Volume 3: June 1, 2022 – Special 10th Anniversary Issue
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On June 29, 2012, SWESA
started with a group of
determined seniors and a
dream to create a seniors
activity centre in southwest
Edmonton. It’s time now to
mark this milestone as we
celebrate 10 years of
programming for older
adults. SWESA will
celebrate starting with an
Anniversary Party on June
9th from 1:00-4:00 at the
Blue Quill Community
Centre. There will be
demonstrations, a 50/50 and
more. Details will be sent to
SWESA members and
guests. To RSVP or for
more info CLICK HERE
Happy 10th Anniversary SWESA!
As you read through this newsletter, I hope that you will be
as impressed as I am to see how far SWESA has come in
10 short years. The initial idea for SWESA was
spearheaded by the Terwillegar Riverbend Advisory
Council (TRAC) under President Rob Agostinis, Seniors
Representative Glenn Kissick and the City of Edmonton.
The 10th anniversary symbol is tin, representing strength,
resilience, and longevity. To be successful, an organization
needs to be flexible and stable, and able to bend without
being broken. This has certainly proven to be the case for
Staying true to our mission of empowering older adults in
southwest Edmonton to be active and socially engaged,
the SWESA Board continues to work tirelessly to ensure
that we are positioned to be here for our members and the
older adults in our community now and in the future.
cont’d on page 2
Hello Neighbour Project
As part of our Anniversary Celebrations, SWESA is launching the “Hello Neighbour – We Want
to Meet You” project to reach out into the broader seniors community in SW Edmonton. The
funding for this project has come from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors
Program. CLICK HERE to read about this exciting project and participate.
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Get your coffee now
SWESA News is now
This Anniversary edition is
longer, full of wonderful
memories. So sit back, sip
your coffee and enjoy.
Annual Appeal 2022
For the 4th year, an
community donor has
pledged another $10,000
in a matching donation to
the Annual Appeal. This
person, who wishes to
remain anonymous, has
now given a total of
$45,000 to SWESA!
Two additional early
donations of $5,000 each
have been received to
match this. We are well on
our way to meet SWESA’s
$40,000 Annual Appeal
During this summer, Mike
Bull, Appeal lead, will be
reaching out to our
“Friends of SWESA”.
These are members and
others who have made a
commitment to support
SWESA in the past. We
hope their ongoing support
will ensure we are ready
for the official October 1st
Annual Appeal launch.
To learn more about the
Appeal and Friends of
SWESA, CLICK HERE.
President’s Letter cont’d
Key to creating a sense of identity for older adults in
southwest Edmonton is to have a permanent home base for
large group programming and staffed services. To this end,
a Building Reserve Fund has been established. Priorities for
the next three years include developing a Board recruitment
strategy and recruiting staff to manage operations. We will
focus on developing partnerships and collaborations to
support the coordination of services for older adults and to
grow our Building Reserve Fund. We are expanding service
responses to low resourced older adults and ensuring that
we remain diverse and inclusive.
As a charitable association, volunteers are the heart of our
success. Not only does volunteering provide a sense of
fulfillment for having made a meaningful contribution to
enhance the quality of life in their community, but volunteers
also increase the human resource capacity of our
association and provide innovative ideas, experience, and
leadership. The Tin Man, in the book The Wizard of Oz by L.
Frank Baum, said it perfectly when he said, “You people
with hearts have something to guide you and need never do
Congratulations SWESA! Together we are making a
difference and I look forward to what the future has in store.
Read this before you say, “Not me.” – you might be
a perfect addition to the SWESA Board
The work of the Board is to steer SWESA forward. We figure
out what members want in programming, what opportunities
there are to partner with community members, what
everything will cost and how we will find the funding. We
organize work in committees so we can engage other
SWESA members and use their talents.
We’re all retired or semi-retired, enjoying that phase of our
life and at the same time, giving a couple of years towards
building this resource for seniors in SW Edmonton.
Some of us have Board experience, some don’t. To talk to
one of us on the Board, email email@example.com.
All of the people that have led the development of SWESA so far are
people just like you. They stepped up to develop this wonderful resource.
Consider your turn.
2011-2012 The initial idea for SWESA
was spearheaded by the Terwillegar
Riverbend Advisory Council (TRAC)
under President Rob Agostinis, Glenn
Kissick (seniors representative on TRAC)
and the City of Edmonton. New to SW
Edmonton, Glenn noticed right away that
something was missing. “There was no
place for seniors to gather.’ TRAC
planned several open forums, inviting city
representatives, seniors associations and
seniors. An Advisory Committee was
established and, at the final forum, TRAC
provided $500 in seed money and asked
who would step up to take this further
and develop the bylaws to become a non
profit society. David Faber offered to lead
a planning committee for this interim
work, inspired by the experience of his
grandmother in searching for
Significant to the planning was the CIty’s
designation for this to be a seniors
activity centre responsible to address the
interests of seniors in a large district from
the Whitemud Freeway south to 41st Ave
SW and from the Calgary Trail west to
On June 29, 2012, the planning
committee filed an application to register
SWESA as a non profit society. To
announce the creation of SWESA to the
public, a Fair was held at the William
Lutksy YMCA. Over 400 people attended
and representatives from all three levels of
government attended and voiced support for SWESA.
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Initial 2011 meeting between TRAC and city staff
to discuss needs of seniors in the southwest.
From L to R: Glenn Kissick, Linda Bombardieri,
Rob Agostinis, Alisa Wheeler and Laura
First Open Forum in October 2011 to discuss
needs for seniors representation in south
2013 – 2014 President Phil
Brooks led the first Board in the
early stages of developing what
SWESA would become.
Statements of mission, vision and
values were drafted by this first
Board and endorsed by the
members. Board meetings were
initially held in Tim Hortons, in
borrowed spaces and dining rooms.
When the first grant came through,
a lease was signed for space at
Yellowbird East Community Centre –
and there was finally a place to call
home. A website was created to
add a virtual presence and enable
us to communicate more broadly. A
population based Needs
Assessment was done to identify
the interests of seniors and from that the first ‘program’ was offered – then called
“Coffee, Chat ’n’ Cards”. The first AGM was attended by 75 people and included a
performance by the GeriActors . Phil said “The most meaningful SWESA experience for
me came later, phoning members during the pandemic. I realized how much it means to
have someone to connect with.”
2014 – 2017 President Carol Bigam bravely stepped forward, admitting no Board
experience but having a real passion for what SWESA could become. She jumped right
in updating the bylaws and directing the grant applications. Carol said, “I wrote my first
grant application and it was thrilling to receive a grant of $100K!” The grant enabled the
hire of the first Program Coordinator, Alex Santos. Coffee and Chat expanded to the
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Front L to R: Barbara Olsen, Phil Brooks, David
Nichiporik. Back: a guest at the Board Meeting, Joe
Roberts, Mac Fysh, Carol Bigam, Elnora Hibbert
Sept 2012 SWESA Fair
from L to R James
Rajotte MP, Fred Horne
MLA, SWESA Committee
Chair David Faber, City
Councillor Linda Sloan,
City Councillor Bryan
Terwillegar Recreation Centre.
SWESA began hosting
luncheons, with volunteers
organizing, cooking and serving
the food. SWESA hosted their
first Pancake Breakfast for the
community at the Blue Quill
Community Hall. Information
booths at the Terwillegar Farmers
Market and a biweekly newsletter
spread the word about SWESA.
A second staff member, Barbara
Newell, was contracted to run
SWESA’s arm of the city-wide
Seniors Home Supports
Program. Bus trips began in
2016 to Holden and to the
2017- 2018 President Judy Baker remembers a turning point in SWESA’s history.
During a strategic planning session, in the midst of sticky notes, she said, “I suddenly
realized that we’re not just a coffee group anymore; we need to think bigger.” During
her tenure, for the first time there was a full Board of 12 members which made a huge
difference in sharing the work to be done and drawing on the talent of the team. Front
desk volunteers started to welcome members. Volunteer numbers grew. Luncheons
grew in popularity with entertainment and themes that were just plain fun. The first
casino fundraiser was in May 2017. Barry Headrick volunteered as Webmaster. “It was
work and still is,” said Judy who continues to support the Board, “but volunteering with
SWESA keeps my mind active and I stay engaged with people.”
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2017-18 SWESA Board: Rob Agostinis, Judith Abbott, Judy Baker, Liz Tondu, Bob
Power, Lawrence Tymko, Bob Hoddinott, Carol Vaage, Shirley Adam, Fred Rumpel,
Chris Powell, Sam Radke
2016 SWESA Board: Front L to R Judy Baker, Carol Bigam,
Barbara Olsen. Back L to R Phil Brooks, Rama Banerjee Lall,
Ellen Frombach, Shirley Adam, Lawrence Tymko
Apr 2018 – Dec 2018 Fred Rumpel was President during a transitional phase of
SWESA’s development. Program space was at a premium and options for
expansion were being discussed. Our first membership survey was conducted.
Fundraising efforts were underway and we held our first gala event – Under the
Tuscan Sun. Fred resigned in December 2018 due to ill health.
Dec 2018 – Apr 2019 Chris Powell was appointed President on the resignation of
Fred Rumpel and then elected President at the AGM in April 2019. She resigned in
May 2019. Chris was responsible for implementing the purchase and use of the
MySeniorCenter (MSC) data system. She was instrumental in SWESA’s successful
application for charitable status.
May 2019 – May 2022 Josie Richardson’s tenure has been one like no other! The
COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 brought the world to a standstill but SWESA
forged on. Members rallied together to support SWESA and each other. Technology was
embraced and became front and centre to communicating and staying connected.
Virtual programming was offered and Zoom meetings became the norm. Staff and
volunteers worked to enhance the reporting capabilities of the MySeniorCentre
database, and the option for members to register and pay for programs and events
online was introduced. A new program coordinator and business manager were hired.
The first Annual Appeal was launched in 2020 and raised $46,578. This was followed by
an equally successful campaign in 2021. Membership remained high in comparison to
other senior centres serving a large population area. For the first time, SWESA began
offering full-time programs/activities from both the Yellowbird East and Blue Quill
Community League Centres in March 2022. “Members tell me,” says Josie, “that their
pandemic experience has made it so clear that we all want to live life to the fullest and
SWESA offers so much in the way of people connections and friendships.”
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2021 50:50 Draw
L to R: Donna Coombs-Montrose (SWESA Member), President Josie Richardson,
Treasurer Catherine Hammond, Funding Committee Co-Chairs Rob Agostinis and
Tony Montrose, Terri Krissie (SWESA Member), Eliza Encenarial (Charity 50/50 Raffle
Inc) and Past Board Member Bob Power
SWESA Membership Memories
Long time SWESA members were asked to look back over the last 10 years
and share favourite memories.
Margaret Corbett, at 93, enjoys
meeting new people at SWESA and
listening to one another over coffee.
She says she learned a lot from other
One of Fran Webster’s best times at
SWESA was being part of a square
dancing group. She enjoys meeting
new people over Bridge and exercise
Jim Quilley has many fond memories
of SWESA where he has made lots of
friends and enjoyed meeting them at
restaurants. Jim and his wife Pat
enjoyed volunteering with the
Elnora Hibbert was on the first Board
and remembers the many challenges
at the beginning. She says the
Program Coordinators have been so
wonderful in guiding SWESA. Her
heart always remains at SWESA.
Shirley Adam felt that SWESA is a
place of friendliness, goodwill and
familiarity. She enjoyed the bus trips
going to the Casino, Calgary Zoo and
Rosebud Theatre. Her best memories
are of the luncheons.
Peggy Scott was new to Edmonton
and joined SWESA to meet people.
She put the library together at YECC
and enjoyed the social programs,
saying she met some swell people at
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Graham Scott said the social
gatherings and luncheons were so
much fun. One best memory was
playing Canasta with 3 men against 3
ladies. ‘THE MEN WON!’
Shahin Akbary-Soofi was new to
Edmonton when she joined SWESA
while still working; she was the
youngest senior at the time. She’s
developed deep friendships with people
who have made quite an impact in her
life, learning from their experiences of
Bruce Tindall has good memories of
the luncheons and bus trips to see the
Magna Carta, the Shaw TV Studio, the
Ukrainian Village and the Manluk
Theatre in Wetaskiwin.
Mimi Tindall enjoyed editing the weekly
bulletin and program guides. She felt
the programming was amazing with
something for everyone. She so
appreciates SWESA friendships.
Doug and Evelyn Carter met many
wonderful people on out of town trips,
the lunches and the social programs.
Doug helped set up the lunches and
Ann McNabb stepped up when SWESA
needed volunteer co-ordination. Ann
says everyone is so positive and
Leona Penner said she met many
wonderful people and developed some
connections while volunteering in the
office and helping organize the monthly
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Rick Hernder really enjoyed his time
volunteering as a lunch coordinator.
He now enjoys the Essentrics exercise
Bob Power likes to keep busy, and busy
he has been – helping SWESA with
fundraising, organizing volunteers for
Taste of Edmonton, gathering door prizes
for special events and so much more.
Carol Moore at 79, enjoys exercise,
dance and walking classes to stay active.
She misses the social gatherings that
were postponed during COVID-19.
To enjoy more of the great photos from our 10 year history CLICK HERE
If you have a favourite memory of the last 10 years, let us know for the next SWESA
News. Write the Editor, Kathy Trepanier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You told us
In February 2022 SWESA surveyed members on the Friday Weekly Bulletin and the
biannual SWESA News. The Weekly Bulletin was well liked as is with no changes.
Most respondents suggested SWESA News be distributed by email rather than by
paper mail. There were many other more specific suggestions that will be incorporated
into upcoming editions. There are only a few members without email. SWESA will call
them when SWESA News is produced and offer a paper copy.
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Members are returning from their pandemic imposed isolation and practically skipping
back to SWESA to enjoy being with people again. As of May 1, 2022, our membership is
- To become a member or to check your membership status, CLICK HERE.
Volunteer shout out!
There are so many wonderful volunteers at SWESA . One of the next editions of
SWESA News will feature SWESA volunteers. If you know of someone that should be
profiled, write the Editor at email@example.com.
Contact us if you have any questions or suggestions for future SWESA News.
Phone: 587 987 3200 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to our photographers Barry
Headrick and Rob Agnostinis without
whom we would not have all these
wonderful photos and history!
Mayor Amarjeet Sohi
“I thank the SouthWest Edmonton
Seniors Association for their continued
work in supporting Edmonton’s senior
population. You have created a
welcoming environment that fosters a
sense of belonging in our city.
Congratulations on your 10-year
Matt Jeneroux, MP
“Congratulations on SWESA’s 10th
Anniversary! Your continued dedication to
our community is just simply remarkable
and I continue to look forward to seeing
SWESA actively enriching the lives of our
seniors for many more years into the
Rakhi Pancholi, MLA
“Congratula+ons to SWESA on your 10th
anniversary! SWESA’s work to reach out
to seniors during the pandemic
demonstrated your commitment to
building community in uncertain +mes. I
look forward to working with all of you in
the coming years to make southwest
Edmonton a great place to call home for
all of us.”
City Councillor Jennifer Rice
“I would like to take this opportunity to
thank SWESA for the amazing work they
are doing in our communities. Supporting
our seniors and organizations that
contribute to their quality of life is very
dear to my heart. Congratulations
SWESA on your 10th Anniversary and
continuing success for years to come!”
City Councillor Michael Janz
“SWESA has been a great benefit to the
communities of southwest Edmonton,
empowering seniors through meaningful
programs and activities. On behalf of the
City, I’d like to offer my congratulations
and thanks to all the incredible SWESA
volunteers, staff and members.”
City Councillor Tim Cartmell
“Happy 10th Anniversary to SWESA!
Thank you for making vibrant
communities for our Seniors in Southwest
Edmonton. I wish you many more years
City Counciilor Andrew Knack
“It is my pleasure to congratulate the
South West Edmonton Seniors
Association on celebrating their 10th
Anniversary. Our community is incredibly
lucky to have dedicated
community members who are
committed to fostering an age friendly
community for all with a focus on
ensuring high quality of life at all stages
whether through programs or other
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating
Council – Exec Dir. Sheila Hallett
“The determination and foresight that
sparked the development of SWESA has
carried the organization a long way and
you should be proud of all you have
done. Through the Seniors Home Support
Program, you have provided hundreds of
older adults in your area with connections
to services for aging in place and you’ve
been a great collaborative partner
throughout. Well done. Congratulations!”
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Thank you to Chartwell Retirement Residences!
Chartwell Retirement Residences is the first organization to enter into a
Co-operation Agreement with SWESA. Through this arrangement, there are a
number of mutually beneficial activities and sponsorships that will occur for the
balance of 2022.
Chartwell provided desserts at the SWESA Mexican Fiesta luncheon and on
June 9th, at the Anniversary Party, Chartwell will provide cupcakes for all
attendees – adding greatly to the feeling of festivity.
Chartwell contributed to the 2021 Annual Appeal and will be contributing to the
2022 Annual Appeal as well. Watch for a giant cheque presentation that will be
Chartwell will offer two bus tours of their facilities with a private bus, VIP tour and
Once our weather warms up Chartwell will set up outdoor information booths for
SWESA members and the general public to learn more about the Chartwell
Chartwell offered “Fit Minds” to SWESA members, an 8 week cognitive stimulation
and resiliency program at Blue Quill Community Centre.
Chartwell will work with April, our Program Coordinator, to offer monthly
educational sessions at SWESA’s Wise Talks.
SWESA is very pleased to have this new relationship with Chartwell.