A Celebration of Life Event at Liliana’s Boutique

In the spirit of giving and the Celebration of Life of women, men and children, LILIANA’S BOUTIQUE is accepting your donations of your clean, unwanted coats and jackets in supportof BISSELL CENTRE.  In return for your generosity to provide warmth to the homeless and those less fortunate, Liliana’s Boutique will reward you with $50 towards your new coat or fall fashion wardrobe purchase over $300.  In addition, Michel Germain Perfumes will contribute samples of the Canadian fragrance “Séxūal for Men” for every man’s coat donated.
Your contributions of warmth will be accepted from NOVEMBER 1 – 10, 2012 at Liliana’s Boutique ~ 12302 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton
For more information, contact  lilianas@shaw.ca or 780-448-0714.

What’s on My Mind Lately

Mark Holmgren, CEO
Sometimes people give up. They lose hope. They feel they won’t ever get out of the problems they face.  Sometimes people give up on other people. They get frustrated. They feel like they have tried so many times to help someone without any success.  Why should I keep trying, we ask ourselves, when the other person isn’t doing all that much, if anything, to help themselves.

I have talked to people who think at some point society should just give up on the homeless and the addicted and spend limited resources on other things like children and youth.  I understand such sentiment. I also believe in focusing on children and prevention; in fact I agree we are not doing enough of that work in general, and to be honest I would like to see Bissell Centre provide more support to children and families than we have in the past.

But here’s my problem. I don’t know what that “point” is when society might say, sorry you have had your chance and you are still homeless or a drug addict; so no more help for you.

Frankly I don’t believe human beings should say that to other human beings, but even if we did, how would society go about determining who gets cut off and then what would being cut off from any help look like?

Would we just accept people dying in the street, inflicting violence on one another, suffering through unbearable winters without a home? Would we refuse them food, health care, another chance?

At Bissell Centre, we have seen many people turn around their lives after years and years of addiction

and living on the street. We have seen ex-cons overcome their past and build productive futures.  We have seen bad parents become good parents. We have seen the chronically unemployed find and keep good jobs.  What we do not know is how long it will take to help someone help themselves create a better life.

Some need regular invitations to join a program; others are forced to seek help due to a crime they committed; and some just change their own lives over time because of experiencing caring people.

I knew one man who woke up after 40 years of alcohol abuse and just quit drinking – for good. I asked him why. He said he didn’t really know how to explain it, but he figured it was time to change. Then he just said thanks for being nice to him, for being there when he needed help.

Coming up with a system of writing people off might have some economic rationale, though I am hard pressed to think there are cost savings in such an approach. But from a human perspective, how can one human being determine the criteria for banishing another human being from hope and from help? Who among us has the wisdom and the moral calling to serve as such a judge?

I think about these things because people in the community sometimes talk about such things with me. With rare exception these kinds of questions are asked by caring people, people struggling with how to address huge, complex social problems with limited resources. I get it.

At Bissell Centre, we can’t help everyone, but we can do our best to try to help those who ask us for help, for those who walk through our doors throughout the week, and for those we come across in our work throughout the community.

We may not be able to help everybody, but I can tell you this. We don’t give up on people.  We don’t give up on people even when they have given up on themselves.

This is not what we do because of some decree from our board of directors or from me as CEO. Rather it is what I observe each and every day from Bissell Centre staff. They don’t give up on our community members. It’s a part of our history and a part of our culture. It’s a fundamental element of our organization’s DNA.

We don’t give up on people. That’s just how it is at Bissell Centre.

____
reprinted from the CEO's Report to Stakeholders (October 2012)

17th Annual Inner City Halloween Party

On Wednesday, October 31, 2012  We are having an inner-city Halloween Party with face painting, games, food, costumes, contests, goodie bags and so much more!! This is an opportunity for kids and their families living in the inner city to attend a safe, healthy and fun Halloween event, an opportunity many otherwise would not have. All children up to 12 years old are welcome with their families.
Hours: 5:30pm – 7:30pm    |    Location: Bissell Centre East, 10527 96 Street

Want to volunteer for this event?  Please contact Amanda Almeida at aalmeida@bissellcentre.org or 780.423.2285 ext. 134.

Want to donate toward this event?  Candy, small prizes, costumes, & more needed. Please contact Barb Nickel at bnickel@bissellcentre.org or 780.423.2285 ext. 159.

The Ease of Monthly Giving

Now that summer has come and gone it is easy to forget about others and think about the stress of back-to-school and vacation debt.  For many people charitable giving is an important part of their life, however they seem to fall into the trap of “getting too busy”.  A great way to ensure you reach your charitable giving goals is to make monthly donations, instead of waiting until the year-end and giving one lump sum.
Giving this way has multiple benefits for a donor like you as well as Bissell Centre. 

Here are five reasons to give monthly donations:

1. It helps charities to budget.  Imagine you are creating your own budget: would it be easier to have a monthly salary, or simply hope for a bonus in December?
2. It is financially easier for most of us to part with $25 or $50 every month than give a lump sum of $300 or $600 at one time.
3. If you don’t give monthly, it’s easy to forget to do it completely.
4. Avoid paying the tax man just a little bit more!
5. You can easily set up automatic payments. Once you do this, you don’t need to fit it into your schedule or remember to do it.

To set up monthly donations with Bissell Centre visit www.bissellcentre.org/donate and fill out the monthly donation form; or call 780-423-2285 ext 123 and speak to Joshua Marshall.