Charitable Choices chats with those who work in the charity and nonprofit sector to find out more about their organizations, why they work in the field, and how our readers can help. This week we spoke to Joy Bowen-Eyre, CEO of The Alex.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The Alex is a hub for our most vulnerable neighbours. We work with Calgarians of all ages with complex needs, often the result of issues such as poverty, trauma, homelessness, or addiction. At The Alex, whole health is the goal – and you can’t be healthy if you are hungry, isolated, in chronic pain, or experiencing mental health struggles. That’s why our teams provide wraparound supports to move people from poverty to stability and from crisis to wellness.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Oftentimes it is challenging for people to navigate health, housing, and food systems. Sometimes getting help means re-telling stories of trauma, completing cumbersome paperwork, travelling to multiple agencies for different kinds of help, and enduring long waitlists. When you’re struggling just to survive each day, that help quickly becomes out of reach, and ultimately those people fall through the cracks. As soon as someone walks through The Alex doors, our team of health clinicians, social workers, case managers, and navigators provide a “wraparound” approach to ensure our most vulnerable community members get the individualized help they need all in one place.
When did you start/join it?
I started as the CEO in January of 2019.
What made you want to get involved?
I was drawn to work at the Alex because of the integrated and intentional way in which we work alongside folks. I love how at the Alex we embrace all, we treat people with dignity and respect. We offer integrative care using a wraparound model. We meet people where they are at.
What was the situation like when you started?
The Alex had grown rapidly in the previous 10 years responding to the needs of Calgarians. We had added housing programs and a Community Food Centre in addition to our work as a Community Health Centre.
How has it changed since?
During the pandemic we were able to highlight the benefit of inclusive and wraparound care in our work with those folks who have no fixed address and have tested posted for COVID-19 in our work at the Assisted Self Isolation Site. 😊 We have articulated who we are, we have defined what we do, and how we make a difference in the lives of vulnerable Calgarians. We have taken the time to engage with staff, clients, board and our stakeholders to create our identity.
What more needs to be done?
The need for people to have no barrier access to excellent primary care health services still exists in Calgary, we are working to close the gap.
How can our readers help?
Join or community! Visit our website, sign up for our email list, follow us on social media, and participate in our events. We can’t do this work alone and your support makes it that much easier for us to continue our work and expand our services.
Do you have any events coming up?
We just wrapped up our holiday campaign and a number of fundraising events. As we’re ramping up for the new year, all our upcoming events can be found on our website at thealex.ca/events
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome Calgary charity that you love?
The Drop-in Centre!