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Helping the Homeless: The beginning of BeTheChangeYYC

Helping the Homeless: The beginning of BeTheChangeYYC

“Calgary homeless Outreach Team”

BeTheChangeYYC is a Non-Profit Organization that started as a grassroots initiative in summer 2015 in Calgary, Alberta. Our organization is 100% volunteer run and funded. BeTheChangeYYC recently became a non-profit in May 2018. Currently, we offer assistance to one hundred or more vulnerable and at-risk individuals during street outreach on Wednesdays. We have helped the homeless find housing, jobs and have improved their quality of life. With amazing support from the local community, BeTheChangeYYC now believes they can continue to make an impact by connecting those experiencing homelessness in Calgary to agencies and resources.

BeTheChangeYYC is all about inspiring people to be the change in Calgary. Whoever you are, you can help make a change in the community. BeTheChangeYYC is all about loving acts of kindness and making local communities better. We believe in advocating and shining light on those who are experiencing homelessness to show they are beings deserving of love, kindness, and respect. All it takes is one individual at a time to lead the way and show what it means to Be The Change in YYC.

Chaz Smith (left) and Matthew Dorie on a homeless outreach


Chaz Smith, the President & Founder has dreamt for many years of an Outreach program dedicated to restoring hope in those who need a hand up but not a handout. Chaz Smith experienced homelessness from ages 15-18 (2005-2008). During this experience, he identified a lack of programming, specifically in the form of outreach on the streets for Youth and Adults homeless. Later, Chaz foreshadowed the beginning works of BeTheChangeYYC’s homeless outreach team.

In 2010-2011, Chaz Smith worked on the 10-year plan to end youth homelessness, which expanded his knowledge on homelessness issues in and around Calgary. The dream of outreach on the Calgary streets was going to soon become a reality. A small group of activists who shared the same passion for ending homelessness got together and started to complete street outreach by providing sandwiches and juice. This group walked the streets for its first time searching for homeless who were in need. This became a regular occurrence on Wednesdays, rain or shine.

Homeless Outreach Team on November 2nd,2016


Passion is the gas but perseverance is the engine that keeps it moving. With a permanent name not chosen and wanting to choose a name that was inclusive and represented the work they were doing.  It was around December 2015, this small group became known as BeTheChangeYYC. It was I
inspired by Ghandi’s quote, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Then the motto was chosen, “A hand up, not a hand out.”

Overall, BeTheChangeYYC‘s motto encourages individuals experiencing homelessness to access resources, and not only just give out tangible items. By reminding an individual that we, the community, still care about them and want to help, can be a powerful force for ending homelessness. We have grown in our capacity thanks to private donations from community members and business’s all across Calgary & Area.

A grassroots helping homeless outreach team in Calgary


Truly BeTheChangeYYC’s success is accredited to the hard work of not only Chaz Smith, and Matthew Dorie, but also other community members that volunteer, donate and share our organizations goals.
 

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