People and Place

A partnership with the Faculty of Social Work, Faculty of Environmental Design and the International Avenue BRZ was formed in 2005 and completed in 2008.  A number of projects were undertaken with funding support from AREF.   An example of the types of project follows which targeted community youth.

See article below from U of C.

“Thirteen-year-old Alex Bank gets frustrated when he sees garbage and graffiti messing up the alleyways and businesses in his home neighbourhood of Forest Lawn in southeast Calgary.

So when Bank got the opportunity to prove that youth in the neighbourhood take pride in their community, he couldn’t wait to participate. ‘I got really, really excited when I found out about this project, said Bank, who joined a group of other teens committed to sprucing up Forest Lawn.

The teens worked alongside three University of Calgary professors: Christine Walsh, from the Faculty of Social Work, Anna Brassard, an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design, and Jennifer Hewson, a professor in the Faculty of Social Work, to create Images in Action, a program to encourage youth in greater Forest Lawn to learn about community development. After much discussion, the teens made a plan to hand paint garbage cans with colourful designs; the painted cans have since been adopted by local business, resulting in community awareness, beautification and less litter.

For this project we worked with a variety of stakeholders, including people whose voices aren’t usually heard. By getting youth involved we helped them connect to their community and foster a number of life skills, said Hewson, the project coordinator. “This project showed the youth that they have power.”

Undergraduate social work student Edwin Morales, 31, who grew up in Forest Lawn, worked alongside the teens, and feels he was given a rare chance to give back to his community.  “It will be exciting to see where this project goes from here. We have great support from so many places,” said Morales.

Images for Action was developed by faculty and students from the faculties of social work and environmental design and was incorporated into an existing program at the Dover/Forest Lawn Boys and Girls Club from January to June 2007. Urban Youth Worx, which promotes community development through art, was also involved in the implementation of the program. The Alberta Real Estate Foundation funded three projects in Greater Forest Lawn and this garbage can project is the first of the three.

The International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) organization adopted the majority of the garbage cans. Allison Karim-McSwiney, executive director of the organization, was eager to support the project. “This is truly an example of a cohesive, unique and outstanding community. Our youth in Forest Lawn are an inspiration.”

There are plans to expand the project to northeast Calgary with a focus on assisting at-risk teens explore ways to revitalize their community.”