For our latest featured local charitable organization we spoke with the folks at McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association about the work they do in our province.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association of Calgary & Area is a responsive and innovative organization making a difference in the lives of over 2,600 vulnerable children, youth and families annually. We offer over 20 programs and services that meet the changing needs of our clients and community. As a fundamental practice across all McMan’s services, we work with individuals to help them maintain and grow relationships that can extend beyond our professional support- life-long connections that can help people sustain, and build on, their strengths and new skills.
What problem does it aim to solve?
McMan Calgary & Area supports children, youth and families with complex needs that can include mental health issues, addiction, homelessness, poverty, and disability by providing them with the services and supports they need to thrive. We aim to increase connection and belonging, well-being and development, and safety for clients in order for them to reach their full potential.
When did you start/join it?
McMan began as a group home in 1975 in the inner city of Edmonton. McMan began services in Calgary & Area in 1979 and has since flourished into a multi-regional body that serves all of Alberta. Each branch operates independently and offers services to meet the unique needs of their local communities.
What made you want to get involved?
I began working with McMan over three years ago in foster care as a family recruiter. I grew passionate about the work the agency does and moved into the role as fund developer for the agency. I believe in the work that McMan does and see the difference that our programs and services make in the lives of our clients. I think we can all relate to having some sort of struggle in our lives and needing extra help and while we may not all be needing formal services we can appreciate support, however it is given. It’s a great feeling knowing that the work I am doing is directly helping Calgarians.
What was the situation like when you started?
When I started at McMan there was a need to diversify revenue through fund development to be more responsive to emergent client needs, build stronger relationships with key community stakeholders, and increase the prominence/ knowledge of the organization in the community.
How has it changed since?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing a rise of mental well-being concerns. These are uncertain times and we are all experiencing more stress than usual. We’re not only seeing a rise in mental health concerns within our clients but are seeing more studies coming out around the decline of mental well-being for most. A big factor of this decline is increased social isolation which is even harder for vulnerable populations. This pandemic has changed the way the world works and as a social service agency that is committed to providing relevant services we had to not only adapt our service delivery, but have also adapted some of our programming to meet the changing needs of Calgarians.
What more needs to be done?
A simple thing that everyone can do is show empathy and compassion. The past year has challenged us all and I believe has taught us the importance listening and understanding the struggles that an individual may be facing, to withhold our judgement. Humans are social creatures and we thrive when we are connected- we need our people, we need community, and we need one another in order to be healthy individuals, families, and a society as a whole. On top of that, I believe education and public awareness can help break the stigma around social services and vulnerable populations being served. At the end of the day, our community and city is stronger when all citizens are thriving.
How can our readers help?
There are several ways to help McMan Calgary & Area! Visit McManCalgary.ca/give to see our areas of need!
Donations are always needed as they help supplement our programs and services with additional resources.
McMan will work with you to help ensure your fundraising event is properly equipped with information on McMan. We will work with you to help you with your fundraising ideas
Spreading awareness on the issues we tackle as well as the services we offer could help someone in need access support.
Do you have any events coming up?
McMan will be having our annual Fall luncheon October 22, 2021 with guest speaker Cory Richards. To learn more about this event sign up for our mailing list by visiting mcmancalgary.ca
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
The Children’s Cottage Crisis Nursery is an amazing resource for parents that are experiencing stress in their lives.