On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, Calgary Homeless Foundation celebrated its third annual – but first virtual – Trail Blazer Breakfast, in support of our work to guide the fight against homelessness in the city.
Thank you so much to our sponsors, our speakers, and to all who attended and supported us in this incredible event. You helped raise over $130,000 towards guiding the fight to end homelessness in Calgary!
Now, more than ever, home is a place of solace and safety, and the event – which attracted over 350 attendees online – proved that the connection, dedication, and shared will to end homelessness is as strong as ever.
We kicked off this year’s Trail Blazer Breakfast with a distinguished panel on youth homelessness, followed by our keynote speaker, Lieutenant-General (ret) The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire, who shared his reflections about our shared humanity and what gives him hope for the future. To round it out, we honoured Timothy J. Hearn, the recipient of our 2021 Trail Blazer Legacy Award.
Again, it is with immense gratitude that we thank our sponsors and speakers, and all the attendees who continue to support our work in guiding the fight against homelessness. With your help, Calgary Homeless Foundation is working towards a future where every Calgarian has a place to call home, with access to the supports they need to thrive.
“Waking up in the morning and seeing the sun…knowing a communion between humanity and the planet is possible. There is an enormous amount of effort from our youth who want to see humanity thrive, not just survive. I see the young people of our nation wanting to move in and be partners in the decision process and engage in our future. The ultimate hope that I live with is that I live, as you do, in an extraordinary country, a nation that has values and depth sought by so many.”
– General Dallaire, speaking about what gives him hope
Lieutenant-General Dallaire calls on us to recognize the shared humanity that binds us and imposes a duty to help one another.
Dallaire – who is the founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, a global partnership with the mission to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers – also spoke about the ways in which veterans and child soldiers experience homelessness.
He then shared his reflections on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we can apply the lessons gleaned from his experiences to our efforts in building healthy communities.
We thank General Dallaire for sharing his story, and for providing valuable insight that we can apply to our lives and work.
2021 Trail Blazer Legacy Award: Honouring Calgary leader, Timothy J. Hearn
Together, we had the privilege of presenting the 2021 Trail Blazer Legacy Award to business and community leader Timothy J. Hearn for his tireless efforts in ending homelessness.
Thank you, Tim Hearn, for your continued dedication to ending homelessness. You are a true visionary that has had a life-changing impact on the lives of many people, while inspiring countless others to step up to join the charge. Thank you for being a force of lasting change in our community, and beyond.
Panel Discussion: Ending Youth Homelessness in Calgary
In 2018, Calgary conducted a Point-in-Time Count to determine the number of people experiencing homelessness in our city on any given night. Of the 2,911 people who were identified during the count, 18% (524) were youth and children.
Youth homelessness is unique and requires a different approach than that taken in addressing adult homelessness.
Trail Blazer Breakfast host Dave Kelly – alongside Patricia Jones, President and CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation – engaged in a discussion with an expert panel on youth homelessness in Calgary. The panel featured:
- Jeff Dyer, CEO of Trellis;
- Soraya Saliba, Executive Director, McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association, and
- Leslie McMechan, Executive Director, Calgary John Howard Society.
“The key for me, is to address the misconception that youth homelessness is a result of youth behaviour. The fact is, youth are homeless based on our whole community’s systemic barriers, breakdowns and exclusions. Address that and hope returns.”
Jeff Dyer, CEO, Trellis
Thank you to our sponsors for helping to make this event a reality.
The success of this event was largely due to our Trail Blazer Breakfast ambassadors who championed the event. Thank you for generating excitement and spreading the word about the breakfast.
And to each and every one of our partners, thank you for the life-changing work that you do every day.
Until next year, thank you for being a part of Calgary Homeless Foundation’s Trail Blazer Breakfast.