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CONFIDENTIAL CHAT

Image: Carol Oliver at the 2008 Distress Centre picnic. With the retirement of Barb Litchinsky, Carol Oliver assumed the role of Executive Director in May 2008. She had previous leadership experience at both The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter and United Way. Three board members who all served as her Chair recall her service: From Ron Prokosch: “One of...

Image: The Distress Centre Board with Executive Director Barb Litchinsky at the 2004 volunteer banquet. A 30-year review of Distress Centre by consultants Deep Blue included examining the role of the Board of Directors. Generally, the board was reported to be cohesive and well functioning, professional, and diverse in gender but not ethnicity. [caption id="attachment_20647" align="alignleft" width="333"]...

Image: Teen Line volunteer Christmas party in 2000. In 2005 the Distress Centre’s youth program was named one of the best youth volunteer programs in the city by Volunteer Calgary's Youth Council. Nevertheless, with the many advances in technology that came mid-decade, the teen lines needed an upgrade. In cooperation with Calgary Urban Vibe, a website...

Image: Volunteers in the Contact Centre in 2006. For many years, Distress Centre volunteer and staff training included presentations by members of what was then known as the GLBTT community. Calls about various aspects of human sexuality and relationships were a staple of both volunteer training role plays and actual calls. It was not until June...

Image: 211 staff in 2006. Many people who call Distress Centre are looking for information to solve immediate problems. Social issues often require assistance from multiple organizations, who unlike Distress Centre, may not be open 24/7. In 2003, Barb Litchinsky began talking about a solution to this issue through a partnership with Distress Centre and the...

Image: Counsellors at a team building event in 2000. Counsellors in the first half of the 2000s continued providing face-to- face meetings, referrals, volunteer training and volunteer supervision, practicum student guidance, as well as the administration of the Instrumental Needs Fund for families in financial crisis. Addressing changing needs Blair Collins, Counsellor responsible for the Drug Line, recalls: [caption...

Barb Litchinsky, the new Executive Director in 1996, brought her own strengths to the organization. Suzanne Rosebrugh, a staff member who held many roles, speaks to the leadership shift: “Barb had such a can-do attitude. If she saw an opportunity that would fit and make sense, she would get the information, make sure it was a...

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