Newsletter  - July 2016


A Thank You to Lillian and Sonia 

It is with mixed emotions that we are announcing that both Lillian VanGenderen and Sonia Okamoto will be leaving Making Changes this summer. We are very excited for them and the new adventures they are looking to pursue but without a question they will both be sorely missed at Making Changes.
The passion and commitment both ladies have brought to Making Changes and the Closets is truly outstanding and their legacies will live on long after they have left.
Lillian, our Walk-In-Closet Operations Manager, has dedicated 9 years to the Walk-in Closet and her leadership, compassion and dedication have made the program what it is today. Supporting thousands of women over the years.
Sonia, our Program Manager at Best Friend’s Closet, through her passion, leadership, dedication and mentorship to young ladies took the vision of supporting teen girls from an idea to a reality. Sonia greatly contributed to helping more than 1,000 young women feel confident to enter school with their heads held high.

We will forever be grateful for their contribution in building our programs and reputation within the Calgary community and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors. 



Welcome Bijal and Marcela


It is our great pleasure to announce that we have two new ladies joining the Making Changes team.
Bijal Dattani has accepted the role of the Walk-in Closet Program Manager. Bijal brings a wealth of experience to Making Changes having worked for a variety of companies in the corporate and non-profit sectors. Bijal volunteered as a co-facilitator in our Employment and Life Skills Program during the January 2016 session. She holds Bachelor in Education in French and a Bachelor of Art in French.
Marcela Zafra has accepted the position of My Best Friend’s Closet Program Manager. Many of you will know Marcela from her extensive volunteer work at Making Changes. She has regularly volunteered as an Image Consultant at My Best Friend’s Closet and has been a strong member of our events sub-committee.
Marcela has Bachelor's Degrees in both Business Administration and International Marketing and Advertising.
Both ladies bring a ton of energy, enthusiasm and passion for our cause to the team. A warm welcome to Bijal and Marcela!




Save the Dates! 

September 21st, 2016: Making Changes Association Annual General Meeting

This event will be held at Making Changes Association in the evening on September 21st. More details to come soon!

October 20th, 2016: YYC - Chic

Making Changes has been supporting women in the community for 20 years and to celebrate we will be hosting the first edition of YYC - Chic. This fundraising event will be held on October 20th, 2016 at Civic on Third and will showcase the best in local fashion, art, beauty and cultures. More information will be available shortly and tickets will soon be available for purchase  on our website at 


more information coming soon!

Summer Hours and Urgent Needs

Making Changes will gratefully accept donations for both our Closets this summer. 

For July and August, donations can be dropped off on the following days:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm on July 9th and 23rd and on August 6th, 20th and 27th.
At this time, we would really appreciate receiving:
  • Summer outerwear such as coats and jackets
  • Handbags
  • Jewellery: Stylish necklaces, bracelets, eating and rings
  • New cosmetics: lipsticks, foundation, eye shadow etc.

Until July 29th, anyone who brings in donations to our Closets can enter their name into a draw for a chance to win a gift basket of LIERAC Paris skincare and Phyto haircare products. Please take a few minutes to fill-in a ballot next time you come by!



Agents of Change - A Great Way to Give to Making Changes 

Agents of Change connects caring home buyers and sellers with talented agents from leading real estate companies and directs 20% of the commission back to a charitable organization. Recently, our new Program Manager, Marcela Zafra and her husband decided to use Agents of Change for the purchase of their first home. We are extremely grateful that they decided to direct their donation to Making Changes and we want to share with you Marcela’s account of her experience with Agents of Change.
“When we decided to buy our first home we were scared and had a million questions. The first one was very obvious, how to find the perfect realtor? We wanted someone who could help us find our perfect home but at the same time gave us unbiased and professional advice, guiding us to make a smart decision. Friends of ours highly recommended Agents of Change. Personally I loved the idea that a realtor was motivated to donate part of their commission to a nonprofit organization of our choice. Since I had been volunteering at Making Changes over the past 2 years, there was no hesitation when the realtor asked us where the money was going go. 
It was our first experience with a realtor, and I firmly believe we were in the best of hands. We really enjoyed and learned a lot from the entire process. During the first couple of months the realtor educated us on the housing market, the different types of options we had and helped us prioritize what we really wanted in a house. The realtor also asked us questions to make us think about our needs and preferences regarding our lifestyle and future. 
We will definitely use Agents of Change in the future and we will recommend it to all of our friends.  We have already moved in to our new home and we are loving it! We raised $1,828.57 for Marking Changes and it was amazing to be able to support an organization close to your heart when buying our home! “


Learn more about AGENTS OF CHANGE 


 Employment and Life Skills Program

The next sessions of our Employment and Life Skills Program will be held this fall. Our session at the Genesis Centre will start on Wednesday, October 19th. The date for our other fall session will be announced shortly on our website.

We will start accepting registration for both sessions on September 1st. 

To register, email Elaine Lupul at Please include your name, telephone number, immigration status, your childcare needs and the ages and gender of your children (if childcare needed).


Learn more about the employement and life skills program


Bouquet of Thanks

We are very appreciative to everyone who contributes in various ways to the success of our organization. This month, we would like to acknowledge the following individuals and organizations:

  • Thank you to everyone who supported Making Changes through June Dresses including: YEG Girls, Elevated HR Solutions, Pretty Amazing, Mad Media, Naghmeh Heshami, Natasha Rogers and Laura Ginter. The donations you collected will help us support our programs and empower more women and teen girls.
  • Special thanks also go to Wunmi Akinlosotu and Vivian Caceres for their valuable assistance with the Employment and Life Skills Programs this spring.




 Making Changes Employment Association of Alberta. © 2015