My name is Amandeep and I am one of the Family Support Workers at Closer to Home’s West Central Community Resource Centre (WCCRC). I work directly with children and families living in southwest Calgary who are facing various challenges and help them by providing support to meet their basic needs including baby supplies, and assisting with employment, parenting support, or referrals to other community resources.
Many families who come to West Central are initially nervous about what to expect out of our meeting. Sometimes their children are curious about our space, or they may feel unsure about using the toys and books in the Kids’ Corner. That’s when I invite them into what I call our ‘living room’, where parents can sit comfortably on oversized chairs without the barrier of a desk or computer station between us and their children can play safely nearby.
We are fortunate to have this space to welcome people immediately upon entering West Central. In this home-like setting, we hope to learn more about families and their unique situations. We say, “You are welcome here. This is your community. This place belongs to all of us. You are brave to ask for help.” But mostly, we listen.
As a family support worker at Closer to Home, I work to make the strength and resilience of families noticeable to themselves and the people around them. I want these qualities to illuminate the very space we sit together in and shine through in the quality of their interactions with family and friends.
Over time, trust begins to unfold and positive changes take root. A mom who used to worry about rent has asked for a budget sheet. A dad is willing to try new parenting skills. A grandma brings cupcakes to share on her granddaughter’s birthday so they won’t have to celebrate alone.
I recently met with a mom in the community. I could see her confidence shine as she talked about her family. We remembered our first meeting in the ‘living room’. We smiled and reminisced about our conversations on those large chairs. “Today I’m thankful,” she says. And I am too.
Thanks to the services available at Closer to Home, families like hers are empowered with the skills to take on life’s challenges.