Letter from the Executive Director:
When Crystal Kids began its work in 1992, who would have been able to even imagine the lives we would have changed in its 22 years of existence. I am continually amazed that 22 years later, we are still a well-kept secret in Edmonton.
Crystal Kids is definitely under marketed because it takes all of our resources to keep our doors open and to feed and nurture our kids. Donations matter a great deal to us because we are competing in the charitable sector. Unlike some other very well-known, larger local charities, Crystal Kids finds it difficult to do just that…compete…considering we don’t have a marketing line on our budget to run commercials, newspaper ads, or billboard campaigns. But the really good news is that where we may lack in financial resources, we offer something of much greater value…rich and rewarding connections with caring mentors and much needed services to a large number of really great kids. Kids who just need someone to believe in them; someone to value them. In a world where vulnerable kids are increasingly devalued, Crystal Kids is their champion. Our kids trust us because our approach is nurturing and relationship based, because we maintain a safe and non-threatening environment and because for several hours each day, we satisfy the basic human needs of shelter from the elements, food in their bellies, and a never ending supply of caring mentors eager to share that human connection.
That’s what they see and feel when they are at Crystal Kids. The clinical description of what we do includes the words “intentional work”, “strength-based”, “harm-reduction”, and “capacity building”. But I tell you in layman’s terms it’s all about the connections. It’s all about relationships and interactions between these youth and our caring mentors. We have a culture of family here at Crystal Kids and often spend more hours with our kids than they spend with their own families.
We also reach out to another vulnerable population, our neighborhood Senior citizens. They too are living in poverty and often are isolated and marginalized. We have a weekly breakfast and social program on Wednesdays specifically for them. This is part of our outreach program along with our weekly community outreach on Wednesday evenings and our food bank program on Fridays where we deliver hampers to 50 families per week. Please come and discover for yourself who we are! Get involved! Volunteer! Step out of your comfort zone and walk through our doors. Yeah it’s not the greatest neighborhood. But that’s why we exist. We are in the heart of the inner-city for a reason. This is where the need is greatest! Come and look into the eyes of our children. Come and let them take you by the hand and capture your heart. Come and fall in love with these precious gifts. Come and share your time and talent. If kids aren’t where your passion lies, come and spend some time on a Wednesday morning visiting with our beloved seniors. Let them share their life’s wisdom with you. Shake their fragile hand and offer them some respect for their decades of amazing accomplishments. Let our kids and seniors know they matter! Extend yourself to those who need you most! If you would like to discuss volunteer opportunities, or donations to help keep our doors open, please do not hesitate to contact me at 780-479-5283 ext 222.
To watch a short youtube video all about us, click here: http://youtu.be/PoJPcgkL2jk