Q4 2020 Update from our Executive Director, Jerilyn Dressler
Hello everyone, and Happy New Year. I hope you had some time over the holidays to rest and recover from the challenges we faced in 2020. We will be faced with many more challenges in the months ahead.
January 26 marked the one-year anniversary of Distress Centre’s first documented COVID-19 related contact. Distress Centre staff and volunteers faced 2020 with a determination and strength I wouldn’t have imagined possible. Despite all of the challenges we faced as a global community, Distress Centre responders continued to answer calls for help 24 hours a day.
Our responders spoke with people who were struggling with the same things they themselves were faced with. They remained focused on helping others and also on helping themselves by building a plan and creating time and space for their own self-care. They supported their team members and managed to build stronger connections with one another, while staying apart. I’m very proud of all this team has accomplished, and I’m even prouder that they were able to continue building a community of care, inside and outside of our agency, in the face of a global pandemic. As a community, we must continue to rely on one another to ensure that there is help for people who need it.
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Every team at Distress Centre has reason to be proud as they look back on 2020. Here are just a few examples:
- The Counselling team remained calm and relied on each other to troubleshoot technology issues as they held sessions virtually by phone and later video, and continue to do so to this day
- The DC team at SORCe adapted their operations so they could continue the important work of supporting clients on-site
- The Crisis team moved volunteer training online, transitioned to a virtual contact centre and managed changes to processes and policies, all while supporting Calgarians in distress
- The 211 team made “pivot” their middle name and adapted throughout the year to manage the increase in demand for 211 services, while forming and transitioning to new partnerships. The Community Resource Database team temporarily moved to working shifts to cover seven days a week, to ensure the 211 database was up-to-date in the first months of the pandemic when services were rapidly changing
- The Admin team provided admin and reception support virtually and organized our virtual holiday party
- The Fund Development and Communications team found innovative ways to fundraise to support Distress Centre’s programs, and also managed increased media attention throughout the year
There is hope for the year ahead. We have learned so much from dealing with this pandemic over the past year. We will plan for 2021, knowing that a global pandemic is not the only thing that shaped 2020. We will strive to be better, stronger, more diverse, and more inclusive in 2021 and beyond. Thank you.