A birds eye view
This summer I had the opportunity to work with VCC as part of a practicum placement. I was looking to gain experience working with a non-profit. VCC has been working to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty in Calgary. Calgary to me was always a growing city with numerous opportunities. I moved from BC with the notion that I was moving to a prosperous city. When I learned more, I couldn’t fathom such a large group being affected by poverty pre-recession and oil & gas decline.
The past four weeks with VCC have opened by eyes to the numerous issues that are affecting our city. Overhearing a conversation like there should be childcare provided in courts and similar places, studies stating that people on the east of the city are likely to have a shorter lifespan than the west of the city due to poverty? Topics that have not only peaked my interested but are unnerving to hear. As a person that hopes to have a family in a few years and enjoyed living in NE, it has made to rethink my way of living.
Driving through same roads of downtown I have passed by numerous times, today I passed a building with a sign on it that said ‘The Mustard Seed.’ Something that I before I may not have given a second glance, I now recognize and know what it is. Similar to YWCA which is a big building, always came across to me as a government building alike ‘Harry Hays Building’, but it wasn’t till recently that I understood that these are our neighbours sleeping there at night because they have nowhere else to go. These among other organizations came into my periphery due to my work here at VCC. It has led me to actively look for ways that I can assist with their vision.
Being a backbone organization allows VCC the opportunity to collaborate with a lot of organizations around the city who are all essentially focused towards the same goal: reducing and eventually ending poverty in Calgary. Working with VCC has made me notice these organizations a lot more and where they are.
I’ve always dreamed of eventually owning by own business, and when I do I hope to incorporate a living wage for any employee under my care.
As an average Calgarian, it is essential to know what the city is struggling with so that we can make informed decisions whether that be around purchasing goods, voting or participating in daily life around the city. I know that I will be looking at opportunities to volunteer where I can. There is only way to move towards the collective goal of reducing poverty in our city, and that is by each contributing what we can whether it be time, talent, treasure or simply in our small everyday decisions like choosing to support businesses that pay a living wage. Reach out to any organization and find what they do, ask if there is anything that you can do to help. Our city will only benefit from your support. It will allow us to make this city stronger.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.