This post was written by Thunder Shanti Narooz Van Ergten, Office Manager at the Women’s Centre.
Since we moved into our new location in 2014, the Women’s Centre has experienced incredible growth. More women are coming through our doors for basic needs assistance, peer support, community connections, and to work on issues that are important to them. There are also more opportunities to get involved with new or expanded programming, such as Girls Leadership Programs, monthly Environmental Issues discussions, quarterly Artist in Residence performances and workshops, and the new women’s leadership program, Women Lead YYC. In fact, the overall growth we have seen in our contacts from 2014 to 2017 is 52%, or from 65,927 to 100,281.
The reason that we can quantify this increase is through our statistics collection and analyzation, “stats,” for short! For example, the number quoted above is for our “contacts,” which means the number of women who have called, come to, or emailed the Centre. We also track another separate number for individuals who have used the Centre, which was more than 9,000 in 2017. Due to our work within a unique Community Capacity Building Peer Model (CCBPM), we also ensure that we collect these numbers without formal intakes and without keeping files on women who use our programs and services.
Statistics are important for many reasons, as they help us report to our community the impact we have had. Internally, they also help us to identify which programs are in demand, and which ones may need additional resources. For example, we noticed that our Legal Advice Program was in high demand, so we increased the breadth of that program. In doing so, the women that were able to talk to a lawyer increased from 173 in 2014, to 384 in 2017, an increase of 122%! This highlights the importance of meeting women where they are at, and ensuring that we provide resources and information that are helpful for them, which are also two of our outcomes.
Everyday, we see our community interacting, growing and thriving. It is exciting to know that we can also back up what we experience with numbers. While this is only part of the story, it contributes to the overall picture of the Women’s Centre. So when you hear us say we responded to over 87,000 contacts in 2017, now you know what we mean, and you know we measured this through our stats, just another way to understand our growing and thriving Women’s Centre community.