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Lillian in Assets Finds Work, Home and Hope

Lillian had been homeless for twelve years when she arrived at DECSA exhausted and discouraged. She was facing mental and emotional health challenges, and she was more than ready to find some stability. “I was broken, and I was trying to hide it, but I felt like I wasn’t worth anything,” she says.

Through our Assets for Success program, Lillian started to find her feet again. “Everyone at DECSA believed in me. They kept telling me I deserved something better, and I could get there.” The Assets team worked with her to gain several certificates and credentials that would show employers her credibility and open doors for Lillianconsistent work. She completed training in First Aid/CPR, ProServe, construction safety, Workplace Hazardous Materials, Medical Administration, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills.

Then, with guidance from the Assets team, she found work as a Personal Care Aide in a group home for children, so now she is using her skills and strengths to serve kids who face challenges.

Lillian received the financial aid she needed to rent an apartment, and she has been able to furnish it through donations from one of DECSA’s connections. Now Lillian is settling into her new life.

“I get up in the morning, and I look out my window, and I’m facing a lake! Last year I was homeless. Now I am in awe, and I’ll be grateful forever to DECSA because I’d lost hope in myself and they kept telling me I could get on my feet again. They believed in me, and I feel like they gave me back myself.”

We are so proud of Lillian, who has showed herself to be brave, determined, hard-working, and very capable. Congratulations, Lillian!

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge

For DECSA, giving means bringing positive change to our community. We strive to give every day by supporting individuals with barriers to employment and education.decsadollar - Copy

What does giving mean to you?

If you believe, like we do, that everybody can reach their full potential through acceptance and empowerment, then you might be interested in giving $3 to DECSA.

You might ask the question: what could we possibly do with $3?

The answer: until the end of June, every dollar donated will automatically enter us to win a $10,000 donation from CanadaHelps! 

All you have to do is visit our page on the Great Canadian Giving Challenge website, enter your donation amount, and go from there.

graphicforblogNo matter how much you give, your generosity will help support DECSA clients today and for many days to come.

Visit before June 30 to donate $3 and enter us to win $10,000.

Truly, every donation counts!

Advice from Anne-Marie

Clients from Ventures, an entrepreneurship program for people with disabilities here at DECSA, often attend the free lunchtime business seminars run by Capital !deas, at the Edmonton Journal. During these session, clients get the chance to learn from a panel of fellow business owners who share their advice on small business related topics. Capital !deas also sends out regular emails, posing business related questions to their subscribers, which are then published in the Edmonton Journal. Anne-Marie, Program Manager for Ventures, had her response featured in the latest issue. Here is what she had to say:

How do you manage seasonality in your business?IMG_0098anne-marie

“Planning, strategy and time management according to cycles of the season make for a natural flow to sustainability, longevity and productivity. Start new projects in the spring, get outside and sell your product in the summer, and take stock and reap the rewards of hard work in the autumn. Then rest, regroup and revitalize in the winter.”

Great advice Anne-Marie! To read the rest of the advice offered, click here. To register for Ventures,  you can contact Anne-Marie at 780-471-9655, or by TTY at 780-471-9635.

Nothing Beats Confidence!

We are honoured to have Confidence Coach Shirley Borrelli join us here at DECSA (11515 71 Street) on April 30th at 2pm. Shirley will be presenting on how to increase your chances of getting hired by projecting confidence, even if you don’t feel it! All are welcome to attend.11009082_466971186787882_1958501650160680295_n

Volunteering for Health!

When we talk about reasons for volunteering, we often think about how it nice it can look on a resume, or how rewarding it is to give back to our community. Sure it’s great to volunteer for those reasons, but what about the potential health benefits we can reap? Here are three reasons why volunteering might also be beneficial to your mind and body:

1. It can help with periods of depression

Volunteering provides you with an opportunity to meet new people, strengthen relationships, and create or expand your support network. Individuals who suffer from depaustralian-terrier-164087_1280ression and other mental illnesses, are often at risk of becoming socially isolated. Volunteering gets you out of the house and keeps you in contact with other people, helping you through periods of loneliness by potentially developing a strong support network.

2. It can keep you physically active

Depending on what type of volunteer work you choose to do, you might also be able to give your body a workout while giving back to your community! Try walking dogs at a local shelter, helping out at youth group, or collecting food for your local food bank. Plus, studies show that people who volunteer on a regular basis have a lower mortality rate than those who don’t.

3. It can help reduce stress

According to experts, you are less likely to feel as stressed when you are distracted from your day-to-day problems by focusing your time on someone else. You may also find that the things that have been worrying you were not as big as you thought they were, making you feel a lot less stressed as a result.


Interested in volunteering your time at DECSA? Give us a call at 780-474-2500!

Adventures in Ventures

Listen up! Our Ventures program will once again be running a 5-week Business Development workshop series, starting next week. Ventures serves entrepreneurs with disabilities to gain the skills, support, and tools to move forward with a concept, idea, plan or existing business. We only have a few spaces left, so if you know of anyone who would benefit fromBusiness Plan investing “time in” to an entrepreneurial pursuit, and has a documented disability, please send them our way! There is no charge to participate. The workshops will run from April 13th to May 13th, 2015 and will be held at DECSA, 11515 – 71 Street, Edmonton.

To register, contact Anne-Marie at 780-471-9655. Our TTY is: 780-471-9635

We look forward to helping others grow their business!

The DECSAmobile!

Clients and staff gathered on the front lawn of DECSA on Tuesday to watch the arrival of a generous gift from ATB Financial: a cargo van! The van, which even features DECSA’s logo, was driven up to the front of the building by staff from ATB Financial, and presented to DECSA’s CEO Deborah Rose by Sandra Huculak from ATB.

DECSA will be able to use the van for a variety of purposes, including trips to the Edmonton Food Bank to pick up groceries for clients.

Thank you ATB Financial!


5 Tips on Goal Setting

The clock has struck midnight, the ball has dropped, and a whole new list of New Years resolutions has been made. Whether your dreams for 2015 are big or small, here’s a list of 5 ways to ensure you achieve your goals!

1. Choose an attainable goal

We all have dreams, but some are more realistic than others. If your goal is to become a famous singer in 2015, but you have a terrible voice, you may want to reconsider your goal. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid the music industry altogether, it just means that your goal should suit your ability and talents.

2. Plan the path

The easy part is coming up with a goal; the harder part is actually getting the wheels in motion! To make it more manageable, break your resolution down into smaller goal and develop a strategy on how you will reach each step. If your long term goal is to lose thirty pounds, for example, you could start by planning on losing the weight in five pound segments, which you will achieve by going to the gym three times a week. By setting yourself mini goals along the way, not only will your final one will seems less daunting, you’ll also have a detailed path in place to keep you on track.

3. Establish a timeline

Decide when you want your dream to become a reality, and “check in” along the way. That way you can measure how close to success you are, and whether or not you need to re-evaluate some steps in your plan. You’ll become more motivated by giving yourself a deadline.

4. Create a visual reminder

Sometimes we make goals, and then forget all about them. If your goal is to save enough money for a holiday to Paris, consider keeping a photo of the Eiffel tower in your wallet. That way, every time you go to use your credit card on an impulse buy, the promise of your dream vacation is staring you in the face! You can also write your goal down, or tell a friend to help you stay accountable.

5. Don’t stress!

It’s great to have dreams and aspirations, but try not to obsess over it too much. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day so if you expect a change to happen overnight, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment!



Is a career change in the cards for you this year? DECSA offers a variety of pre-employment programs and services. We also have a Community Resource Centre available for job search. For more information, call 780-474-2500.




Client Christmas Party 2015

On December 17th, we had our annual DECSA Client Christmas Party, and just like other years it was a long but fun-filled day! Normally, we host the party at our building, but this year our Christmas party committee decided to try something a little bit different! We were given the opportunity to hold it at Beverly Alliance Church, where we set up tables and decorated their gymnasium, and did all the cooking downstairs in a much bigger kitchen. This year’s party also had more of a formal feel to it, with a violinist, table hosts (who served the food), and even a little dance at the end.

A big thank you to everyone who came and helped us make many new memories!

We would also like to thank our sponsors: Safeway, Mojo Photo, City of Edmonton Neighbourhood Engagement Strategy, Beverly Alliance Church, Unifor Local 350, Sunlife, Austin Erickson, Tony Caterina, The Edmonton Food Bank, Bellevue Community League, and Holes

Giving Tuesday Recap

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

For those of you who missed it, last Tuesday, December 2nd was Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to supporting charities, non profits, and communities, not only in Canada, but around the globe. Everyone was encouraged to participate in whatever way they could, whether as an individual, an organization, or a large company. In keeping with the spirit of Giving Tuesday, we decided to pick a few organizations, community members, and employers, and surprise them with Tim Horton’s coffee and Timbits. By the end of the day, we had visited five different places that we wished to recognize.

Our first stop was at our local fire station, Station #7. We wanted to say thank you to the fire fighters at this location, as for the past few years they have come to our Annual Community Pancake Breakfast, along with one of their fire trucks. They’ve even been known to flip some pancakes!

The second stop of the day was at Northlands, which is just across the road from us. We wanted to thank them for their continuous support in donating to our Annual Community Pancake Breakfast!

Stop number three was at Sunlife Financial, just off the Whitemud. After getting lost a few times, we finally found the correct office, where we could deliver our treats! We wanted to also acknowledge Sunlife for donating to our Annual Community Pancake Breakfast. Although our main point of contact was not in the office, we did get to leave the treats for the rest of the staff!

The fourth stop on our coffee and Timbits list was at The Canadian Native Friendship Centre. We wanted to thank them for all the good work that they do in the community

Last but not least, we stopped by Sol Thermal, a company which is one of our Star Employers. The workers inside were pretty excited when they saw us walk through the warehouse with coffee and Timbits, and even more pumped when they found out it was for them!

We can’t wait until next year!

To donate to DECSA, click here.