A Day in the Life at Kerby Centre (Pt. 2)

by Andrew McCutcheon

12:00 P.M. 

Lunchtime! On the rare occasion I get to have a meal from the café, it’s a red-letter day. Chef Stephen Mawson makes a mean… well. Everything. 

Pastas and savoury pies, burgers and club sandwiches, fries and soups and salads of all sorts. If I “accidentally” forget my pre-packed lunch at home I guess I’ll have to get served up a peerless portion of perfection. Oops. 

Lunch in the café is the best part of my day. 

12:30 P.M. 

But now I get to work on my big monthly project: the newspaper. 

We put out the Kerby News every single month and have done so for decades. Each issue is filled to the brim with interesting stories, important information and everything you might ever want to know about Unison Alberta, the Kerby Centre, or our Centres in Medicine Hat: the Strathcona and Veiner Centres. 

But more than that, it’s a place where we get to tell our stories. 

These 50 stories that I’ve been creating every week are a part of my job in the same way the Kerby News is, and at the end of the day, it all revolves around telling stories. 

Stories are important. We’ve been telling them, as a species, since our very inception. Stories are important because they communicate things unsaid. 

When I write about the fantastic employees we have here, I’m not just bragging about how cool my co-workers are: I want to let people know the incredible amount of skill and talent that’s required to do the job we do. 

When I write about the programs and services we offer, I’m not just advertising what’s available: I want to show the broader community and the world at large why we’re worthy of being supported — and exactly what the dividends of that support entail. 

When I write about clients of our elder abuse shelter, I’m not trying to pull heartstrings and I’m not co-opting the real-world trauma of our most vulnerable seniors just so we can make the evening news. Without telling the stories of our most vulnerable — in their own words and with their express permission and understanding — we won’t be able to communicate the scope of the problem we’re trying to solve: the real human cost of things like hunger, isolation and abuse. 

When I sit down to tell stories, I have to be mindful of their impact. And it’s not always easy or nice. I have so many stories of those who’ve been beaten down by the world only to find shelter and solace and community at Unison and Kerby Centre. Many of those stories I don’t write about; they aren’t mine to tell. 

Instead, I keep them close to my chest, to remind me that the work we do here, matters. 

Telling stories is the most important part of my day. 

2:00 P.M. 

Snack break! 

2:15 P.M.

After the writing comes the editing. 

I’m not going to write much about this. It’s a necessary and incredibly boring part of the writing process. I break out several dictionaries, grammar guides and my Canadian Press Guide to Style. I edit my writing and the dozens of contributions I get every month from our fantastic volunteer writers. 

If you’d prefer, please imagine what other exciting things I might be doing for this portion of my day at Kerby. I will leave a blank space for you to write what you come up with. 

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