Shaundra Bruvall | June 22, 2017
“May the stars carry your sadness away, may the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, and, above all, may silence make you strong.” – Native American Proverb
This has been a very sad time at Alpha House as we’ve mourned the loss of our dear colleague and friend, Chrissy Archibald. And yet in our sadness, we’ve also celebrated Chrissy’s incredible spirit of compassion, her kindness, and her ability to connect with people of all walks of life and offer them hope.
In these difficult days, we’ve also been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our community, both here in Calgary and from around the world. The #ChrissySentMe movement — that evolved from a statement started by her family— became a venue to honour her life’s passion. It touches us at Alpha House and extends to other organizations serving marginalized people across Canada and throughout the globe.
Thank you to all the individuals and organizations who shared words of encouragement, sent flowers, volunteered or made a donation in honour of Chrissy. Your kind gestures show that love always wins. To our clients, who paid tribute to Chrissy’s impact and touch on their lives, thank you for sharing your memories and encouraging us as we grieve. To the media who told Chrissy’s story with sensitivity, thank you for understanding how difficult those early hours and days were as we tried to make sense of this tragedy.
And finally, to Chrissy’s family, we are so deeply sorry for your unimaginable loss. We will continue to find ways to honour Chrissy in our work here at Alpha House, and we feel her spirit with us. She will be remembered always.
Executive Director, Alpha House
Shaundra Bruvall | June 16, 2017
Walk a Mile in Our Moccasins
In celebration of Aboriginal Awareness Week, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary and Calgary Alpha House are joining together to support reconciliation and awareness through an event that will teach the tradition of moccasin making. Come walk a mile in our moccasins, and learn the tradition of moccasin making through community connection and cultural teachings.
Indigenous moccasins were a nearly universal element from tribe to tribe, with distinctive features and subtle patterns among the various tribes. Indigenous people could often tell each other’s tribal affiliation simply from the design of their shoes. Authentic Indigenous moccasins are made with all natural materials that signify a historical connection to the land. Creating authentic Indigenous crafts builds a genuine cultural connection that’s crucial in rebuilding relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Who: EFry Calgary and Calgary Alpha House
What: “Walk a Mile in Our Moccasins”
$55 includes all material and instruction to make one pair of infant moccasins
When: Monday, June 19
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Sunalta Community Centre
1627 10 Avenue SW
Why: In celebration of Aboriginal Awareness Week
Registration is limited; call 403-294-0737 to secure your spot. Participation supports both Alpha House and EFry Calgary’s Indigenous Programming.
Shaundra Bruvall | June 9, 2017
It takes a certain type of person to work at Alpha House. There is a level of passion and heart that has to be present within someone in order for them to stay in the work. Addictions can cause many complexities in an individual’s life. The work is often heavy, and can take from you both mentally and physically, but in the same breath offers many blessings.
Within these walls we bandage scrapes, mediate disagreements and try to help mend hearts, all while trying to influence change in people’s lives. A listening ear or thoughtful words can do so much because often that’s all people want is someone to listen, someone to care. Everyone has a story and deserves the gift of human compassion, the feeling that when the roads are rough there is still a collective of people who will never stop caring, that will never give up.
Chrissy was one of those people, but she was more than that even. Chrissy was a person who made you want to always be a better person. No matter the circumstance, Chrissy always remained so patient, so kind, and so genuine. Her heart for the work was evident from early on at Alpha House. Chrissy handled every situation with such good intentions, and always maintained a sense of calm about her, even in the most chaotic situations. Chrissy always found the silver lining that would make you know it was all going to be okay, and that the work we do has a purpose – to spread love not hate.
Chrissy’s smile and the little giggle that went with it…this woman was the definition of a beautiful, genuine, all rounded human being. Chrissy showed her passion and love for the people she served through the countless hours she would sit with clients and let them talk about anything they needed to talk about. She always gave them that time to feel important and to feel heard, never needing to raise her voice. Chrissy cared so much for everyone, taking the time to make every person feel like they were valued.
The world has suffered the loss of a beautiful soul. Chrissy reminds us that we need to be more kind to each other and spread love throughout our communities. If more people in this world embodied the spirit and accepting nature that Chrissy did, this world would be so much easier, and so much more bearable for everyone to live in because love and acceptance really do change everything.
Written by Rebecca L., Shelter Team Lead at Alpha House