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The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) presents a session examining what success means when working with vulnerable populations.
Helping Vulnerable People Recover – What does success look like?
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019
Time: Doors open 11:30 a.m., Presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 p.m., Q&A 1 – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Royal Canadian Legion (north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr S Lethbridge
Cost: $14 buffet lunch with dessert/coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required
Many people think that successful work with poverty-stricken street people and people living with drug & alcohol addiction/mental health issues will result in a “normal” life for them. That is, however, largely a myth. It’s also true people generally assume that successful work with and help for the impoverished and homeless should be measured by how close clients get to society’s “norm”. This involves some combination of money, a house, a job, a family, and living a stereotypically happy and “normal” life as a result of that help.
The speaker will argue that at Streets Alive, success is measured in different ways. For some, 24 hours of sobriety is a success. For others, having a meal and appropriate clothing so they can survive another day is a success. What might seem like a small success to most people is often a huge success for them. And even a small success for our clients is a huge success for us. Every step is celebrated and encouraged.
The work at Streets Alive does aid some clients to be able to get on their feet, get out on their own, and live what one might call a “normal” life. The process of getting them to that point is a series of small steps and every day successes. Some clients will never make it to society’s “normal”. That doesn’t mean our work with them isn’t successful. That also doesn’t mean these clients are not successful. It just means their successes will look unlike that of others. Success means something different to each of us individually, and everyone’s successes deserve to be applauded, even if those successes do not look like your own.
Speaker: Shawna Pinay
Shawna Pinay will talk about her journey with sobriety. When society says addicts will never change, she is living proof to the contrary. Shawna came from being on the streets for 14 years, doing whatever it took to get drugs and alcohol and all along, Streets Alive worked with her, never giving up. When she was ready to change, they were there, giving her housing and a safe place to call home with a bed to sleep in and ongoing love and support.
Shawna attended the programs they had to offer and started to learn how to live again — sober and clean. She can explain what it was like to live a so-called ”normal” life. Over time and after getting a job, Shawna was able to move out and have her own place, have her own income and get her family back. All the benefits Streets Alive had to offer brought hope back into her life and told her she wasn’t worthless and never going to succeed in anything. Shawna is now the assistant director of the Streets Alive Genesis program where she works with women in need, bringing them into recovery and helping them realize change.
Moderator: Colleen Quintal
For more information on the Southern Alberta Council for Public Affairs, visit the SACPA website.