The 2014-2015 YWCA Saskatoon Annual Report, “My Family, My Y,” was released today. To view the entire report, visit http://ywcasaskatoon.com/about-the-ywca/financial-reporting/
We see YWCA Saskatoon as a family, and as in any family, we have grown in that time—expanding the breadth and depth of services offered to the Saskatoon community. Many have been part of the YWCA family for only a brief time, but the impact of the supports they received has chartered a new course for their lives. Others (staff and supporters) have been part of this special family for much longer than either of us has. All have influenced the essence of what the YWCA is today and the role we have played in eliminating homeless, violence and poverty in our community.
We dream of a community where many of our services are not needed—but that is not our reality.
While Saskatoon has experienced an economic boom over the past number of years, the benefits of that boom have not been experienced by those that we serve. In fact, women and their families living in poverty are experiencing increased financial challenges and lack of affordable housing.
As a member of the largest women’s serving organization in Canada, YWCA Saskatoon has always been focused on interpersonal violence. With the highest rate of reported interpersonal violence in Canada, it is obvious that our community has much work to do. We see the damage and results of these horrific situations way too often: on women and their children. We must continue to work, to support those exposed to the violence and, in tandem in the broader community, to eliminate violence altogether.
Our service areas are much the same as they were in 2005: fitness, childcare, shelter and housing, and employment and learning. But within each of these areas, the services offered have improved, expanded and adapted to meet the ever-changing community needs. We reflect on some of the lasting impacts these services have achieved:
The impact that sustainable employment has for a family.
Working through our Job Search and Trade Journey programs, we provide clients with the tools, skills and confidence to experience success in the job market.
The peace of mind that parents have knowing their children are safe and happy in our care.
Women cannot fully participate in our economy without knowing that there is a place where their children are safe, cared for and enriched. Because of the commitment of donors, YWCA Saskatoon now regularly offers a music program to our children.
The long-standing relationships that have developed while accessing various physical activities.
For many, particularly older adults and those with physical challenges, YWCA Fitness on 25th is that welcoming place for them to improve their physical health. With the warmest wheelchair accessible pool in Saskatoon, and new and increased adaptable fitness equipment for those in wheelchairs, all are welcome and able to reach their health and fitness goals.
The hope for the future that women experience when they get a fresh start.
Women accessing the supports of YWCA Turning Points live with us for a one-year supported housing program. By giving our residents the time they need to gain the life skills required for independent living, we support them in breaking the cycles of homelessness or addictions that have often been part of their whole adult lives.
These programs are some of our siblings in our YWCA family. There is a strong sense of belonging to this special family and a loyalty to what we stand for and strive towards.
Our supporters belong to an exclusive group of women and men who are making extraordinary change happen. Without this club of supporters, social change would not happen. Make no mistake—through support both large and small, donors have been an important part of the evolution we have seen at YWCA Saskatoon and will continue to have the power to change into the future. They are the backbone that holds us up and moves us forward.
Jocelyn Allard, President, Board of Directors
Barb Macpherson, Executive Director