LETHBRIDGE FUNDRAISER RAISES RECORD DOLLARS: The 9th Annual Children’s Benefit Dinner in Lethbridge sees 450 guests gather to raise funds for the Lethbridge Emergency Youth Shelter. More than 100,000 is raised during an evening that features characters from the fairytale ‘Peter Pan’, an emotional speech by a former shelter client, a spectacular meal at the Lethbridge Lodge, and amazing live and silent auction items. Hats off to our many loyal and generous supporters in Lethbridge!
CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH DAY IS OURS TO CELEBRATE! Wood’s Homes works hard to raise awareness of the help we can provide, but we burn rubber May 6-12 (Mental Health Week) which celebrates the importance of good mental health. Children’s Mental Health Day falls on May 9 and on this day we are out in full force both advertising (radio, online, bridge banners) and on Social Media via our first Live Twitter Chat. We were also pleased to meet so many passers-by at our information booths on Stephen Avenue Mall and at Bankers Hall.
OUR FIRST ‘IRON CHEF’ COMPETITION: This hugely successful competition sees teams of four youth paired with a chef mentor to prepare and cook gourmet dishes. Celebrity judges - Julie van Rosendaal, Gwendolyn Richards and Pierre Lamielle – review the dishes, and awards are presented for best tasting, best presentation, most creative and youth choice. Due to this event's popularity, this will become an annual initiative.
WOOD’S HOMES ROLLS UP ITS SLEEVES TO HELP FLOOD VICTIMS: Devastating floods have hit our city, and we are extremely saddened to witness the significant damage in the community of Bowness, where we have worked since 1926. Several of our employees eagerly offer to help our neighbours by pulling out carpet and drywall from homes, clearing and sweeping mud and debris and transporting large loads of garbage to dumpsters. Our clinicians and therapists are also on the ground providing mobile crisis support (throughout the city) to Calgarians in need.
BRETT WILSON’S GARDEN PARTY: We are thrilled to be chosen as one of three charitable recipients at this well-known Calgary philanthropist’s 2013 Garden Party held in support of adolescent mental health. Hundreds of guests, by invitation-only, share an evening under warm, star-filled skies to learn about mental illness, the services at Wood’s Homes, the Calgary Counselling Centre and Juno House. Wood’s Homes hosts a booth and we are very proud to be in receipt of $50,000 toward our Aboriginal services.
BEST STAMPEDE BREAKFAST IN TOWN: Our annual breakfasts at both our Parkdale and Bowness campuses, draw record crowds. More than 2,600 hungry folks show up (many year after year) for our amazing food, entertainment, games and prizes. Thanks to all those who gave generously to the Food Bank!
NEW WEBSITE, TEXT SUPPORT & LIVECHAT SERVICES: After a year-long wait, our new website is launched this month. The objective of the redesign is to make it easier for our online visitors to A) find the help they need; B) the information they want about mental illness and our programs; and C) to donate. We also launch Text for Help, and LiveChat, online crisis services.
CAMPUS REVITALIZATION PROJECTS TAKE SHAPE: Our capital campaign is showing major signs of progress with completion of work on our Parkdale campus and the construction of the new Hextall building on our Bowness campus. It will provide social and recreational space for youth and families as well as areas for clinical work, training and workshops.
$300,000 RAISED AT CALGARY CHILDREN’S BENEFIT DINNER: Global Calgary’s Leslie Horton emcees our 16th annual gala event held at the Hyatt Regency. More than 400 guests mingle to share their support of Wood’s Homes and our 35+ programs and services. A former client of our New Horizon program speaks about her life’s journey, and a video about mental illness (created by some very talented Centennial High School students) provide touching moments. Thank you, as always, to our very generous donors (both corporate and individual).
LARGEST CORPORATE DONATION IN OUR HISTORY: Vermilion Energy Inc. donates $1 million for the new family centre on our Bowness campus and also rolls up its collective sleeve to assist in the grooming of the campus on its annual ‘Day of Caring’. More than 80 Vermilion Energy employees clean, lay sod, paint, assemble shelving units, organize clothing hampers and prepare over 160 meals! In honour of the donation, the new family centre is named the Vermilion Energy Family Centre.
WOOD’S HOMES FINDS 99-YEAR-OLD ALUMNI: With our 2014 Homecoming events less than a year ahead, we continue the task of reaching out to as many alumni as we can find. And we reconnect with Hilda McCartney, who much to our surprise, also turns 100 in 2014! We visit Hilda at a nursing home in Calgary’s northwest and she is thrilled to be able to share her life story and recollections of a “very kind” Mother Wood during her stay here when we were an orphanage. Her interview appears in our monthly newsletter.
SERVICE RECOGNITION DRAWS RECORD CROWD: Hundreds of Wood’s Homes employees (and their partners) attend the annual service recognition event, which this year draws a record crowd at the Westin Hotel. Organized entirely by Wood’s Homes staff, this event took guests on a journey through the century with amusing costume changes, fun facts and a video showing the history of Wood’s Homes. Among the staff honoured for their dedication, is an employee who has been with Wood’s Homes for more than 30 years!
FESTIVE SEASON ALWAYS BRINGS GOOD CHEER: December is an amazing time to be spending time at a charity. It provides a first-hand account of how generous people are. We work with hundreds of needy families; our challenge is always to narrow the list for Santa! But each year, we are able to provide assistance to more than 100 families thanks to the generosity of corporations and individuals. Oh to see the smiles on faces when parents are handed wrapped gifts for their children, ready to be placed under the tree!
OUR MILESTONE YEAR ARRIVES – FINALLY!!!
- We kick it off with a major fireworks show at the Bowness campus – a show so big it sets our Twitter account abuzz;
- We host a private launch of ‘100 Stories for 100 Years’ (our anniversary book), edited by well-known U of C playwright Clem Martini;
- We launch our organization’s first-ever monthly Speaker Series and Parenting Workshops – providing tips, information and strategies for families;
- We launch a pilot program called Community Psychiatric Unit. Funded by Alberta Health, it’s a 7-day crisis unit for adolescents experiencing mental health issues that cannot be managed on an outpatient basis.
FIRST AND LAST STAGES FOR BOWNESS BUILDINGS: It is a long, cold winter and that has caused some delays but the excavation stage of the Vermilion Energy Family Centre is now behind us. Concrete will soon be pouring! And the Hextall building is almost ready for move-in. Staff and clients can hardly contain their excitement. It’s beautiful!
OUR SOCIAL MEDIA TRAFFIC TAKES OFF: Our efforts have paid off – we now have the largest Facebook audience of any like-minded non-profit in Calgary, and the second largest Twitter audience! We have also produced a number of new videos for our growing YouTube channel. Now that the majority of businesses, organizations, news outlets, and governments engage with the public online, showcasing the important work Wood’s Homes does using these platforms is more important than ever.