Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Non-Profit Sector

I work in a Women's Emergency Shelter. I have for the last 6 years. I love my job, and it is fulfilling in many respects. However, it comes with many challenges. I have become very cynical about the systems in place to help vulnerable and needy people. I am cynical and frustrated with the Legal system, which cannot be called the Justice System in my opinion. And most of all I am frustrated that our government does not see fit to properly fund core positions within the Shelter sector.

I am also afraid....afraid of the future of Shelters in the Province of Alberta. Workers in the Non Profit sector make much less than those who work for government. Not a big surprise. But here's a twist. We receive our core funding from the Ministry of Children's Services on a contract basis. They are not our Employer. However, in order to receive the core funding shelters have to fulfill a list of 'jobs'. And, this 'list' is getting longer, taking time away from our clients, but with no increased funding to provide more staff to help complete these jobs. It is getting more and more difficult to manage, especially in the rural shelters. Many shelters in larger centers receive funding and donations from large corporations. As they are larger shelters they have much more staff. They have Crisis workers, maintenance workers, people who clean, people who cook, admin staff, and data entry staff. In a small shelter all that work is done by the Crisis Workers.

To add a little insult to injury, there is a myth that those who work in the Non Profit sector are compensated for their work by the satisfaction they get from working to help people. However, such satisfaction doesn't pay bills, and makes me wonder why the two ideas - satisfaction and adequate pay - can't co-exist!

This may sound like whining, which isn't my intent. My intent is to raise awareness of the state of our Social Programming in the Province of Alberta. To raise awareness of how this will effect the vulnerable population.

This is just a little scratch on the surface of what it is like working in a Non Profit Women's Emergency Shelter. I have an electronic copy of a well written Fact vs Myth brochure on the subject. I will see if I can link it to this blog. However, if you are interested in reading it, leave me a comment with an email address and I would be happy to send it to you.

Also, check out this site:
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters is a group that advocates for shelters in Alberta, who provide training for shelter workers, who support the shelters in so many ways.  If you want to know how to help Shelters, or how to make your voice heard, ACWS is the site to check out. If you are in a different province, different country, or different continent, call your local Women's Emergency Shelter to see how you can help them out.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Thrift Shopping

Aahhhhh, thrift stores.
 A mecca of treasures just waiting for me to snoop!
I haven't been thrift shopping for a while, and today I had the opportunity to go to one nearby. With all the searching online for things bohemian, I was primed to look for some fun stuff
Take a look at my new treasures!

Especially exciting is this handpainted piece. Not sure of the material, very thin. Gorgeous!!

Cool celtic design cloth hanging decoration

Some glass trinkets for fun!

There you have my finds of the day from the thrift store.
Here are some 'finds' online - pictures I love!

This lovely couch was refurbished by
Jane Hall of Toronto 

Check out her fabulous designs!

And here is some detail I just liked!

On another note, I am following a couple more blogs.
Check them out!

And on yet another note, going back two posts, I am adding #4 to the list of things that helped me in my time of need.
4) Shopping is theraputic! A note of caution, it is wise to know the limit of what you can spend, and don't go beyond it. I love to thrift shop, which enables me to buy more for less! There is a method here! So if you can afford to, enjoy some shopping. Whether it is a new candle, gorgeous earrings, nail polish, a scarf, or bubble bath, it can soothe the soul.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Let me tell you about my journey

So, I called my blog a journey. Today I want to share some of that with you.
Preamble....Monday I had a great visit with my good friend Meme whom I hadn't seen in quite a while.  As we were catching up on each other's lives I did a trip down memory lane over the last three years or so. That is when events took place in my life that changed so much, so quickly and irrevocably. At the time it was devastating and painful, and there are still some remnants of pain here and there. But in retrospect I want to share some things I learned.

1) Take the time to heal. Though our wounds may not be physical, we still need to take time to allow ourselves to heal

2) Allow yourself......Often we get busy, caught up taking care of other people, etc, and we don't allow ourselves what it is we need, whether that is to take some time away, extra sleep, time to weep, time with good friends or time alone. You are worth it! Allow yourself.

3) Protect yourself. We have all spoken to well intentioned people who have said or done something very insensitive. When you are raw and vulnerable, protect yourself from those people. Keep close those you trust. You have the right to protect your body and mind and spirit.

At this moment, I just have to say a huge thank you to all the beautiful, trustworthy friends in my life who also kept guard over me! I love you deeply!

I'd love to hear about your journey! Do you have tips you want to share?

On a different note, I bought 3 cans of mistinted paint! I can't wait!