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Continuing to build strong communities in Alberta, Canada

December 10, 2020

These three Alberta based organizations have been helping those in need within our communities for over 35 years

Some of our biggest non-profit partners in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta are making a big impact within our communities. It’s rewarding to know that our support of these businesses is helping them strive to make a difference in people’s lives. Boyle Street Community Services, Youth Empowerment & Support Services, and Youth HQ are just three organizations we support that have been helping those in need during the pandemic.

What it Really Means to be a Good Neighbour – Boyle Street Community Services

Our Edmonton, Alberta office’s recent move into the heart of ICE District created opportunities to build stronger partnerships with non-profit organizations and nurture a community that everyone can call home. While we’ve been working with Boyle Street Community Services since 2008, often partnering up during Stantec in the Community Week, sharing the downtown core ignited a spark in our relationship.

In the past year, Stantec offered in-kind donations, organizing a sock drive during the winter months. In addition to offering warm clothing to those in need, Stantec Edmonton has made numerous cash donations amounting to $2,300 in total donated since the beginning of January 2020. When Stantec granted Boyle Street with $1,000 once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they set up inner-city recreational programs that provide low-barrier and cost-free weekly community development activities.

Our partnership with Boyle Street Community Services has been flourishing on many levels. In addition to various corporate supports, many Stantec Edmonton employees have been rallying behind the charity’s mission of helping vulnerable populations who face barriers to inclusion by volunteering monthly to serve lunch to their clients and reaching out asking for opportunities to sponsor meals.

The organization runs 40 programs at nine locations around the Edmonton area and serves everyone from children to adults and seniors. People experiencing homelessness, poverty, mental health issues can come here to gain the support they need. With the goal of building stronger and more inclusive communities, the Boyle Street Community Centre tackles many crippling issues, such as social isolation, food insecurity, mental health, and substance use.

Thriving communities are built in neighborhoods where businesses, community organizations, and residential developments have one another’s backs.

Stantec and YESS Build the Foundation for Strong Communities

When many public places reduced hours and shrunk services in response to the global pandemic, Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS) stepped up to the challenge of keeping their doors open for those in need of shelter.

Along with offering immediate shelter, YESS provides meals, professional training, addiction relief services, and employment opportunities to help youth overcome trauma and heal. Through the organization’s three primary programs—Nexus Overnight Shelter, Armoury Resource Centre, and two supportive housing facilities—young Edmontonians experiencing homelessness can meet their immediate needs and access resources that help them plan for the future.  

Stantec’s partnership with YESS dates back to 2014. Most recently, our support included two grants geared towards enhancing immediate help and long-term support needs of the charity. YESS has been able to start their own trauma care program due to the grant we supported them with last year. Trauma is often at the root of homelessness and one of the many challenges the youth face.

The trauma care program centres around building relationships and trust that help the youth grow and thrive in their community. Since the program launched last year, YESS hosted 90 individual and group therapy sessions that brought the number of crisis and 911 calls significantly down.

In 2020, Stantec’s support went towards equipping and maintaining the charity’s overnight shelter, Nexus. While offering immediate help, Nexus also serves as the gateway to long-term support and wellbeing services. As the youth in need get immediate help at the facility, they learn about programs that can make a lasting impact and help pave the way out of a crisis.

With support from businesses and the community, YESS can create a healing environment and affect change targeting a vast age group. YESS prides itself on providing inclusive safe spaces for the youth of all genders and backgrounds. 

Stantec Edmonton employees volunteering with YESS.

Stantec Helps Youth HQ Forge New Trails for Students in Red Deer

A hub for diverse youth-focused programming and services, Youth HQ is an umbrella organization that oversees Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club, creating opportunities for growth and relationships.

As 80 percent of children Youth HQ works with come from economically disadvantaged families, their goal is to make their programs and services accessible to all children, regardless of the financial barriers they may face. Removing these roadblocks and reaching more families have been driving the organization’s efforts since day one, and more recently, during the global pandemic.

The employees and volunteers at Youth HQ have developed online engagement activities, small group programs, and delivered activity kits to family homes. As the demand for barrier-free support and services has soared, so has the number of adult mentors eager to make a difference. Youth HQ’s 2020 goal was to recruit 75 new mentors for the families participating in their programs, but roughly 325 have signed up. Mentoring is at the core of Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as Boys and Girls Club programs.

With Stantec’s most recent grant, Youth HQ can host programs for students between 7 and 12 years old when classes are over. To engage children and offer them a welcoming, safe, and inclusive learning environment, Youth HQ runs community-based afterschool programs across Red Deer and surrounding communities. The North Hill Club just outside of Normandeau School in north Red Deer is one of them. Club staff and volunteers help students with their homework and create opportunities to learn about healthy snacks, play games, and socialize.

The club’s work doesn’t end there: when younger kids go home, older youth drop in at various locations and participate in a variety of activities such as dodgeball, floor hockey, leadership programs, and small group clubs.

Stantec has been advocating for Youth HQ since 2013 through fundraising events, employee initiatives, and annual Stantec in the Community events. Throughout the years, some of our employees became seasoned mentors and committed donors all while building lasting relationships with students.

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