Community Partner Testimonials

Community Partner Testimonials

Community projects give participants a unique opportunity to apply their new skills to real-life issues. Each group tackles a challenging project with a social-profit partner organization gaining experience and insight into the often tough realities faced by our community-based organizations.  The following stories illustrate the impact that a project team can have on agencies and on the wider community.

Argus Residence for Young People

Program Innovation and Partnership

Shelter operators are well positioned to understand that youth homelessness is not a singular issue. In addition to the need for essential services, many youth experiencing homelessness require a continuum of supports in order to achieve healthy and viable community integration. It’s not easy to be 16, living in shelter, going to school and searching for a permanent place to stay-let alone acquiring the resources to become self-sufficient. Yet, it’s a difficult reality, for many youth in the Waterloo Region.

For the majority of young people accessing Argus Residence, a return to home is not feasible due to abuse, poverty or chronic family breakdown. As a result, in addition to professional assistance, it is important to build a network informal supports to mentor, provide guidance and reduce the need for shelter recidivism.

In 2001, as a direct result of connections through Leadership Waterloo Region, Argus was introduced to a private sector funder, who helped us build such a network called the Watchful Guardians. The Watchful Guardian program matches one community volunteer to one Argus youth to support that youth during their shelter stay and in an after-care capacity. The program achieves results, like this:

“My Watchful Guardian is amazing.  If it weren’t for her, I would be lost.  She listens to me with an open mind and she is always honest with me.  She always has good advice to offer me when I am stuck on something.  When I am down, she provides me with emotional support to lift my spirits.  She builds my self confidence, gives me guidance and encourages me to think about my future.  Being involved in the Watchful Guardian program, now that I am living on my own, has helped me maintain my stability in the community.  It has also helped me understand and work on improving other relationships in my life.  This program has greatly improved my character in every way and for once in my life, I feel at peace”.  Adrian

“I like having a Watchful Guardian because it gives me someone I can talk to.  She is someone who believes in me, someone who wants to listen to me and who has the time for me.  My Watchful Guardian makes me feel good about myself”.  Christina

"The time that I spend with Dwight gets me to think about possible places I could live and job opportunities. Dwight has offered to take me to a hockey game, but I had to miss that outing. Since then, he has taken me out to the movies. I don’t get a chance to go to the movies. It was fun." Serge

Program Promotion

For organizations like Argus, facing strong service demand, it can be difficult to prioritize the development of marketing and communication tools, over direct service. Conversely, such tools are critical in order to raise awareness of the issues facing our region and effect meaningful change.

In 2007, Leadership Waterloo Region helped us develop promotional material for our Watchful Guardian program. As a result of their work, $6,000.00 of video services was donated by Lime Style Productions, a power point presentation was developed, a volunteer fair was coordinated and an introduction to Punch Integrated Solutions resulting in the development of additional promotional material for the organization, at no cost.

We’re indebted to Leadership Waterloo Region for broadening community understanding of critical issues, like youth homelessness and linking our organization to new and established leaders committed to building our network of support. Together, we understand that an investment in our community youth is a wise investment in our collective future. By joining forces, we can make a difference in the world.

Eva Vlasov
Executive Director
Argus Residence for Young People

Canadian Blood Services

Project: Develop a campaign to increase the number of donors from our ethno-cultural communities to meet the needs of area hospitals by establishing a community network of cultural leaders that will help the organization identify methods to best raise awareness of Canadian Blood Services within specific groups in the Waterloo Region.

"It was a pleasure working with Leadership Waterloo Region. The project team was enthusiastic, goal-oriented, organized and diverse, bringing a variety of skills to the project. The team established a community network of multicultural leaders, and uncovered barriers to donating blood sighted by the ethnic community. The team set the building blocks to raise awareness of Canadian Blood Services and increase blood donations within specific ethnic groups in the Waterloo Region."

Annmarie den Ouden
Canadian Blood Services

Family and Children's Services

Project: Develop a targeted foster parents recruitment plan with the intention of targeting new audiences and raising the awareness of the vital need for teen foster homes.

“Working with this particular group of people from the community was a wonderful opportunity for our organization. The leadership group offered ideas and resources to create awareness within the community that offer new opportunities for the society to inform community members about the need for foster homes for youth in care.

The group, although from different professional backgrounds, worked together well, which in turn developed into a comfortable and enjoyable relationship with the working group at Family and Children’s Services. We are very much interested in working with another leadership group in the near future.”

Tom Howard
Family & Children’s Services

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