Monthly Archives: July 2014

4 Reasons to Volunteer 5 Hours

There are 168 hours in one week. How do you spend those hours?

Let’s imagine you’re the average Canadian. You spend 56 hours asleep. That leaves 112. You spend 30 of your 112 waking hours watching TV. That leaves 82. Next, there’s about a 50% chance you volunteer. If you’re part of that 50%, then you probably volunteer about 3 hours a week.

Here are 4 reasons to take 5 of those TV-watching hours and turn them into volunteer hours. I’m Claire, an avid fan of volunteering. I just happen to volunteer here at DECSA.

Why is volunteering way better than watching TV?

  1. You meet people and make connections: Volunteering is a great way to get to know people. One summer I volunteered in a camp kitchen. The next summer they hired me as their kitchen assistant. The next summer they gave me a great reference for another job. I also made three good friends at that camp, and they’re still my friends today.
  1. You build new skills and learn new things: You can learn a lot in volunteer positions. You can even choose a skill you want to develop and find a volunteer position that helps you practice it. I wanted experience in writing, so I’m volunteering in social media at DECSA. I’ve learned a lot about online communication, media relations, non-profit organizations, and employment in Edmonton. I can take my new knowledge and experiences into future jobs and use it to help out friends and family.
  1. You beef up your resume: Volunteering, especially if it’s related to the job you’re applying for or if you’re short on work experience, looks really good on your resume. Employers notice that you have experience and that you’re contributing to society. I’ll definitely put DECSA on my resume.
  1. You help other people: You have a chance to help others while doing things you’re passionate about. Maybe you love art or music or math or English. Maybe you care about people with disabilities or mental health conditions or addictions. Edmonton has volunteering opportunities in all of these areas. I connect with people’s need to find work, and I’m thrilled to be part of an organization that supports Edmontonians in their search for employment.
Claire working away at her DECSA desk

Claire working hard at her DECSA desk

Convinced that volunteering is worth your while? Check out Volunteer Edmonton to find out about opportunities around town.

You can also volunteer with DECSA by providing admin support. Duties include reception, taking calls, building resumes for walk-in clients, and helping clients use the computers in the Community Hub. If you might be interested in volunteering with us, call us at 780-474-2500 or email us at We’d love your company!

The Guardians of DECSA

In many cultures, buildings have animal protectors. In China, stone lions are placed outside of banks and other important buildings because they represent strength and protection in Buddhism. Some Hindus believe that dogs protect the doors of heaven and hell. In many Aboriginal traditions, hawks are respected and honoured as guardians. The intricate and complex anatomy of hawks’ eyes gives them exceptional vision. Because of their remarkable sight, hawks recognize both opportunities and dangers from a long way off. Some Aboriginals believe that hawks’ sight and guardianship extend into the spiritual realm, where they act as visionaries and protectors against evil.

DECSA shares its home with two hawks! We’ve seen them around the neighbourhood since 2012, and they love perching on our building and flying around our property.

Beth, a staff member and an avid bird photographer, snaps shots of the hawks whenever she can. “I think the hawks are keeping an eye of protection on us and our building,” she says. “The first time a saw a hawk around DECSA, it was attacking a crows’ nest, and the crows were attacking the hawk. They were making all kinds of noise. Since that time, on several occasions, I’ve seen midair fights between the hawk and the crows.”

The hawks have definitely claimed this territory as their own, and we are honoured by the presence of such majestic animals on our grounds. During DECSA’s Aboriginal Youth Culture Graduation Ceremony on May 1st, staff members saw the hawks flying directly overtop of our building. Their presence was fitting for the occasion, and appreciated by those who noticed it.

Next time you come by DECSA, keep your eye out for our two grand guardians. They’ll probably be keeping an eye out for you.


Don’t get your baby pickled!

One of the best parts about summertime in Edmonton are all the fun, outdoor events that take place. K-Days started today at Northlands, kicking off with their annual downtown parade. Several DECSA staff members were able to join in on the fun, by marching with Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network Society, to educate the public on the dangers of drinking while pregnant. Everyone sported a bright yellow t-shirt with the message: “Don’t get your baby pickled!”, while blowing bubbles at the crowd.

Breakfast Success!

Pancake Breakfast, Behind the Scenes!

Take a look at our exclusive behind the scenes snaps of DECSA staff and volunteers working hard to make this day a success! Stay tuned for next week’s full photo coverage of the event.

Pancakes, firefighters, and more!

Pancake Breakfast 2014 084

Yesterday, local firefighters and community members had a blast at the free pancake breakfast hosted by DECSA, a non-profit charitable organization. DECSA staff and volunteers served 456 hungry people from 7:30 to 10:30 am.

“What an excellent event! The best part was the whipping cream and strawberries on top of the pancakes. The sausages were great too,” said one guest.

Local firefighters and their truck were a huge success. “The kids really enjoyed having a tour of the fire truck. It was great teaching them about it and about the fire department. The breakfast was awesome,” – Edmonton firefighter.

“The inside of the truck was so cool!” said one boy.

“Today was the perfect day for a breakfast. The sun was out, the food was great, and the kids obviously had a blast.”

Children and adults alike enjoyed the craft table, dress-up photo station, jumpy castle and games. DECSA staff and City of Edmonton volunteers also painted children’s faces. “We painted all kinds of characters – cats, dogs, tigers, lions, and bears. The kids were really excited when they saw themselves.”

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day for our 8th annual pancake breakfast,” said Deborah, CEO. “I feel honoured to be part of an organization that embraces the community as a whole. This was an excellent opportunity to connect with our neighbours, local businesses, foster community partnerships, and build new ones.”

DECSA team members were overjoyed to provide good food and great fun to Edmontonians today!

DECSA, a non-profit charitable organization located just off of Wayne Gretzky Drive and 118 Avenue, has been providing employment training and services for all Albertans with barriers, including persons with disabilities. Many face multiple barriers to employment. Our programs and services are designed to equip clients with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to plan a career and obtain and maintain a job. We work closely with employers to ensure that our clients are appropriately matched and trained as well as to provide information and on-site supports that contribute to their success.


Free Pancake Breakfast at DECSA this Wednesday

Bring your friends and family to DECSA’s front lawn for our 8th Annual Community Pancake Breakfast on Wednesday July 9 from 7:30 to 10:30 am! We’re excited to serve you free pancakes, eggs, sausages, juice, and coffee. Kids can play in a jumpy castle, and join in organized games, and have their faces painted.

Local firefighters will be there with their fire truck. Last year, they joined in the games, flipped pancakes, and even gave kids a tour of their truck.

“This exciting special event is about community inclusion, capacity building, and sharing good food and laughter,” says Deborah Rose, our CEO.

An attendee last year said, “Everyone had a great time! I loved seeing the kids and parents happy!”

Last year’s games leader said, “I had so much fun leading games! The kids absolutely loved the bean bag race, the tug-of-war, and the balloon fairy.”

Join us on Wednesday for coffee, breakfast, and fun with your friends and family.