Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Supporting seniors through City Links

Communications staff with Community Services & Protective Services (CS&PS) spent a day in early August helping a City of Calgary, City Links program crew paint and build a fence for Mrs. Monica Lem, a 20-year resident of Albert Park/Radisson Heights.

At 70, Mrs Lem is as spunky as a teenager, has a lovely home and a beautiful yard. She tends to a small garden and her lawn is immaculate as she picks each and every weed herself by hand.

Although Mrs. Lem’s yard is impeccable, her fence was in disrepair after 20 years of Calgary’s chaotic weather took its toll. Repair, paint and replacement in some areas were desperately needed, and this was work that Mrs Lem was not able to do on her own.

The City Links program, helps low income seniors live safely and securely in their own homes. The program is twofold: it helps seniors with a variety of indoor and outdoor maintenance; and helps trainees who are workers in the program learn new skills to assist them with future employment opportunities.

The program provides eligible seniors with basic yard care, snow removal, house cleaning, interior and exterior painting and minor repairs.

Trainees receive paid work experience, personal counselling, and employment preparation counselling, as well as life management, work and technical skills training.

The CS&PS Communications team was inspired by the amazing service Community and Neighbourhood Services (CNS) provides through the City Links/Volunteer Calgary, Paint the Town initiative and decided to get involved in a similar initiative as a team building exercise.

As the day came to a close and the fence repair, painting and construction was deemed complete, Mrs Lem said she was pleased with the work. As a bonus, the crew also built a special gate for her prized pet, Mimi the cat.

She explained why she selected the Navajo red paint colour for her fence. “It’s not white,” she said “White is boring. Do I look boring?”

The CS& PS Communications team said meeting Mrs. Lem through City Links was a great opportunity and it helped them realize the joy that assisting others can bring.