REACH Edmonton

A Message from Executive Director Jan Fox

We at REACH feel so very privileged to have so many amazing partners! 2017 has been another fantastic year! Our partners make our work so rewarding. As is our tradition at years end we take the time to reflect upon the year gone by.

On a personal note, I want to recognize the amazing REACH staff team and to thank them for their tireless commitment to making Edmonton the best place to live. Through our partnerships we are collectively making Edmonton an even safer community. I hope that each of our partners will take pride in our collective accomplishments.

Here’s the recap we celebrate.

24/7 Crisis Diversion

24/7 Crisis Diversion is a collaborative partnership of six Edmonton organizations including Boyle Street Community Services, Hope Mission, Canadian Mental Health Association (211), Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services and REACH Edmonton. The 24/7 Crisis Diversion Team responds around-the-clock, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The teams provide crisis intervention services when someone is experiencing non-emergency crisis, while providing a warm hand-off by connecting clients to the supports they need in the immediate crisis.

• In 2017, three videos were created about the program, showing how it works, who it helps, and how to get involved by calling 211.

• In March, a report back to the community saw more than 100 guests, including the Mayor, City Councillors and MLA David Sheppard.

• In May 2017, #JustCall211 was awarded the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Award of Excellence in the Communications Management division for the Social Media Programs category. Since the November 2 relaunch of this campaign, it has reached 226,119 people on Facebook and made 8,205 impressions on Twitter.

• REACH accepted the Alberta Justice Solicitor General Community Justice Award for Partnerships and Collaboration on behalf of the the 24/7 Crisis Diversion partnership.

• In November, 911 instituted a new service that allows 911 responders to transfer non-emergency callers directly to 211.

• As of November 30, the 24/7 Crisis Diversion teams have participated in 11,060 client contacts.

All In For Youth

REACH Edmonton is proud to co-backbone the All in for Youth initiative with the United Way Alberta Capital Region. This first-of-its-kind local initiative focuses on getting children and youth successfully through their education years and on to high school graduation. All in for Youth brings together programs and services in a new way to help every child achieve their very best, by providing support to them and their families. By taking care of critical needs now, we stand a far better chance of helping them get through tough times, build skills and set children up for academic success.

Out-of-School-Time (OST) Collaborative

The Out-of-School-Time (OST) Collaborative coordinates a collective approach to delivering summer programs throughout the city, with a specific focus on programs located in areas with high refugee settlement. These programs have a strong academic, cultural and recreational focus.

• More than 150 people attended the sixth annual Out-of-School-Time Conference in June.

• The Joint Use Summer Access Program saw increased participation for the fourth year in a row, doubling the number of children who participated in these summer programs.

• In 2017, the Joint Use program provided space in 29 schools to 25 groups so they could provide quality summer programming to more than 2,600 children and youth, a 100 per cent increase in participation.

Ambassador Program

The Ambassador Program – a partnership led by the City of Edmonton, the North Edge Business Association and REACH Edmonton – provides an on-street presence and service that aligns with hospitality, community connections, information sharing and Business Improvement Area (BIA) efforts. The partnership works closely with numerous stakeholders including the Downtown BIA, Chinatown BIA, Rogers Place, MacEwan University and Edmonton Tourism, among others.

• This pilot program began in March with the hiring of four Ambassadors.

• A Community Engagement Stakeholder Committee was formed with members of Rogers Place, the City of Edmonton, the Downtown Business Assocation and the Chinatown Business Association.

• In November, funding for phase two of the pilot was granted with an extension of service to Chinatown with two full-time Ambassadors beginning in 2018.

Family Violence Prevention in A Cultural Context

This project utilizes a holistic family and community-based approach to reduce the likelihoood of family violence and is focused on engaging with men, women and youth. The intention is to reduce risk factors, strengthen protective factors, and provide resources, support, community solutions and culturally appropriate education to address and reduce family violence in Edmonton. Cultural navigators, leaders in their ethno-cultural communities, engage and mobilize community members to come together to hear messages about healthy families and the issues that impact their families' health.

• Cultural navigators served the Sudanese, Syrian, Ugandan, Ethiopian, Oromo, Eritrean and Somali communities by building capacity with socially vulnerable parents.

• This year, the program expanded into the Syrian community with the addition of two cultural navigators. These navigators host monthly men’s and women’s support groups for newly arrived Syrian refugees.

• In 2017 there were seven youth leaders, building capacity and leadership in entho-cultural communities and promoting healthy relationships.

• More than 20 men from various communities meet to play soccer twice a week and speak about personal issues. Soccer provides a safe space where men otherwise wouldn’t be comfortable discussing sensitive topics.

• Through a partnership with the Pride Centre and Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, the project supports the Community Support Group for refugee claimants persecuted for their sexual identity.

• 30 Women and children from the Eritrean and Ethiopian communities were afforded a camp experience outside the city to get away from daily challenges while learning about nutritious, culturally appropriate food preparation, self-care and healthy relationships.

Heavy Users of Service Program

The Heavy Users of Services Project is a partnership consisting of 16 groups including health and social service providers, first responders, justice services and government representatives. The initiative was developed as a response to community members who are highly vulnerable, cycle through the systems and repeatedly “fall through the cracks.”

• REACH continues to be part of the leadership committee and the evaluation subcommittee which coordinated the research on the client journeys through the program and identified a Social Return on Investment. These results will be released in 2018.

Neighbourhoods Initiative

This initiative aims to create a new Neighbourhood Organizing Model in several diverse areas of Edmonton to develop grassroots community leaders who support a preventive approach to community safety.

• In August, REACH hired a full-time McCauley Community Coordinator.

• The McCauley coordinator organized a Community Gathering and Resource Fair that was attended by 170 public guests and more than 40 information sharers.

• In Central McDougall, REACH hired a part-time community coordinator who is working with community leaders, agencies and municipal and provincial officials to develop a coordinated action plan.

• The dedicated community leaders in Central McDougall organized numerous community events, managed a community garden and have created many sporting activities for youth.

Police and Youth Engagement Program (PYEP)

The Police and Youth Engagement Program (PYEP) - a week-long summer program - gives youth and police officers a unique chance to communicate one-on-one, build positive relationships and learn from each other. The program aims to bring police and youth together, remove misconceptions on both sides, build trust, and create a safe and comfortable environment in which dialogue can occur. It is focused on equipping youth with the tools and skills to become leaders in their own communities.

• This year’s program included a two-week accredited course, so participants earned a high school credit for attending the program at Queen Elizabeth High School. The Edmonton Public School Board was an invaluable partner in offering the space, the accredited course, and the teacher to provide it.

• Involved this year were 35 participants, eight youth leaders and 13 community leaders. The communities involved included: Somali, Sudanese, Iraqi, Syrian, Eritrean, and Oromo.


REACH training is accessible and provides knowledgeable, practical solutions for front-line workers, supervisors, law enforcement, social workers and others regarding best practices for working with vulnerable people and diverse populations.

• In 2017, REACH coordinated 69 training sessions which trained 1,267 people.

• This year saw an increased demand for the self-care in front-line work session, as well as increased requests for in-site training.

• This year, REACH Edmonton partnered with experts in the field to offer 23 private and public training sessions on Working With Indigenous Clients.

• The REACH Report mandates that REACH implement training for front-line staff who work alongside many individuals, families and communities who are challenged by addiction, mental health, homelessness, poverty, discrimination, marginalization. REACH intentionally aligns the training program with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee which is to provide cultural competency training that includes the history and legacy of residential schools.


In Edmonton, we value wellness, which means ensuring the right systems are in place to promote and sustain the conditions for people and neighbourhoods to thrive.Urban Wellness goes beyond just physical and mental health, it is health in mind, body, emotion and spirit. It is places where people feel safe and accepted, that encourage diversity – in opinions and cultures. Relationships between individuals, families and business strengthen the community, inspire people to contribute to civic life and create a vibrant social and economic scene.

• In April, REACH was tasked by the City of Edmonton to recruit and coordinate local researchers including the University of Alberta on a research project for Integrated Case Planning for some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable individuals who face chronic homelessness, addiction and mental health challenges.

• Extensive engagement ensued over the summer months with key stakeholders including social service agencies, REACH Edmonton, the City of Edmonton and government departments.

• The research will be shared with stakeholders, the community and various levels of government in 2018.


Wraparound Edmonton, or WrapED, is a partnership of six Edmonton organizations working together; helping young people affected by violent crime move away from the threat of gangs and learn to thrive in our community.

• WrapED partners have continued to work hard to deliver programming to vulnerable youth in Edmonton. These partners include the Africa Centre, Edmonton John Howard Society, Edmonton Police Service, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, REACH Edmonton and YOUCAN Youth Services.

• Since the program began accepting referrals in 2014, 167 youth have participated in WrapED. The program is on track to connect with 180 youth by the end of its fifth year.

• WrapED youth are showing less association with negative peers, less substance use, fewer criminal behaviours (vandalism, theft, assault) more commitment to education after joining the program; for 67 per cent of participants WrapED contributed quite a bit or a lot to these changes, and 88 per cent of participants say these changes would not have happened without WrapED.

• Of the youth who have completed, or nearly completed the program, 91 per cent have made positive change. This includes accomplishing goals such as going back to school, dealing with legal issues or joining employment programs.

• WrapED is helping its participants to work on these challenges by assisting them to build supportive teams of professional and natural supports and to set goals.