Working Together With Connections For Families Society
Connections For Families Society
The best part of our work as the Calgary Food Bank’s Community Liaison Team is spending time with our community partners: seeing programs in action, collaborating on events and initiatives, and understanding how, together, we can support people experiencing food insecurity.
This is no truer than our partnership with Connections for Families Society (Connections). Connections offer great services to support parents with cognitive challenges; recognizing that with support, anyone can be a successful parent. Eunice Bawah, Agency Director of Connections, and Founder/Program Director Lauren Raymore took some time to share their reflections about the work they do.
Since 1990, Connections (formerly Connections Counselling and Consulting Foundation) has been supporting parents with cognitive challenges to be successful parents. Connections provides parental skills education, in-home family support, counselling services, financial coaching, as well as family and group programs.
Connections’ In-Home team provides wholistic supports to ensure the individuals they work with have adequate parenting skills, develop home management strategies, and can successfully access various community services and support, such as the Food Bank. This work is further supported by family and group programs and counselling services, where families can access life skills and supports to cope with trauma, isolation, and other life challenges, but most importantly, to build the necessary skills for effective parenting.
“Connections is committed to providing a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment for parents with cognitive challenges to grow and strengthen their parenting skills. We use a strength-based approach to highlight individual strengths, while surrounding them with supports and programs that address their individual needs. Our team at Connections is a group of devoted and compassionate individuals who go above and beyond to support the families we work with. Our families trust us, and we never take that for granted.”
Eunice Bawah, Agency Director
How Can Someone Access Your Programs?
Clients can access programs through:
- Persons with Developmental Disabilities
- Children’s Services
- Community referrals, including partner agencies, Legal Aid, physicians
- Self-referral – call 403-209-1100
Who Can Access Your Programs?
Connections supports families in which one or both parents have an intellectual disability or cognitive impairment. Some of these parents were born with a reduced intellectual capacity, some were born with the capacity but had poor and limited upbringings that limited their cognitive ability and others acquired limitations through brain injury (strokes, seizures, or accidents) or through fetal alcohol syndrome.
Connections does not require a formal diagnosis for the individual to access our services
“I have worked in the disability field for almost 40 years, and every day that I come to work at Connections, I am awe-struck by the resiliency of the individuals we support. Often parents will say this is the only agency they feel welcomed at; we refer to ourselves as a family.”
Lauren Raymore, Founder and Program Director
What Does Success Look Like For Your Programs?
Success looks different with each individual and family. When individuals or families are engaged, feel supported, are achieving their set goals, and are stable within their means, they may be deemed successful. For example, for a family without stable housing that moves regularly, their success could be their ability to maintain the same home for an extended period. For another family, it might be the realization and acceptance of the need for long-term support to help facilitate healthy relationships.
“Our parents often recognize that they are treated differently in the community. But when they come through our doors, they have all the respect in the world to be their best selves. We help them become successful parents, which then gives them a respected role in the community.”
Lauren Raymore, Founder and Program Director
What Is Different About Connections?
Connections’ support is different by responding to the individual needs and learning style of the parent, teaching with hands-on demonstration and visual aids, including repetition and reinforcement, and by extending long-term – for as long as the parent wants Connections to be in their lives.