We are all Students

Students are studying hard this April, as they move into the final phase of the school year. We empathize with those facing a spring flurry of exams, projects and graduation plans - all while pondering: So what's next?

Whatever that 'next' is, we know that while school ends, learning continues: We are all students in this life.

CFS strives to keep learning at our core, from piloting new programs and analyzing ongoing services, to supporting continuous education and training for staff. Embracing life-long learning helps us grow as an organization, as people, and as a community. Thank you for learning alongside of us, particularly the lessons of the last year.

This spring, we wish you all success in your studies - at school, in the school of life - or both!

Byron Chan and Jessica Cope Williams, Co-CEOs
MJ, Never Too Late GED Grad, Takes on Tutoring
Story Submitted by MJ (edited for formatting)

MJ joined the Bowness Never Too Late (NTL) program, to earn her GED (General Education Development), in September 2019. She felt anxious about returning to school, but after being convinced by a friend who had also joined the program, she felt it was worth taking the risk.

Before MJ joined this program, she had gotten clean and straightened her life out, becoming a personal trainer. Read MJ's story

About Never Too Late (NTL): NTL is a program that provides no-cost academic, social and emotional support to adult learners to complete their GED (General Education Development or high school equivalency). Learn more here.
17 Young Adults Find Financial Literacy through
Youth Fair Gains Program
Submitted by Rachael Flett, Financial Empowerment Coach, Louise Dean Centre, CFS
Calgary now has 17 more financially literate young adults, all of whom recently graduated from the Youth Fair Gains program. The program supports young parents in building financial literacy skills and is run by Catholic Family Service at Louise Dean Centre.
This year, CFS partnered with The Alex so the matched savings program could be offered to young parents from both organizations. Thank you TD Canada Trust, United Way Calgary and Area, and Momentum for your support of this program.
Of the 17 graduates, 16 have received an attendance bonus of $100 for missing two or fewer classes! Learn more about high school for teen moms and programs for young parents at Louise Dean Centre here.
Youth Fair Gains Story: Isabella on Successful Saving
I definitely see a change with budgeting since joining Youth Fair Gains. I no longer tend to impulse buy; I think about the reason I’m making a purchase before I buy something.

I’m feeling a lot less stressed because I actually follow my budget so at the end of the month I’m not struggling with not having enough money - I have money left over at the end of the month!

I tried saving in the past but it didn’t work out. I’m now following my budget instead of just writing it out and this is the first time I’ve saved consistently! I use the ‘stop, look and listen’ card and it helps me to not overspend.

I’m feeling so much better now that I’m a bit more financially stable. I had a goal at the end of this program – to purchase assets for my son and I, and I’ve accomplished that!

Isabella has purchased the following assets for herself and baby: a car seat, a toddler bed and mattress, and she has opened a TFSA for emergencies.
Did you know? Fast Fact: Pre-COVID, 1 in 5 Albertans Struggled with Mental Health or Addictions
Pre-COVID, 20% of Albertans struggled with mental health. During the pandemic, the need for mental health care surged, while access to supports declined.

To help, CFS expanded Rapid Access Counselling, for Calgarians, into Rural Rapid Access Counselling, for all Albertans, through the Government of Alberta Mental Health and Addiction COVID-19 Community Funding grant.

Rural Rapid Access Counselling launched in August 2020, allowing Albertans to book virtual counselling sessions. The goal was to provide 200 appointments by July 2021. As of March, more than 200 appointments had been booked by Albertans in more than 30 communities.

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Visits CFS to Discuss Program
In March, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Jason Luan, visited CFS to discuss Rural Rapid Access Counselling with Rural Family Engagement and Resource Coordinator, Shannon Kanda, and Co-CEOs Jessica Cope Williams and Byron Chan. Learn more about Rural Rapid Access Counselling.
Attention CFS Volunteers: Meet Loana Valdez,
Community Relations Coordinator
CFS has a new Community Relations Coordinator. Loana's many responsibilities include fundraising support and volunteer coordination.

Looking for volunteer opportunities?

Got a group of colleagues who want to engage meaningfully while giving back to the community?

I'm Loana Valdez. As the CFS Community Relations Coordinator, I collaborate with you and find creative opportunities for you, your friends and loved ones to walk alongside the families we serve. Together, we can create a shared journey that builds strong families.

Volunteer Call:
Currently, I am recruiting for an Admin volunteer: Download the PDF to learn more.
Donate Your Bottles, Help Build Strong Families!

Have you got a pile of cans and bottles in your garage?

Try Skip the Depot.

Skip the Depot picks up your bags of refundable recycling. You then donate the refund to the Unlocking Potential (UP) Foundation (unlockingpotential on Skip the Depot). UP is the fundraising arm of Catholic Family Service!

You save time, while helping to build strong families!
Catholic Family Service and Unlocking Potential (UP) Foundation | www.cfs-ab.org