Close to your heart 

By Andrew McCutcheon

It’s no surprise that the folks at the Kerby Centre keep seniors close to our hearts. 

Fifty years of supporting our community of older adults is a long time. And it wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t keep seniors both at the front of our minds and close to our hearts. 

When we ask the question, as we have every week this year in these 50 stories, “What is Kerby Centre?” we’re trying to get to the heart of what makes this place so special. 

We’re getting closer and closer to a proper answer, and I feel it has something to do with the feelings we hold dear whenever someone walks into the building: whether it’s a client, a member, a volunteer or staff. 

What emotions do we feel? 

Joy is one. I’ve asked people across the organization what their happiest moment was working here and the responses came quick and easy. 

There are so many stories of laughter, smiles and accomplishment. This joy can come from when we help someone with our Seniors Supports or Thrive Departments, whether we’re having a ton of fun playing games or learning a new skill with Active Aging or just having a nice cup of coffee with a dear friend in the café. 

But sometimes we also feel the weight of other emotions. Frustration, despair or grief. We feel these when we lose someone close to the Kerby Centre, when our efforts to help others are frustrated by roadblocks or when things just don’t work out the way they’re supposed to. 

I’d like to think, though, that after 50 years of working for our community, that we’ve felt more positive emotions than the alternative. 

But the main thing, the biggest part of the work we do that consistently keeps our hearts full is passion

Whether we’re feeling joy or despair, happiness or frustration: we feel these feelings so hard and so full because we are passionate about the work we do. 

For example, let’s take my wonderful colleague Julia Moroz. 

Julia came to Canada fairly recently, in June 2022. After a stint in Asia working in the social media business, she was unable to safely return to her home in Ukraine. 

“I am from Ukraine and when I came to Canada, I was hosted by a nice senior couple who shared their house and their food,” Moroz said. “Now I wanted to help older Calgarians.” 

Now, Julia works with me at the Unison Kerby Centre, filled with the same passion that drives the rest of us. 

In working here, she came up with a fantastic idea: what if there was a way we could support our seniors while showing off how near and dear the community is to our hearts? 

Our “Heart of Community Campaign” partnered the Unison at Kerby Centre with a talented and award-winning Calgary artist, Olga Sem, to create a signature pin. Teal in colour with a touch of golden sparkle, this heart-shaped pin is the perfect way to show off your support to the Kerby Centre — with proceeds going towards all the wonderful work we do here. 

It’s not just a pin: it’s a way to carry around a piece of Kerby with you everywhere you go, so you’ll never be alone. 

It might be a small act of support, but everything we do here — from the small acts of kindness to the massive feats of assistance — all have one thing in common. 

They are done with a full heart. 

Those interested in purchasing a pin can visit our Wise Owl shop on location or online at UnisonAlberta.com/The-Heart-Of-Community 

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