Aspen Family


Aspen is a charitable human service agency established in Calgary in 1984. Over the years, Aspen has grown to become among the city's largest family service agencies - serving over 3,000 clients every year.


Aspen's unique approach to providing services is to support and develop the core strengths of each individual. Our goal is to help those in need deal with life's challenges to create better, more rewarding lives.

Thanks to the generous ongoing support of our funders, partners, government, sponsors and individual donors, Aspen continues to provide a wide range of unique programs and services based on a focused philosophy, research-based programs and measurable results.

At Aspen, we strive to build resiliency and a continuum of care through strength-based programs.  We believe the best way to help people in difficult situations is to support them in recognizing the strengths they bring to their situation.

Our Strength-based programs encourage clients to look within - and draw upon their own talents to overcome difficult circumstances. By building confidence and appealing to a person's own particular strengths and interests, we are more likely to engage with them and see positive results.

This approach enables people to build upon their inner resiliency.
Resiliency reflects a person's ability to survive and adapt in situations of adversity and challenge. Some find it harder than others, but for most people, their inner resiliency empowers them to thrive and adapt in spite of incredible hardship. Through uncovering strengths and building long term resiliency, our clients are encouraged to set personal goals and then are supported along the way to achieving these goals.

Moving forward, needs and goals often change and expand. Our commitment to providing ongoing support means that we are committed to providing a Continuum of Service that assists people throughout their process of change. Our objective is not just to help people cope with difficulty today, but to give them the tools, strength and knowledge to assist them well into the future.
This is our philosophy. It guides us in everything we do.

 We know that we cannot do this work alone. That is why Aspen works closely with a strong network of partners, agencies, sustaining donors and funders who complement our services.
Aspen Family supports Calgary region children, youth, individuals, families and communities in vulnerable situations to define and build upon their resilience and capacity to successfully navigate their futures through:
Part of a broader community

  •     Individualized strength focused, quality services
  •     Offering research-based and measurable programs
  •     Collaboration with communities, partners and volunteers

Programs designed to help people create better lives. What makes Aspen's approach unique is how it draws upon people's strengths and abilities to introduce positive changes. We work closely with each client to identify their goals and find the best way to help achieve them.Over the years, we have incorporated our strength-based model into a variety of programs designed to meet the changing needs in the community: including programs for people living in poverty, those who are homeless or those at risk of homelessness.Everyone is unique. We all have our certain abilities and talents we can draw upon to guide us through difficult times.





25 Ways to Get Involved

Celebrate this year by getting involved! Aspen has many work and volunteer opportunities as well as a host of events that promise to make 2009 a year to remember. So, come out and make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

* Attend a volunteer information evening to learn about Aspen and get to know some of our dedicated volunteers.

* Get a team together and enjoy the fun at our annual Kurl for Kids event on March 14th.

* Check out Canadian humanitarian Stephen Lewis, named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. He is the keynote speaker at our inaugural gala event at the Stampede Roundup Centre on November 19th.

* Attend a foster care information session in January or September to find out more about our foster care program and the rewards of being a foster parent.

* Join us, along with all Canadians, in celebration of our heritage and National Aboriginal Day at our Open House event in June.

* Donate gently used women's clothing for our Diva For A Day event in November.

* Support our unique Holiday Program which gives families in need a reason to celebrate during the festive season. Your donation means that families will not have to worry about paying for groceries and other bills during the holidays, and instead they can spend their money on creating joyful holiday memories.

* Surf our website to find out more about our programs.

* Consider becoming a residential support home provider for youth who are attending AADAC's 12-week day treatment program or the Alberta Health Services Eating Disorder Clinic.

* Share your story about an experience you've had with Aspen.

* Get a seat and get inspired at our Annual General Meeting and HOPE Awards event in September.

* Calling all dads and kids! Our annual Dad and Me event is a great opportunity for single dads and their kids to spend time together doing a fun project. Last year, dads and their kids enjoyed building child-size picnic tables!

* Introduce yourself to our Executive Director, Shirley Purves or any of our Board of Directors.

* Stuff a backpack full of school supplies for our Back to School campaign in August.

* Make a donation to our Youth Outreach Bus project.

* Help out with our programs that require childcare support; it only requires a couple hours a month!

* Check out our job postings. We are always on the look-out for enthusiastic people who believe in the power of a strength based approach to helping people.

* Learn about Aspen's past 25 years of service to the community by scrolling through our interactive timeline at the top of the page.

* Support Youth Awareness Week and attend our cool youth-friendly event in May. There will be a graffiti artist, a DJ and hip hop dancing.

* Watch for our new 24-passenger minibus where you're out-and-about. This new bus is used as transportation for homeless families and other Aspen program participants.

* Learn about our mentoring program and consider becoming a mentor or share the information with someone you know who might enjoy this opportunity.

* Donate an item for the Kurl for Kids funspiel.

* Tutor a young child that could benefit from extra support with their school work.

* Make a financial contribution to our Empowering Families program, which is aimed at ending the cycle of poverty by helping families become financially stable and live independently.

* Tell one person you know about Aspen and encourage them to get involved in helping people create better lives for themselves and their families.