Newsletter Archive


Michelle was struggling with depression as she was building up the courage to get a divorce. Stuck in an abusive relationship, she felt that she had no control of her life. Even with her husband working out of town Michelle still found herself living with restrictions.


It is unrealistic to think that we can get through life without some sort of emotional pain. As human beings, we all experience challenges that change and form us into the people we are today. Just living in the world presents us with continual risk. It’s when painful memories resurface and cause us continued distress that we need to sit up and pay attention to what’s happening in our lives.


“I never asked for support because I was too ashamed,” says Teresa. “Maybe not really ashamed, but I didn’t want people to judge me. The day I met Sarah, I kind of knew that I was in a good place.”


We all struggle with life’s ups and downs. Usually, you can handle the pitfalls that life throws your way by developing strategies to work through everyday, ordinary worries. However, when things get a little more challenging, many people seek support from a therapist. How do you know that you could benefit from talking to a therapist? Here are some signs that you can look for:


Blake’s story

June 19, 2018

In his 17 years, Blake has been through a lot. The Family Centre and Child and Family Services have supported Blake since he was 3 years old and went to live with his grandmother. After Blake came out as gay, his relationship with his grandmother deteriorated to the point that he was first placed in foster care and later in a group home. The Family Centre and Child and Family Services kept looking for a permanent placement for Blake. Meanwhile, Nick and David were planning to adopt a child. “We had thought about adopting a younger child, but when I saw Blake’s photo and profile on the adoption website, I just got a feeling that he was the one. Nick agreed, so I called the next day to start the process,” David explains.


“No!” he says, with arms crossed, scowling face, and feet planted firmly on the floor. If you’re parenting a strong-willed child, you’ll recognize these signs. Children are born with a number of personality traits and the spirited child is often one of the most difficult personalities to parent. Very often parents end up exhausted, frustrated, and ready to throw in the towel. There are days when parenting seems to be the most difficult job one can undertake.


Talking about addictions is a bit tricky. Most people think immediately of someone who has an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. However, there is a large body of evidence to indicate that these aren’t the only addictions that people struggle with. Often referred to as “soft” addiction, the release of dopamine in the pleasure centres of the brain is often created through continued repetition of behavior or thinking. Many of us fall into this category, and we aren’t even aware of the consequences of our addiction. Or, for the most part, we live in complete denial because we don’t fall into the category of what people usually think of as an addiction.


So often, people recognize that betrayal leads to mistrust. Rarely, however, do they consider how mistrust can also set the stage for betrayal. The two issues can (but don’t have to) create a vicious downward spiral leading to the end of a relationship. When we tell ourselves that we can’t rely on our partners, that they don’t understand our wants and needs, and maybe that they don’t even care to, we are primed to start noticing how green and lush the grass looks on the other side of the fence.


Our in-home family support program, Roots and Wings, was created in 1995 as a response to a growing need that Edmonton caregivers had identified: individualized support with parenting. The type of support that was accessible, and addressed complex issues such as the impacts of poverty, mental health, addictions, adverse childhood effects, and trauma. The Family Centre chose to evaluate Roots and Wings partly due to the length of time the program had been in operation.


How many times have you struggled to help your child to complete their homework? Here are 11 tips that can help with homework.


Robyn knew she needed a change because she wasn’t able to cope anymore. She was depressed and felt helpless and out of control of her life. She was constantly in a heightened state, had difficulty sleeping, and was unhappy and anxious.


You can alleviate many future challenges by talking about some critical key issues before deciding to make a long-term commitment.


When Julie Zelinski, principal at Lorelei School, learned that several Syrian refugees would soon attend the school, she contacted us. Julie was familiar with the success coach role at The Family Centre, but she didn’t need just any coach – she needed a success coach fluent in Arabic to support and connect with these students.


Brittany’s Story

January 15, 2018

Brittany, 21, recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Alberta and started her career as a registered nurse. When she was in junior high, she received supports from The Family Centre.


According to the experts, there are 4 specific steps that individuals work through before they actually are ready to attempt a significant change in their lives. It isn’t enough to just have a thought pop into your head at the end of December, such as “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by the end of January.” Setting goals and making a significant change in your life is a bit more complex.


Alone for the holidays

December 20, 2017

Holidays can be a lonely time for some. If you end up by yourself, there are a lot of creative ways to overcome the feeling of isolation.


For many who have recently lost a loved one, holiday season can be an especially difficult time of year. Holidays and special occasions often work by magnifying and intensifying the grief response, especially when the loss has been recent.


Our free drop-in counselling program is expanding again! Counselling is now available on Mondays at the Highlands Edmonton Public Library Branch from 1 to 4 PM and at the Penny McKee – Abbottsfield EPL Branch from 5 to 8 PM.


Elaine’s story

December 1, 2017

Elaine has been seeing a mental health therapist at The Family Centre for five months, but coming in for the first appointment was not easy for her. “I sat in the parking lot for 40 minutes and did some soul searching before I decided to come in. I thought surely I could figure this out on my own. I am a professional; I am a strong minded individual,” Elaine remembers.


Susanne’s Story

November 20, 2017

Susanne moved to Alberta two and a half years ago in search of a better life. “I was really struggling with life itself, not knowing why—I was just having a hard time doing day-to-day functions,” says Susanne. “I couldn’t get help at home in New Brunswick; there just aren’t the resources.”


Being a good parent does not mean that you should always shelter your child and fix things for them. In fact, letting your child face consequences can be a great way to guide their behaviour.


Did you know that stressful or traumatic experiences in your childhood can cause toxic stress and lead to a variety of negative outcomes, including chronic disease and adult homelessness?


It’s time for another client success story – this time for our interpretation services.


Here are some tips that might alleviate some fears for your child as they begin the transition into a new school year.


Dylan’s Story

August 23, 2017

Before coming to live in our Caspian reunification home in January 2016, Dylan lived at home and struggled with his mental health and issues around being transgender.


 Talk to any busy mom or dad, and you know that raising a family can be a challenging undertaking. We usually develop our family structure based on how we were raised. It’s often referred to as our “normal” and the only thing we know. These behaviors may or may not contribute to creating a healthy and loving family.


Trevor’s story

July 25, 2017

Vince and Leona had last seen their grandson Trevor when he was 12 years old and visiting them in Ontario during a summer break. After that visit, Vince and Leona had tried to keep in touch with their grandson in Edmonton through Skype. Each time they were told Trevor wasn’t...


When you are trying to encourage and teach good behaviours for your child, it’s better to focus on the positives. The more loved and understood your child feels, the easier it is to manage their behaviour. Here are 8 practical tips:


Martina’s Story

June 21, 2017

In the fall of 2016, Martina, a mother of two, was not in a good place. "My son was incarcerated, and it was very hard for me. I became depressed and closed off. The principal at my daughter’s school noticed that I wasn’t doing well and asked if I’d like...


We sent the following letter to the Child Intervention Panel on behalf of the eight Edmonton community Collaborative Service Delivery (CSD) lead agencies and Edmonton Area Child and Family Services. May 30, 2017 On behalf of the eight Edmonton community Collaborative Service Delivery (CSD) lead agencies and Edmonton Area Child and Family...


 Stress is a part of our everyday life. We can experience "good" stress (such as getting married or beginning a new job) or "bad" stress, such as losing a beloved pet.  Human beings are designed to respond and react to stress as a survival strategy. Our bodies naturally respond to stress...


By Karin Hitchcock, B. Ed., M. C. Community-Based Mental Health Therapist Are you and your partner arguing more? Do you feel unappreciated for the things you do in the relationship? Are you constantly feeling like you need to defend yourself? Do you both withdraw and refuse to talk? You’re not alone. Many...


Although bullying affects the majority of Canadian children, it is not a normal part of growing up. If you notice bullying, you must get involved and teach children how to connect with people in healthy ways. What should you do if you suspect or know that your child is being bullied? Talk...


Healthy Relationships

April 20, 2017

Relationships, whether they be with friends, family, co-workers or romantic partners, are an important part of leading a healthy and fulfilling life. Some relationships help bring out the best in you, while others may leave you feeling hurt, angry, or insecure. Healthy Relationships is a group for women experiencing challenges in...


Blended families are more common than ever as people with children connect with new partners after divorce or separation. Blended families will likely face more challenges—whether it’s complicated schedules, sibling conflicts, parenting styles, or issues with ex-partners. One of the biggest challenges that blended families face is the issue of...


How do you know that you could benefit from talking to a therapist? Here are some signs that you can look for:


How to improve early childhood development for a poverty-free future in Edmonton? That was the challenge at BarnRaise, a conference that brings together community organizations, design facilitators, and participants to collaborate and create viable solutions to social problems. Our team’s specific challenge was to develop a prototype for young mothers to...


Kudos to our success coach Matt Wiebe, who won an Edmonton Public Schools’ district recognition award along with the mental health collaborative team at Lillian Osborne high school. “Thanks to the Mental Health Collaborative team, the dialogue around mental health has shifted and our students and staff speak with renewed empathy...


Children & chores

March 1, 2017

Why have children do chores? Helping around the house provides children an opportunity to master skills they will need all their lives. They will learn skills such as setting a table, organizing a room, and preparing meals. All the basic skills of daily living can be learned by helping out at...


We all have misunderstandings and communication blunders with our partners, no matter how happy the relationship is. Here are six tips for improving communications and your relationship with your partner. 1. Schedule time with each other Set aside a certain amount of time each week to spend together and have this...


An encouraged child has the courage to try, to learn from mistakes, and be comfortable with others and themselves. This sense of hope and confidence will be with the child as they approach life and its frustrations. Misbehaviour is decreased because the child is motivated to contribute and has a...


We were thrilled to learn that a family that we have been supporting won the ‘Kinship Family of the Year’ award for Child and Family Services Region 6 (Edmonton). The family includes Dorothy and her grandchildren, siblings Lisa and Jordan. Dorothy has been Jordan’s caregiver since he was 8 months...


The Alberta government is settling a class-action lawsuit involving people who were formerly in the provincial child intervention system. Under the terms of the settlement, people who were previously under government guardianship, subject to a permanent ward ship order or permanent guardianship order by Alberta Child Welfare between July 1,1966...


While many people look forward to the holiday season, there are many who dread it—whether it be because of a recent loss, family problems, or feelings of isolation. With the holidays around the corner, here are some tips on how to keep your mental health in check. 1. STRESS: Know your...


The Family Centre is part of Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (NET), along with the City of Edmonton Community Services, Edmonton Police Service, and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. This week our Andrew Pahl will be co-presenting with Sergeant Graham Blackburn from EPS and Kris Andreychuk from the City...


Tannis, our success coach at an Edmonton school, and Sarah, our youth liaison, noticed that more and more students were hungry. A survey confirmed those suspicions: 20% of students said they were coming to school hungry all or most of the time. As they understood how hard it is to learn...


Back-to-school season can be stressful and hectic—key parts of your child’s day such as eating a nutritious lunch can be easy to overlook. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips to help your transition to the new school year be as smooth as possible!Tip #1: Practice post-grocery proactive-ness. Mornings can...


The Family Centre had the wonderful opportunity to work with 780Film—an Edmonton-based, student-run film project that aims to provide local non-profit organizations with high-quality, creative videos. The U of A students, Jordan and Kennedy, provided us with this great video promoting our parenting workshops. ...


The Way In

July 26, 2016

The Way In Program is an innovative partnership between Edmonton Public Schools, Alberta Health Services: Mental Health & Addictions, B&GBigs, Kids Up Front and The Family Centre which supports teens and their families to create brighter futures. This program works with teens and families to build on their strengths, deal...


Circle of Support

July 26, 2016

United Way, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Region 6 Child and Family Services, The Community Foundation, Edmonton Public Schools, B&GBigs, E4C and The Family Centre have come together to support students, caregivers and communities to ensure long term success for all students. The Circle Of Support is one arm...


The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) is a multi-disciplinary initiative that connects early brain and biological development and children’s mental health with addiction research, prevention, and treatment. The AFWI seeks to translate current research into sound policy and practice on behalf of Alberta families. For more information please click here....


As The Family Centre is a United Way member agency, our employees experience the positive impact that United Way has in our community firsthand. Each year we run a United Way workplace campaign. This year’s theme was “You Make a World of Difference”, which reflects the incredible work we all do...


On behalf of The Family Centre’s Board of Directors, we welcome our 9th CEO Pauline Smale to her new position. The Board has given careful consideration to the strategic leadership required to innovate and deliver outcome based services, as well as progressively manage the dynamics of a non-profit organization and...


2016 Annual Report

July 26, 2016

The Family Centre prides itself on being a place where innovation can flourish. We have worked tirelessly over the past year to continue to actualize our mission: to foster healthy families in healthy communities. Posted here is our annual report outlining some of what The Family Centre has been working...


Click here for our LGBTQ youth resource guide.


Annual Report 2014/2015...


Click here for our 2016 workshop and service brochures.


Click here to see/download our Drop-In Single Session counselling information brochure.


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