Arpana Gajjar, Home-Start Coordinator (West)
731- 13 Avenue N.E Calgary, AB T2E 1C8
Tel: +1 403 660 1136
Adriana Bicanic, Home-Start Coordinator (East)
Tel: +1 403 660 6809
The story of our development
Home-Start Calgary was started in 2003 by a woman with a vision - Dee Monroe. Dee had been a Home-Start volunteer in Quebec (an eastern Canadian province) so when her husband was transferred to Alberta (one of the western provinces), Dee brought her love of the Home-Start program with her. She approached the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary with her vision to start a Home-Start program in Calgary. With the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary’s support, Dee worked diligently to create a board to assist her with the work of developing the second Home-Start program in Canada.
Home-Start Calgary celebrated its 14th Anniversary in May 2017. At the first volunteer training, Dee had 11 volunteers. Now the program has grown to include two programme coordinators for Calgary and Home-Start Calgary has two schemes (West & East) with a total of 15-20 active volunteers. On average, we are able to provide a volunteer to around 20 families at any given time, but the number of families we support is often much higher as our coordinators support the families who are placed on a wait-list through community resources and referrals.
Calgary has a population of approximately one million people and Home-Start provides support to families and volunteers in every area.
Many of the families referred to us are experiencing postpartum depression, have had multiple births, are new immigrants to Canada, or are isolated and/or stressed for a variety of reasons. Our skilled volunteers meet with families on a weekly basis to offer friendship, support, and connection with the larger community.
Hopes for the future
Our plan is to be able to start a third scheme in Calgary to serve the many families who could benefit from Home-Start. This will depend on funding opportunities.
Quote and a letter from families
“The Home-Start Program was such a blessing to our family. Not only did we receive the help we needed to provide the basic needs for our premature triplets & 2 year old; we also developed a new friendship with our volunteer Darlene. Over the past year, she helped us in so many ways. From cuddling, feeding, laundry, washing bottles, meal preparation & appointments; to providing me (the mom) with a little “me” time once in awhile, every minute she gave us was so precious and very much appreciated. Thank you again to Darlene & the Homestart Program for helping us to give our kids the best first year possible.” – Mark & Lori Nielsen