FAQs

Is the YWCA Calgary the same organization as the YMCA in Calgary?

YWCA Calgary is not the same organization as the YMCA in Calgary and the two organizations are not affiliated. Both the YMCA and YW started in Calgary about the same time, but we offer very different services. The YMCA is predominantly a recreation-based organization with facilities all over the city focused on families and youth. In contrast, YW's work is clearly focused on women’s support services related to family violence prevention, homelessness, poverty reduction, exclusion, and community-based supports for children and families.

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Why does Alberta have a high rate of family violence?

It’s a complicated answer. Part of it reflects how we value family, what we teach children when they are young, and the socialization of boys and girls and their roles in society.

According to the most recent numbers by Statistics Canada, Alberta is the fourth highest province when it comes to reported family violence. We have high rates of family break-down and high rates of alcohol abuse; we therefore suffer from high stress in a market that is either a boom or bust economy. Within both economic situations we see peak demands for services related to family violence.

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How can I help?

Donate cash, give gifts in kind, and participate in fundraising events at local social service agencies. Speak up and speak out against family violence. Help spread awareness around the issue by talking to your peers, family members, colleagues and sharing information on social media.

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Does YWCA Calgary collaborate with other organizations?

Yes! YWCA Calgary is partnered with well over 20 other not-for-profit organizations in Alberta. Ongoing collaborations include relationships with Calgary Homeless Foundation, HomeFront, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association and the Calgary Family Services to name a few. We also work collaboratively with other local emergency shelters on research, advocacy and the delivery of services.

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How does the “Christian” aspect fit into the YWCA?

It’s part of our acronym; it’s part of our history. There is no longer any religious connotation or requirement to our work and/or services. We are a multicultural, multi-denominational organization for both our clients and staff and we value our diversity.

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What is the average length of stay at the YWCA Calgary's housing and shelter facilities? Is it long enough to realistically enact the necessary life changes?

The maximum length of stay is 21 days at the YW Sheriff King Home Crisis Shelter, due to Alberta provincial funding regulations. Twenty-one days at the shelter facility is not long enough. Ideally, we would like to be in a position where our counselors decide the appropriate time to move clients out. However, there just are not enough shelter beds and we are bound by the government's restrictions.
At YW Mary Dover House Transitional Housing, single women and women with children may stay for up to 24 months, though most stay for three to four months.

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How do we educate the public about the need and the work of the YWCA Calgary?

We hold and participate in many events which respond to the issues within the community, and participate in and respond to current news articles and other media in order to broaden our message. YWCA Calgary staff, board, corporate and community partners, participate in media inquiries, speak at events and community functions, as well as connect and collaborate with other charitable service organizations. Our key annual events; WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES®, KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS®, and YWHISPER Fundraising Gala, bring awareness to Calgarians in ways that encourage participation and outreach.

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Why does the YWCA Calgary only accept new clothing and household items for women and their families?

YW gratefully accepts cash donations and donations of new clothing, toys and household items. Due to health and safety concerns, YW is unable to accept used clothing, toys or household items as we do not have the resources or capacity to sort and clean them.

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Who is affected by family violence?

Family violence is not exclusive to one socio-economic class. It crosses all ethnic, religious and economic boundaries. We know up to 80% of aboriginal women have been victims of family violence in their lifetimes. In 2014, 17 per cent of the women who came to the YW Sheriff King Home crisis shelter were of aboriginal background and 31% were from a visible minority background.

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How many employees work at the YWCA Calgary? How many volunteers?

There are currently more than 300 employees working at the YWCA Calgary, and 263 volunteers who contributed over 5,000 hours in 2014.

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What events can I attend to support the YWCA Calgary?

YW holds three signature fundraising events each year. These include: YW KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS®, YW WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES®, and YWHISPER Fundraising Gala.

Also, many individuals, corporations and organizations have partnered with YW as a charity of choice and hold special events in support of our facilities and programs. If you know of a group of people or an organization interested in participating or if you are participating at events which have not picked a charity, please contact YW Resource Development at donor_relations@ywcacalgary.ca for more information.

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Does YWCA Calgary only serve women? Why?

No. Our primary focus is women. We do believe that in order for women to thrive, her family must thrive as well. As a result, we also provide programs and services to children and men. We do not provide housing for men, but we do provide counselling and language and employment training for them.

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