Who We Are

Who We Are

Sunrise was created in response to community concerns about social problems in Calgary's Eastern Suburbs. In 1997 a number of organisations formed a working committee to address these concerns.

There was an agreement that a centre was needed in East Calgary to provide information dissemination, referrals to services, and accessible programming. In September 2000, Sunrise was established.

 

We have been operating now for nearly 20 years in various locations throughout East Calgary, and have a team of dedicated and hardworking staff and volunteers, helping to better the lives of individuals and families in some of the most economically challenged neighbourhoods in Calgary.

Executive and Management

Community Advocates

Operations and Support

Board of Directors

Executive and Management Team

Executive and Management Team

 

Salimah Kassam, Executive Director

As a collaborator and friend of Sunrise Community Link for the past six years, I have great respect and admiration for the people and the work of this vital and vibrant organization. I am happy to support Sunrise in continuing to be resilient, sustainable, effective and excellent. My career has been committed to finding solutions that work to solve the complex and persistent problem of poverty in our communities. I am excited to work with the Sunrise team and volunteer community, and I believe together, we will design and create a better day-to-day reality for Calgarians living on very low incomes. 

 

A bit more about me:

I am a highly empathetic, resourceful and driven leader who is determined to make meaningful impacts on the people and systems in Calgary. I am driven to envision and execute strategy, galvanize resources, track results, and make lasting shifts in society. I am a subject matter expert in policy development, asset-building, poverty reduction, social housing, community economic development and behavioral economics. As Manager of the Financial Empowerment Network for Untied Way Calgary and Area, I acted as a key player in launching, building and executing Calgary’s poverty reduction plan and Canada’s national financial empowerment movement. Prior to joining United Way, I spent five years working for Momentum, Community Economic Development. During this time, I partnered with individuals and families experiencing living on a low income to create positive financial change in their lives. During my final years at Momentum, I worked to receive a Masters’ in Public Policy from the University of Calgary.

 

I have a deep appreciation for the role art plays in solving complex social issues. Currently, I am the President of the Board at Downstage Theatre, a board member with Cornerstone Youth Centres, and I often volunteer with the Ismaili Muslim community. If you would like to connect over a coffee, please feel free to connect with me.

Melissa Bohnsack,

Manager - People and Programs

Hello, my name is Melissa Bohnsack. I have been working in the human services field for just over ten years. The majority of which has been as Sunrise Community Link. My educational background is in Social Work and Business Administration, as well as some trades experience.

 

I enjoy working at Sunrise Community Link because the programs, staff and board truly follow the agency's vision and mission. I currently work as the Manager of People and Programs at Sunrise. Our goal is to contribute to a stronger community by creating space and encouraging community members to play a leading role in the design of programs and initiatives that they use.

 

Community Advocates

Community Advocates

Luisa Castro,

CRC HUB Community Advocate

"An avid Lord of the Rings fan, partial to the Hobbit. Lover of black tea and good bread. I came to Canada for a new journey far from my native country of Chile. Born in the University District of Santiago some many years ago.  Ever since I could remember I wanted to give back to the community and help others. Through my years of working with refugees, women, homeless youth and low-income families I have gained extensive experience and compassion for those in need. Some of the most gratifying work that I have done was when I helped reunite war-torn families, couples separated by disasters, and siblings pulled apart by civil unrest.

 

I have a great family, including my dog Ginger, named after Ginger Rogers, no relation to Mr. Rogers. I love to read hard-copy books, love learning about history, and  most importantly watching hockey with my boys. 

 

I love Calgary and I know that I’m right where I’m suppose to be; right here helping my community."

Emily McMillan,

Mobile Community Advocate

"I was born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta and relocated to Calgary shortly after the 2013 wildfire to attend school for social work. I have already made so many meaningful connections here, and am always looking for other opportunities to build an even stronger sense of community with others.

 

I am excited to play a role in empowering individuals to reach their full potential, as well as work towards reducing poverty within our city! I love to spend my time volunteering with different grassroots organizations and I am always eager to learn new things. I also have a growing passion for incorporating art and music into my personal social work practice and the activism I do. I am looking forward to my time with the Sunrise team and can’t wait to make a valuable contribution to my new community."

Taylor Johnson,

Community Advocate

"I’m thrilled to be a part of the team at Sunrise Community Link and look forward to all the wonderful adventures I’m sure to have with the community of East Calgary. 

 

One of my favorite things to do is share stories with other community members because stories are magical and transformative. One of my missions in life to create spaces where people feel safe and comfortable enough to share what they feel is important.

 

My family and friends are incredibly important to me. A very important member of my family is Ruthie, my lovely grey cat.

Thanks for reading a bit about me, I hope to one day listen to your story."

Operations and Support Team

Operations and Support Team

 

Chris Fenwick,

Operations Manager

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, I moved to Canada in late 2016. Initially I had just intended to stay for a winter and get some snowboarding in, but then I fell in love with the country and the people here and I decided to stay.

 

Back in New Zealand I worked in the telecommunications industry as a Product Manager. I was excited about the opportunity to work at Sunrise and do something that was a little more fulfilling, helping the amazing people who work here improve the lives of East Calgarians.

 

When not at work I enjoy socialising, sports, travelling, staying active and making the most of the beautiful  surroundings and activities that Alberta has to offer.

Darlene Doskoch,

Program Manager

I am excited to join the amazing team at Sunrise Community Link.  I began my career, fresh out of college, working as a Job Coach and I loved it.  Through out the years I have had the privilege of working with persons with disabilities, persons living with a mental illness and persons experiencing homelessness. 

 

One of the highlights of my career was the development and operation of a transitional housing program in Williams Lake, British Columbia.  I moved to Calgary in 2017; a big shock for a country girl, but I love this city and all it has to offer. 

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my two granddaughters, doing portrait photography or doing work as a Pay It Forward International Ambassador. 

Board of Directors 2019-2020

Board of Directors 2019-2020

 

The Sunrise Board of Directors is a diverse group of highly-skilled volunteers stewarding our organization to achieve positive outcomes in the community. Our Board of Directors determines Sunrise’s strategic direction and governs our organization.

Nicole Olsen - President

Deborah (Lynn) Robbins-Junor - Vice President

Allisa Park - Treasurer

Anson Wu - Director

Larry Wu - Director

Irma Roberts - Director

Lovely Begum - Director

Debbie Davis - Director

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Call Us   (403) 204-8280

Find Us  3303 17 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2A 0R2

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