On any given night, more than 170 women and children sleep in a YW Calgary shelter because there they are safe.
The holidays bring a variety of emotions for the women, children and men accessing services at YW. For some, they are celebrating having a roof over their head and a door to close at night. For others, they feel isolated because they lack connection with their families and for some of the children we support, they worry that Santa won’t find them.
It might seem small, but it’s a question that many of our team members find themselves answering over the holiday season. When a child and their family comes to our crisis shelter over the holiday season, it can be a jarring experience. They have just left high-stress environments and are wading into an unfamiliar building with unfamiliar faces. They’ve had to leave their belongings behind and many come with only the clothes on their back.
Everything they experience is new and different. However, when a child steps through the doors of our YW Sheriff King Home crisis shelter in Inglewood they will find holiday decorations, a giant Christmas tree and most importantly, they will find joy.
Despite the stress that many of us experience over the holidays, none of the stress we experience could ever compare to a woman and her children who leave their home during the holiday season. Some of us complain about how consumeristic the holidays have become and how many dinners we have to go to, but we take for granted that when we go home, we are safe. The women and children supported by YW who are struggling with abuse, poverty or homelessness, face even greater challenges and barriers. Knowing the challenges faced by women and children accessing our supports is why our team works so hard to ensure the holiday experience at YW is full of hope.
But we don’t do it alone, we rely on the support of our community and our donors to ensure we can continue to provide safety and security for the most vulnerable in our city. We believe that the holidays are a time when we should consider the needs of others – and hopefully carry that on throughout the year.
It’s why we need your support this holiday season, your gift enables women and their families to build brighter futures and live safely. You can be a light of hope and help women and children live safely.