Community Engagement

SAVE THE DATE! THE 2019 AGM WILL TAKE PLACE ON TUESDAY APRIL 30, 7-9PM

Our annual general meeting takes place once a year in April. All residents of Hillhurst Sunnyside are encouraged and invited to attend. Come spend the evening with us and learn what the HSCA Board of Directors and our various committees are up to. Members must have their current year membership purchased and paid for 30 days prior to the scheduled AGM in order to run and or vote for board positions during the meeting. 

Renew your membership to vote

To be eligible for voting in the AGM residents must renew membership 30 days prior to the scheduled AGM.

Renewals may be done online: https://central.ivrnet.com/hsca/membership_plans Or in person at the HSCA front office from Monday-Friday 9:30am-3:30pm.

HSCA Board of Directors Voting and Nominations

Resident participation in the Board of Directors voting and nomination process is highly encouraged. Our Board of Directors at HSCA has an active involvement with numerous programs, events and activities in the facility and the community. The Board also operates critical task forces and committees. Hillhurst Sunnyside residents with valid HSCA membership are encouraged also to run for Board positions. We are a diverse group of motivated professionals working on interesting and engaging projects for a forward-looking community association.

Board meetings are held monthly – If you are interested in finding out more about joining the Board or nominating someone for the Board you may contact our Executive Director, Kate Stenson 403-283-0554 ext 221, email: kate.s@hsca.ca

Community Service Award Nominations

Do you know someone, or are you someone making a difference in Hillhurst Sunnyside?

Please email: jessica.c@hsca.ca with the candidate’s name and a brief explanation as to why the nominee is an outstanding member of our community. Please include the contact information for yourself and the nominee. Nominees may be resident or non-resident, member or non-member provided their community service experience had positive impact in the neighbourhood of Hillhurst Sunnyside.

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Thank you for supporting HSCA! We look forward to connecting with you at the AGM

How Can Your Community Association Support You?

March is Community Association Awareness Month. This means that the HSCA and other Calgary CAs (there are over 150 in YYC) want you to know about all of the amazing opportunities to give back to your community association—and there are many ways; from volunteer positions, to donations, to membership, to attending events—but we would also like to take this opportunity to make you aware of the ways HSCA can give back to you.

Resident-Led Initiatives (in our spaces)

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association is known for both our Farmers’ Market and Flea Market, but did you know that these programs were initially started, led or developed by residents in the community?

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And our drop-in Badminton group and art class program were also ideas that first developed outside of our regular programming. Chair yoga is another example. These arts and recreations ideas came from instructors who wanted to find a foothold for their businesses or share their gifts with the community and found such success in collaboration and a fit with our mission and values that we adopted them into our program offerings.

They all share a common thread of passionate volunteers and participants who pitched ideas for programs they wanted to see in the building, and they helped nurture and grow those in our spaces for the benefit of the community.

            The Kensington Community First Garden, located beside the HSCA building, established in 2010, was also a project developed and implemented by residents with some facilitation from HSCA to secure grants and funding, as well as some ongoing stewardship of the garden plots when it was adopted into our Community Food Program.

Resident-Led Initiatives (outside of our spaces)

Community gardens are also a good example of resident-led initiatives.

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The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden, established in 1989, was founded by residents who wanted to provide a place for those with limited space to grow their own food and to meet neighbours who shared their passion.

            And HSCA’s Vitalization Committee worked with the City of Calgary to develop placemaking and public art installation opportunities in the community such as Bow to Bluff and containR.

Community Planning

The Community Planning Committee is another example of what HSCA can give back to residents. The committee is volunteer driven and plays a valuable role in providing advice, background information and community context, as well as expressing the concerns of the Community Association to the City of Calgary and to applicants, and advocating for development that fulfills the vision as described in the Area Redevelopment Plan.

            HSCA’s Community Planning Coordinator, Lisa, has also taken on Community Engagement initiatives into her role and is available to assist with questions and applications for community grants to throw events such as block parties, or Neighbour Day events.  

Outreach and Resources

During and after the 2013 flood in Calgary, mobilization of support efforts on a community level were implemented the quickest. Residents who were flood affected were not necessarily willing to speak to government officials but would open the door to speak to their neighbours.

Eventually, a Flood Task Force was created to assist with the overwhelming amount of information. This task force then evolved into the Emergency Planning and Response Committee of the HSCA board. Volunteers of the committee use their knowledge and expertise, in a similar way to Community Planning Committee volunteers, to advocate for residents, host open houses and informational sessions and push for progress. They also developed a Community Emergency Plan to help keep Hillhurst Sunnyside residents informed and safe.

The Community Connections program at HSCA assists residents either through direct support or by sharing information on available resources externally. Community Connections outreach programs include the Fresh Food Basket, and yearly Tax clinics, and also provides free and accessible opportunities for all residents to participate in social events or programs such as Drop-In ESL Club, Neighbour Night, Seniors Drop in groups (cards or knitting), and Community Potlucks.

Volunteer and Career Experience

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Community associations and the community at large benefit greatly from the hard work and skills of volunteers, but there are also opportunities for volunteers to learn and develop new skills and knowledge through volunteering. And for student volunteers we can sometimes provide support through bursaries.

            HSCA also hires practicum students and summer students to assist with their education programs and they in turn are provided with meaningful employment that can be applied to their school requirements.

Stories and Belonging

Some of the most compelling stories originate at the community level. Last year, Christie Page and the Garage Door Art Project in Sunnyside gained traction and attention in the news after receiving mention on HSCA channels. And who would have predicted that Painting Birdhouses, a project initiated by North Hill Centre to revitalize the Hearth Room would have gained that kind of steam? But it speaks to the strength of our local partnerships that we could reach out to Framed on Fifth for support on this and they came through in a big way.

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            Sense of Belonging is generated through these types of initiatives (and many of the above mentioned) as like-minded residents come together to share and explore their passions in the community. HSCA is honoured to provide these opportunities as we know that belonging is a human need, such as food or shelter, and is important for residents to see value in life and cope with intensely painful emotions.

Of course, all of the above are just a fraction of the ways that HSCA can give back to you. As the community of Hillhurst Sunnyside grows and changes the needs of our residents will too, and so these programs and committees may change. But what will not change are the core reasons for why we are interested in supporting our residents, that we wish to preserve and enhance a healthy and vibrant quality of life for Hillhurst Sunnyside and that includes providing opportunities for participation to build a sense of belonging.

#howwillYOUbeapartofit

  • Written by Jessica Clark, HSCA Communications Manager

Volunteer to be Part of the Bigger Picture

Written by Allison Harrison

Photo taken at our 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Photo taken at our 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Volunteer opportunities can be limitless, they can also be fun exciting ways to get involved with something you feel extremely passionate about. What is volunteering? It is the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of the society and the community, the environment or individuals outside one’s immediate family. It is undertaken freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain.

Benefits of volunteering:

·       help you connect with others

·       energize your body and mind

·       advance your career by obtaining new skills

·       fun and fulfilling.

Connections with others is big in today’s society, networking is one of the greatest ways to advance yourself in life, whether it be to benefit your career or your social life. The skills you gain from volunteering can benefit your career path. Not everyone is able to commit to school on a full or part time basis, but the casual opportunity volunteering can provide can help build a skill you may not have or help in further development with ones you already have.  Seniors benefit as much from volunteering as an anyone else, keeping a commitment can help ward off depression, and give a sense of belonging that may be missing from their daily lives. Children benefit from volunteering as well, it helps foster empathy and a sense of self efficacy, both characteristics that if learned at a young age can boost emotional and cognitive learning.

So how do you pick the right volunteer opportunity for you? Choose a cause you are passionate about. Not only does it benefit you with fulfillment, but the organization also benefits from your enthusiasm and drive. Choose an opportunity that matches your interests, skills, and schedule. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone either, that is where true skill building comes into play. Upload your resume on volunteer sites to help those looking for volunteers understand your skills and interests while giving them a general idea of who you are. Stay in touch with those who you have given a resume to, volunteering is no different that applying for a job and those who stay on top of places you have contacted will not go unnoticed.

The experience you get from volunteering is up to you.

Basic principles to keep in mind are:

·       honour your volunteer commitments

·       the time you committed to them is important and necessary and was already planned for

·       stay professional, volunteering is often an assigned role and an opportunity that should be treated the same as a paid position

·       take the opportunity to let the organization know what you like about the role and what you feel could be improved upon when asked

·       you are an important part in helping many organizations and not for profit stay in the game

Here at Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, we have an extensive and varied selection of opportunities, which can be found by visiting: www.HSCA.ca. You can participate in a range of activities or event such as, food programs, Casinos, recreational programs (such as soccer), Board of Directors positions, committees, supporting seniors and more. For all of the above reasons and more we hope you will consider lending your time and skills to Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association and your neighbours, plus, HSCA hosts a pretty amazing volunteer appreciation dinner you can get an invite to in recognition of your support.

 

Sources Cited:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm/

https://volunteer.ca/index.php?MenuItemID=342

https://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/developing-empathy-in-children-and-youth.pdf

https://www.volunteermatch.org/volunteers/gettingstarted/

Building Community Participation Through Art

Take a stroll in the community along 5th Avenue and you’ll see a unique housing development taking shape in Hillhurst Sunnyside.  But it’s not a new condo.

Local area artists have created over 90 new homes and many are on display now at Framed on Fifth, or can be viewed in the Hearth Room at HSCA.

They’re birdhouses!

As part of the North Hill Centre Hello Neighbour campaign and in collaboration with Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, Patricia Gustafson and Hannah White from Framed on Fifth took the idea of birdhouses as art installations to exciting new heights.

“While speaking with Karen at HSCA, she told us you had been given the birdhouses by North Hill Mall, they were donated and you were selling them to people and they would decorate them. [And we went, well] we have all these artists friends why don’t we take the project to our artist friends and family and the community, to as many people as we can to paint these things. We’ll give them the birdhouses and they will paint them and they’ll bring them back and we can silent auction them,” says Patricia.

            Hannah says, “We opened it up to everybody. It was in the newsletters for a couple of months. So our youngest artist is 4. It’s a community event. It’s not just artists in Calgary. We made it ‘artists’ and meant anybody who can put a paintbrush in their hand.”

            At least 70 artists have contributed to the project, and everyone who sees the houses gets very excited. Hannah and Patricia talk about the reception from the community. “It’s blown up way more than we ever expected,” says Patricia. “It’s become more work than we ever thought, but it’s so fun.”

            “What I love,” Hannah chirps in, “are kids walking home from school and everyday they’ll all stop, and as a big pod they’re all like ‘blebleblebleblebleble’.” She makes a noise like a flock of tweeting birds.

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            When asked what their favourite birdhouses and names are, Hannah and Patricia move around Framed on Fifth to showcase each. “Invasion of the Birdy Snatchers.” says Patricia, “Wordy Birdy.”

 

     “I love Octavia.” Hannah says. “I like her name. Oh, the tin roof one! Under the hot tin roof!”

             So why do they think birdhouses have been such a success? “It’s a small thing they can contribute to be part of the community,” says Patricia.

            “I would say that there’s a feeling of coziness and a feeling of home and maybe that’s what people are doing,” says Hannah. “It’s almost like cocooning.”

            The catalyst for this project was a partnership with North Hill Centre and that was the exact intention behind the idea to use birdhouses. Paula Lee from North Hill says, “The reason we chose birdhouses is because we wanted to start a dialogue around the Hearth Room, and the centre of a home, and we couldn’t build a house, so we decided that birdhouses were a kind of metaphor to what the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association does. You have programs for the community, for seniors, for kids. So it was just a way to give people a fun project that was around this idea of home. And the Hearth Room being the centre of this project.”

            Money raised from this project will go toward revitalizing the HSCA Hearth Room, which hosts our Community Connections programs, such as Fresh Food Basket, Neighbour Night and Community Potluck. All of these programs are HSCA run and designed to foster connections and a sense of belonging. They are open for participation by all residents. The Hearth Room is also home to our Art Class program and Indoor Farmers’ Market both of which offer capacity and skill building opportunities. 

            When Framed on Fifth is asked why a project like this is a good fit for Hillhurst Sunnyside and HSCA Patricia says, “Because people care here. They walk, they see things, they do things at the community centre. You’ve opened up the community centre to homeless people again. Because you’ve opened it up, you’ve made it accessible and when you make something accessible people want to play. They do. Personally I have no idea where this is going to go, but we’re up for pretty much anything. We’d be more than thrilled to help you do whatever group things where we can play. I don’t know where it’s going to go. This is just the beginning. This has been so much fun.”

            “We want to play,” says Hannah.

            Paula says, “The collaboration with Framed on Fifth is exactly what we want to be happening. We are neighbours. And we should all be doing something that benefits each other whatever it is, you know, especially in Calgary. I just think it’s what we do in Calgary. So they see an opportunity and they help people and we see an opportunity and we help people and you see an opportunity and you help people. It’s really kind of a great story. “

            Silent Auction bidding is open now and you can visit HSCA or Framed on Fifth to view the birdhouses in person and get a jump on the auction. All of the birdhouses will also be available during a special Farmers’ Market on Wednesday December 5, from 3-7 P.M. before bidding closes. But Patricia also mentioned that they’d like to pick 10 of their favourites for a live auction on the December 5th date. There will also be a prize awarded to the artists who win Fan Favourite and Best of Show courtesy of MLA Dr. David Swann’s local arts fund.

To view the full collection online please visit: http://framedonfifth.com/birdhouse/ and we hope you can join us on Wednesday, December 5.

Article written by Jessica Clark