AHC’s framework for community capacity building includes:

  • community mobilization and development through community initiatives and other common areas of interest of individuals and communities
  • capacity building through engagement, networking, volunteering, skills development and provision of responsive and outcome-based programs and supports

AHC uses innovative community development approaches and processes to build individual and community capacity. We strongly believe in a strengths-based approach, which:

  • recognizes and fosters the existing strengths and assets of individuals and communities; and
  • focuses on how to add to these strengths to overcome challenges.

All of our current programs and supports are aligned with community development and capacity building principles. In fact, several of our programs grew out of earlier capacity building initiatives.

Over time, AHC has worked to build the capacity of individuals and communities in vital areas for their successful integration into society, such as:

  • language and literacy
  • skills development
  • integration into the workforce and entrepreneurship development
  • leadership training, to build individual capacity and community-based leadership

Some of the ways we engage with people to support, mobilize and build community capacity include:

  • community initiatives, including Seed Grants for community-based projects
  • community-building events/activities
  • providing community spaces at AHC
  • networking and volunteer development opportunities
  • supports for formal or informal community groups, towards better management and governance

 

 

 

AHC is proud to support all kinds of community initiatives.

Proposed initiatives are first reviewed for practicality and alignment with our community development and capacity building objectives.

 

Criteria:

  • A project or initiative must be proposed by a group of at least three community members.
  • The proposal must outline how the initiative will contribute to community capacity building and help to make local communities stronger, healthier and more interconnected.
  • For example, a project idea could be a festival, a sporting event, a volunteer-run language class, or a community garden – or anything that addresses a specific community need.
  • Submissions must be clearly organized, with project planning steps, projected costs and challenges, and realistic timelines.

 

Once a project has been approved by a volunteer committee, AHC provides:

  • a seed grant of up to $1000
  • leadership training
  • ongoing mentorship

Hands-on mentorship and leadership training are provided to ensure the project is realized and meets with success. This type of support is an important pillar of community capacity building.

 

Disclaimer: Not all projects are eligible for funding; we will contact you if we are interested in learning more about your project idea.

 

Benefits of Community Initiatives

AHC has approved hundreds of projects over the years, and the benefits are real and many.

 

Some of the benefits include:

 

  • each initiative provide avenues for individuals and groups to access resources
  • project leaders and participating community members develop new skills
  • individuals and communities connect with other groups in local neighbourhoods and communities

 

Sample Initiatives

Here is a select listing of some community initiatives from recent years.

  • Conversation Circles: a current AHC program that began as a Seed Grant project!
  • Drumming group Sangea: a now-popular local drumming group that began as a multicultural, grassroots initiative to encourage community building, through drumming and music.
  • Carrot Café: a very successful local community-driven undertaking for many years; it began as a small project.
  • AHC Chess Club: a small project that grew into a popular club with weekly gatherings.
  • A women’s knitting group using AHC’s space to meet every week, learn from each other and work together to build their capacity.

 

To learn more about community initiatives, please contact Rola Chehayeb, Community Development Coordinator.

Email: rola.chehayeb@a4hc.ca | 780.944.4687, Ext.242

 

 

Each year, AHC hosts, organizes or supports a wide range of community-based events or activities.

Combined, all of these efforts contribute to community building through mobilization and community engagement. This includes building networks, connections and strengths within communities, and among different communities.

 

To discuss community-building events/activities, please contact Rola Chehayeb, Community Development Coordinator.

Email: rola.chehayeb@a4hc.ca | 780.944.4687, Ext. 242

 

Examples of other types of events/activities include:

  • Community Dialogues

Participants meet in groups to discuss individual and community issues in order to share ideas.

  • Various multicultural or ethnocultural gatherings

These events promote community engagement and participation by showcasing a variety of ethnocultural groups in Greater Edmonton.

  • Events that arise from AHC programs

Many of our past Conversation Circles participants have said they appreciate the multicultural nature of the circles, which reflect and support inclusiveness and diversity. Two community-building events have come about through Conversation Circles.

One is our annual Henna Festival; this idea was brought forward by women in one of the circles and has become quite popular. Another well-attended activity is our Global Cuisine event. Both events offer opportunities for language learning, practicing English and connecting with people.

 

Examples of annual events include:

  • Volunteer Appreciation (February)

A fun day to thank and recognize dozens of AHC volunteers who assist year-round with different programs, events and activities.

  • Mother’s Day Tea (May)
  • Action Dash/Discovery Walk (June)

A healthy, active living initiative that supports community networking.

  • Community Soccer Tournament (June)

A youth tournament and adult tournament are now blended into one major event.

  • Community Talent Show (July)
  • Winter (Year-End) Celebration (December)

A friendly gathering to show appreciation to all of AHC’s volunteers, staff, participants, donors, sponsors, and others. Involves friends, families and community networks.

 

 

 

AHC makes a special effort to ensure that AHC’s building and available meeting spaces are accessible to community members and groups for their capacity-building activities.

For example, our Community Resources Hub is open to community members and offers a range of settlement, employment, business development and other related supports.

We also have meeting rooms and a community hall that are used for different purposes by community members:

  • meeting rooms can accommodate from 10 to 40 people
  • the community hall can accommodate up to 100 people

 

For general inquiries, or to view or book one of our community spaces, please contact Rola Chehabyeb, Community Development Coordinator.

Email: rola.chehayeb@a4hc.ca | 780.944.4687, Ext. 242

 

 

Another way we support individuals and communities is to promote volunteerism, within AHC and with other communities and organizations in Greater Edmonton and several northern Alberta locations.

AHC focuses on volunteer development as an important element of community development and building individual capacity.

AHC has initiated a Volunteer Development Program, with the following objectives:

  • provide opportunities for volunteers to integrate into the job market (volunteers will learn through on-the-job training and participation in various events/activities conducted by AHC and its partner organizations)
  • create a pool of high-calibre volunteers to support AHC’s work
  • promote participation by local people in AHC’s work and encourage wider participation from the community
  • increase the number of volunteers undertaking volunteer placements at AHC, particularly those groups and/or individuals that are under-represented, socially excluded/hard to reach or have extra support needs, to address inequalities at all levels
  • support AHC in its retention and management of volunteers
  • support AHC in recognizing and rewarding volunteers
  • work with key stakeholders to support the development of volunteers
  • enrich AHC’s and partner’s programs, supports and activities through the recruitment of qualified and skilled volunteers

 

Development of Essential Skills

At AHC, we have a wide variety of volunteer positions or assignments.  We also have leads or connections to other volunteer opportunities in the community, e.g., with other organizations or groups, or some of our partners.

Volunteers engaged through AHC or external partner agencies can develop essential skills and build individual capacity. Examples:

  • English proficiency (speaking, reading, writing) and oral communication skills
  • administrative skills, e.g., front desk/reception duties, filing/data-entry, answering phones, directing clients, communication, organizing
  • working well with others (teamwork)
  • computer/digital, e.g., data entry, Microsoft Office, Google Suite, printing, scanning, photocopying)
  • children and youth engagement, e.g., after school programming, academic support, leadership, youth empowerment, physical activities, play-learning, etc.)
  • conflict resolution
  • event planning/coordination
  • accounting/finance/taxation
  • program-specific, e.g., English language learning, settlement supports, employment supports, entrepreneurship program supports

Volunteer Recognition

In addition to encouraging and supporting volunteers, AHC recognizes volunteers in different ways, such as:

  • reference letters and recommendations (after a 3-month term)
  • volunteer recognition certificates (printed annually)
  • volunteer spotlight – a monthly profile of an active volunteer shared through our online communication channels
  • inter-agency referrals to other relevant supports, e.g., employment, settlement, children and youth, taxation, citizenship, entrepreneurial, etc.
  • ongoing first-hand access to upcoming job opportunities (internal and external), events and programs
  • further engagement through AHC membership, with additional networking opportunities

Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities and see current postings.

 

Connecting With External Agencies

As part of the Volunteer Development Program, AHC’s volunteer coordinator seeks to establish partnership and outreach opportunities with external organizations to facilitate and establish external volunteer opportunities for AHC volunteers.

 

If you are an external agency with volunteer opportunities, please contact Michelle Luyimbazi, Volunteer Coordinator.

Email: volunteers@a4hc.ca | 780.944.4687, Ext. 234