Dear Doorway Community,
It is with pleasure that I introduce myself to you, the community, as the new interim executive director of the Doorway. I am honoured and humbled to follow in the steps of Marilyn, Leslie and Jennifer who have left an incredible legacy in empowering Calgary youth to make choices to leave the streets.
In the three weeks that I have been with the Doorway I have already witnessed the difference that this organization brings to our community. I am impressed with relationships that the staff and volunteers have built with the participants, creating an environment of safety and empowerment. The participants I have met are not afraid to speak openly about their challenges and sitting down to develop a plan (or plans) to overcome them.
The client-centric or in the Doorway’s case, participant-centric approach taken is not new to me. In preparation for my interview I reflected on my life in serving people from being a produce clerk at Calgary Co-op, designing community spaces that people want to live or work in, supporting SAIT students in finding summer jobs and careers after graduation, creating processes and systems so post-secondary educational institutions could meet the student demands in an on-line world, to breaking down the barriers faced by the SHARP Foundation’s residents living with complex health and social challenges. I recognize that I am privileged to have a career that has allowed me to meet and learn from some of the most amazingly resilient people in the world.
Despite all that our community has accomplished in the past there is still so much work to be done. There are an increasing number of younger people who are struggling to find their place in society; they are overwhelmed by what lies ahead. As a result of the pandemic the Doorway has adapted its programming to better meet the needs of the participants including distance or online supports and outreach. The staff and volunteers who are going into the community to meet youth where they are at are chatting with people slightly older than the Doorway’s traditional participant who would benefit from the unique service that we provide. My goal is to support the staff, volunteers, board and community to meet the challenges and opportunities so that more participants can thrive!
I have met some of you at the casino and in the space but I look forward to meeting you all and sharing the mutual passion we have for walking alongside the young people who need and want what the Doorway has to offer. Please feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office.
Thank you to all for this opportunity!