The Women’s Centre is a safe place to drop-in, connect and build community with other women. We believe women need strong social and community connections to thrive in society.
Isolation is a major problem for many women in poverty, new to the city or country, or with health issues. It affects coping skills and makes all other problems harder to deal with.
Social inclusion and the participation of women in society are often considered indicators of healthy families and healthy communities. However, an increasing number of women are at risk of being socially isolated.
The Women’s Centre works within a Community Capacity Building Peer Model for all of our programs and activities – which strives toward improving social inclusion. We offer non-judgmental peer support, Girl Power Summer Camps, Women’s Weekend Camps and free workshops and groups on a wide range of topics.
The Women’s Centre is a peer-based Community Capacity Building Peer Model which revolves around women helping women. We recognize that any woman may need help, or be able to provide it, at different times or in different ways in her life. We work to provide safe opportunities for women to volunteer as they are able to and to encourage marginalized women to participate. We encourage a sense of ownership of the Centre and responsibility and care for each other.
The Women’s Centre is a welcoming, safe, women-only space for women to walk-in, have a coffee or tea and connect with other interesting women. Women do not need to make an appointment to come to the Centre and we do not ask for identification for our programs. We are open to every woman, no matter her situation; any woman, any age, any question. We are open five days and four evenings a week.
Our Services Include:
Lifelong Learning Workshops
In order to stay connected in today’s society we must all learn and grow. However, many women who come to the Centre are unable to take part in community opportunities due to poverty, language, literacy and health issues. The Centre offers free, accessible workshops on a wide range of topics including: basic car care, home repair and maintenance, employment, government benefits and subsidies, computer skills, self-esteem, crafts, dance, stress management, diversity and empowerment issues.
Groups are informal social/educational groups and not therapy groups. The groups currently running are the Community Kitchen and Practice English. The Practice English groups are informal groups with no tests, homework or exams.
Girl Power Camps
In response to the vulnerability of adolescent girls, the Women’s Centre designed and implemented a gender-specific program to address the needs of teenage girls. Camps are offered during the summer months for two age groups: 10-12 year old girls and 13-15 year old girls. Through a variety of experiential learning techniques and fun activities, the girls have the opportunity to explore the impact of gender roles, sexism, racism, violence, stereotypes and other issues in a safe environment.
The Community Kitchen at the Women’s Centre provides adult women with developmental disabilities the opportunity to find meaningful social connections, look forward to scheduled meetings with others, and acquire some basic kitchen skills. The participants prepare, cook and eat a meal together. All of the tasks are shared as much as possible amongst the participants with the support and/or supervision of their support workers if necessary.
Women’s Weekend Camp
When possible, the Women’s Camp is offered in the fall and provides women with an opportunity to grow new skills, connect with other women and travel. On average 20 women, ranging in age from 18 – 84, leave the city to attend Camp Chief Hector. This experience has a profound impact on women living in poverty. For many it is their first holiday, their first time leaving the city, or their first opportunity to test themselves on things like the highrope course or horseback riding.
Women’s Centre takes part in a variety of community events such as International Women’s Day celebration in March. And every year we host our own Stampede Lunch in July. These events provide women with an opportunity to connect with each other and build community. With the help of community partners we provide tickets to events, theatre, movies and the Philharmonic Orchestra. We work with partners such as the Calgary Public Library to ensure that low income women and children have free library cards. We encourage groups to bring their projects to the Women’s Centre. For example the My City Project has sponsored activities such as Sewing Home and Artist Trading Cards at the Centre. We also facilitate participation in broader community events such as the Disability Pride Parade.