Heidi Wiebe’s Story: Ordinary People Making a Positive Difference

Here’s a story from my community of Yellowknife. 

On October 2, 2018, Rockhill Apartments, which houses the YWCA offices and 33 units of family transitional housing (run by the YWCA) burned to the ground in the early hours of the morning. The building was completely destroyed. What was so amazing, is that by 1 pm that afternoon, every one of those families was rehoused in new apartments, complete with beds, furniture, clothing, and funds for immediate purchases. Some of the local property managers donated vacant apartments, furniture retailers donated beds, local NGOs and the entire city donated cash, clothes, furnishings, kitchenware, gift cards, etc. Yellowknife is a city of about 22,000 people. It, like many northerners’ communities, never ceases to amaze me at the level and speed of support when some of its own are hurt. The level of communication and coordination from the YWCA and other service providers to channel public donations towards what was needed most, when and where is on par with disaster management anywhere and I think would stand up in the face of any crisis. Over the time since then, there have been additional fundraisers and a search for new office space for the YWCA to continue the efforts to replace the less urgent items and begin the slower process of getting back to normal, or the new normal. 

It was truly a heart-warming story up here. For families whose lives were turned upside down at 5:30 am, to be in new space, safe and warm within 8 hours is truly astounding.

About jofacilitator

On Sept 1, 2020, I celebrated 50 years of work with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, facilitating meetings, groups, communities, and organizations, making it possible for ordinary people to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. I retired on December 31, 2021, but still volunteer with the organization.
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