Easter at Sonshine – Celebrating our Family of Churches
Sonshine has grown from a deep and rich history of support from Churches. Our organization was founded by River Park Church in 1978. The missional focus of churches in our community have equipped and empowered us to do our work through supports, funding, sponsorship and advocacy. Thank you to all our community members of faith that have been supporting us over the years!
We are excited to highlight church impact by sharing a conversation with Andrea Lai from Westside Calgary Chinese Alliance Church. They have been supporting Sonshine with regular suite sponsorship and often engage in activities and gifts on behalf of the families – including Valentines Day gifts this year. Please enjoy this interview and learn more about their support.
How has your congregation been supporting Sonshine?
I am the coordinator for our church’s “social compassion committee” helping connect our small groups and congregation to external organizations for support. One of our members, Carol, had created the relationship with Sonshine years past and created a mission to keep supporting with suite sponsorship and special gifts for the residents. Now, we continue to support and create capacity for Sonshine year after year.
Why do you choose Sonshine?
Mothers of our congregation want to help mothers and create compassion and empathy for those needing support. We can only imagine how hard the situation could be and the importance of having support. Women and children can have a more difficult life in general because they are vulnerable and we should be providing support to them. This was important for our church.
What has been your motivation to sponsoring a suite?
It’s creating awareness and having a privileged community supporting those in need and knowing we’re bridging the gap and making changes. It’s often the small things like creating crafts, or create awareness and understanding of violence for our church. Creating conversations in community and supporting Sonshine creates a spark for those conversations.
Is there a missional focus for your group?
We want to have a consistent commitment in providing a suite and have a collaborative focus to keep going, to increase awareness and have individuals reach out to Sonshine if needed. As an Alliance church the focus is to support both missions aboard and local. We want to help local Calgarians and our community.
“Working with the Sonshine staff and learning about opportunities to connect with families or create opportunities is eye opening. Sonshine does such a great job at creating opportunity for us to really help and create supports.”
We are very inspired by all of our partners who Adopt-A-Suite and we hope to grow this type of engagement with more willing supporters in 2023.
Our new four-tiered Adopt-A-Suite model will help capture all of the needs and extracurricular supports for the families in residence. After meeting with the residents and support staff earlier this year, and gaining their insights into what mattered most while living and healing at Sonshine, a few key items came up that were not directly a part of our regular supports.
Flowers and beautiful spaces in the warm months was important to the residents. New mattresses – and the ability to take their mattress when they move was also at the top of the list. Last but not least, a regular process to have kids and families participate in activities and outings to make positive new memories was a high interest and something the staff were very hopeful in providing. Our aim is to fill these gaps on behalf of our residents this year and provide a more meaningful experience for them while they live at Sonshine. Already, life changing work is happening and with support from current and new partners, we hope to equip the families in residents with everything needed for a satisfactory journey to new beginnings and a life free of violence and trauma.