children’s need for a secure home life and for therapeutic supports to address their trauma are not met, they will be prone to anti-social behaviour that can impact them and their community for their entire lives.

Research has shown that 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 Centre work to end family violence right now, we also place special emphasis on the children in our care to end the cycle of violence before it impacts future generations.

Sonshine Community Services is a charitable organization bringing hope and healing to families in need for more than 40 years. We envision a community where women and children live safely in healthy families.

We are a multi-service organization:

  • THE SONSHINE CENTRE: The Sonshine Centre is a residential shelter serving women and children fleeing family violence and abuse. The Centre is an integral part of Calgary’s collaborative response to domestic violence, housing women with and without children who are at a high risk for serious injury or fatality. With 24 units, the Sonshine Centre provides an eighteen month program that supports clients in navigating the practical and emotional complexities of leaving an abusive home, including six-month follow-up to support clients in their safe transition back into the community.
  • SONSHINE CHILDREN’S CENTRE: The Children’s Centre is the first licensed  full-time children’s centre of its kind in Canada. It meets the unique needs of children who have experienced domestic violence or other forms of emotional trauma. The program recognizes that children exposed to family violence are more vulnerable than their peers to social, emotional, psychological and cognitive development problems. For those children, the focus is to prevent the cycle of violence from continuing by intervening early in the child’s development.
  • COMMUNITY COUNSELLING: Sonshine Community Counselling exists to support individuals to build health within families and relationships. We offer ethical, client-centered and trustworthy counselling to community members, with the intent of removing barriers to access to professional counselling.
  • FAMILY DAY HOMES: Sonshine Family Day Homes provides home-based childcare throughout the city of Calgary. Since 1985, Sonshine Family Day Homes agency has been going above and beyond to ensure trustworthy, quality, well-rounded childcare. Our home-based programs are inclusive, regulated, safe and caring.

Sonshine Centre has been sheltering, supporting, and helping to transform the lives of women and children impacted by domestic violence in Calgary for more than 40 years. With a 24-suite residential facility at an undisclosed site in Calgary, the Sonshine Centre provides a safe and secure home to women and children for up to one year, plus six months of follow-up support to enable them to safely transition back into the community. During their 18 months, they access emotional, psychological and practical supports offered by a team of professionals that include residential counsellors, a child & youth trauma counsellor, play therapist, and parent-child educator.

The Centre also supports clients by building a network of referrals and connections for their move into community housing so that they remain part of a supportive system.

Here is praise from one of our past residents:

“Sonshine’s 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 not just help the generation in front of them, but families in the future.”

Sonshine Children’s Centre is Canada’s first licensed full-time children’s centre tailored to the unique needs of children impacted by domestic violence and trauma.

The friendly, inviting facility serves children residing in the Sonshine Centre and children living in the wider community or referred by other local social agencies. The services provided in the Children’s Centre are integrated and harmonized with the services offered to the families in the Residential Children Programming. We offer:

  • Trauma informed and culturally appropriate service delivery: our highly trained, specialized staff understand the impact of trauma, the need to avoid re-traumatization, and how best to support healing and resiliency
  • Social emotional learning programs which stimulate emotional literacy, self-control, social competence, positive peer relations, and interpersonal problem-solving skills
  • Parental education and support, with the goal to develop healthy, secure, attuned, and responsive parent/child relationships that aid the family, community, and society
  • Additional therapeutic services – including behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc. – to address the unique needs of each child

How impactful could your support of Sonshine Centre and Sonshine Children’s Centre be?

Resident A: “I honestly don’t know where to begin when I want to tell you how much Sonshine has helped me. I was welcomed with non-judgmental, open arms. I was accommodated with a beautiful apartment and an amazing counsellor. Not only did Sonshine give me a roof over my head, but they gave me peace of mind that I was going to be safe, and that I would actually sleep at night knowing that there was security in the building. I learned a great deal about abuse while attending life-skills groups and now feel confident building boundaries in my life. I also learned where and how to find resources in the community. The most important thing that Sonshine has helped me with is building a better relationship with my son. The family counsellor was always very helpful in giving me new ideas on how to be a better parent. Thank you to everyone who works at and supports Sonshine.”

Resident B: “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.”

Sonshine Community Services also works in close partnership with a wide network of social service agencies to address and eliminate many barriers a struggling family may face. Because every Sonshine client is unique, an equally unique system of supports needs to be put in place to ensure the family’s success.


Your donations to Sonshine Centre will provide more valuable support services for our residents, while donations to Sonshine Children’s Centre will expand the therapeutic services to traumatized children.

Please designate your donation for:

  • “Sonshine Centre” or
  • “Children’s Centre” or
  • “Where Most Needed”

You can donate:

  • Online
  • By e-transfer to [email protected]
  • By mail: PO Box 4400, RPO Westbrook, Calgary, AB, T3C 2W2
  • By phone: 403.705.3490

We also welcome a variety of in-kind donations. To learn more, including how to receive a charitable tax receipt for in-kind donations, please call 403.705.3490.

Sonshine also needs volunteers:

  • Move in and move out client support
  • Suite preparation and staging for new clients
  • Administrative support
  • Maintenance/landlord assistance
  • Reception/administration
  • Special events/ambassadors

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected]

Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Jacqueline Fleischer

Resouce Development Associate



More Info

Charity Number: #119156412RR000134067

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