Crisis Nursery Volunteer Program

The Cause

The work of the Children's Cottage Society is made possible everyday by the work of volunteers, especially at the Crisis Nursery. We are seeking funding to continue and expand our volunteer program.

The Crisis Nursery in Bridgeland provides a safe haven for children whose parents may be dealing with mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, challenges with the law, living in poverty, experiencing violence in the home or living in shelters. The critical social issue the Crisis Nursery deals with is preventing harm and neglect to children while their parents are dealing with a crisis in their lives. We provide 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week, short-term care for children from newborn to age 8. In 2018, this refuge helped more than 1,300 children from 821 families deal with crises in their own lives – knowing their children are cared for and safe.

To be able to provide this care it takes a very special team. We have nurses, social workers, child development staff and child care workers. Perhaps the most important members of our team are our volunteers. In 2018, 1,650 volunteers donated 20,232 hours to keep our children safe and healthy. Our volunteers are an integral part of our operations and programming at the Crisis Nursery.
Volunteers support staff in day-to-day work that must be done at the Nursery such as cooking, cleaning and maintenance. They serve as tutors, office helpers and even maintenance crews. Extensive training is provided for these volunteers so they are prepared to assist with children who are under a great deal of stress.

The volunteers also bring much needed comfort to the children during a time of such uncertainty in their lives. They play fun and active games in the backyard. They make crafts and help with homework. They help ease the children when they are missing home. Bedtime can be very difficult for the children and this is when they start missing home the most. Volunteers sit with them until they fall asleep by reading stories, and rubbing their backs. This is so important for a very anxious child.

Volunteers are also important in our fundraising efforts. They are out in the community selling raffle tickets, working casinos and helping out at community events. They assist in raising valuable funds to ensure we continue to support children and families in need.

Who Will it Benefit?

The Crisis Nursery utilizes approximately 800 volunteers every year to support more than 1300 children. The children are newborn to age 8. They come from Calgary and surrounding areas. They come from families that face the stresses of low income, mental or physical health issues, the circumstance of single parenting, or the realities of being a member of a marginalized social group. As well, their parents may be new to the city – isolated and without connections to extended family or other support. 40% of our families are parenting alone. Some are young moms struggling with postpartum depression or a fussy baby. Many that we serve are living in poverty. More than half of the families we serve live on less than $1,000 per month and close to 90% are on social assistance. Many are struggling to secure housing. Our families come from diverse cultural and socioeconomic populations. 35% of families who access the Nursery identify themselves as First Nations.