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Connections doesn't miss a beat: Supports 109 families in April 2020

May 10, 2020

Connections reached a remarkable milestone in April – 30 years of supporting families in which a parent has a cognitive challenge. Like many non profits, Connections began at a kitchen table responding to a new need. Adults with cognitive challenges were beginning to live independently in the community, choosing to be married and have children, yet were having their children taken away. With just a little bit of support, these parents could parent as well as anyone else. Connections began with a mandate to support these parents’ choice and success, and the agency has stayed true to those same beliefs and values for 30 years.
 
Though Connections has grown to support more than 130 families each year, in April 2020, the Connections team is once more, at their own kitchen tables because of the pandemic. While our group program space has been transformed into a food and supply hamper sorting area, our team continues the core work of helping parents be the best they can be via telephone, texts and video conferencing.
 
Highlights of our supports in April:

  • A parent won full custody of her child in April after building on her parenting skills with Connections, the judge’s decision was aided by testimony from Connections’ team member

  • Hampers were delivered to 40 families providing frozen meat and vegetables donated by Friends Church; other food and supply hamper deliveries and FoodBank access have been provided

  • Over 1,300 interactions have taken place between 18 team members and 109 families

  • From individual phone calls and texting, to groups doing crafts and cooking together via video conferencing, our team and families have stayed connected

  • Financial Coaching has completed 58 tax returns and sorted through all of the benefit programs that impact our families

  • Those 58 returns have netted families $49,000 in tax return refunds, $25,000 GST rebates, $140,000 Canada/Alberta child benefit, $23,000 in Child Disability benefit and $23,000 in Climate Action Incentive. Many of these benefits for which are families are eligible would not have been received without the support of Connections’ Financial Coaching team

  • Co-ordinated the purchase of 100s of litres of hand sanitizer for disability services agencies and supported employee sharing agreements and other collaborations to ensure adults with cognitive challenges in Calgary were supported through the upheaval of the pandemic.

As we all live and work in our new, limited way, Connections has maintained services and now begins to navigate what re-opening will look like. We expect the lengthy school closure to be challenging for our families and for their children’s school success. We know that resuming full services, and any form of group programming, will have significant added costs that may cut into the number of families we’re able to support.  
 
Like everyone else, we’ll make every adjustment necessary and we’ll hold out for the best possible services to the highest number of families we can manage. We can do that because of the commitment and dedication of a talented team and the continued support of the community. And when the time is right, we'll celebrate our 30th Anniversary and the amazing history of Connections.

For more information about Connections and its programs, contact Erin Waite, Agency Director at 403 209-1100 or info@connectionscounselling.ab.ca.
Connections is a registered charity: BN # 890700347RR0001