Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:04 am Post subject: Golden Jubilee Gardens
Gesture hits home Family thrilled with new residence sponsored by community
By TARINA WHITE, SUN MEDIA
Last Updated: 6th June 2009, 2:59am
Eight low-income Calgary families have realized the dream of home ownership, thanks to Habitat for Humanity, which gave them a tour of their new digs yesterday.
It was an emotional day for Marsha and Larry Flamond, who have long wanted to provide a stable home for their two young children.
The couple, who currently live in a home subsidized by the Metis Urban Housing Corp., will move into their newly constructed Mayland Heights duplex in a few weeks.
Habitat for Humanity volunteers built the home -- as well as seven others along 16 St. N.E. -- and the families receive a boost in the form of an interest-free mortgage with no downpayment.
"This is a dream come true for us -- it's just going to change our lives completely," said Marsha.
"We've been in subsidized housing for a few years now -- it's almost like once you get in, it's hard to get out."
The couple's 11-year-old son, Robert, and eight-year-old daughter, Judy, have already picked their bedrooms.
"It's very exciting because it's the first home that we own," said Robert.
Added Judy: "It's ours to keep forever."
The Ismaili Muslim Community of Calgary sponsored the construction of the eight new homes through Habitat for Humanity, said president Nashir Samanani.
"This initiative is a reflection of our commitment to eliminating poverty in society -- one of the core principles of Islam," he said, adding 600 members of the Ismaili community worked on the homes. Funding has also been provided by the province, the corporate community and other individuals.
The housing development is named Golden Jubilee Gardens, in honour of the 50th anniversary of the leadership of Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community.
Generations programme expansion brings families closer together
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II of the Generations: Multi-Generational Housing and Community Centre campus on 3 November 2017.
Generations is located in Northeast Calgary and is developed and maintained by the Ismaili Council for the Prairies to help address Alberta’s aging population. The number of seniors in the province is set to grow by 50 per cent over the next 10 years. Generations was originally launched during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee in 2007, undertaken in response to the goal of taking care of the aged. The aim was to assist elderly members of the Jamat to live happy, healthy, and dignified lives, and encouraging them to play a positive, active role in their families and communities.
The first phase, which is now home to 55 residents aged 55-90, was completed in 2012. Since its opening, regular programming at the centre includes physical fitness classes, presentations on nutrition and well-being, and a variety of social activities.
The second phase of the Generations campus will add 120 assisted and long-term care units to the 40 single and double-bed rental units currently housed in Phase I. Thirty-one of the new units will be for residents with dementia. Phase II will also add an early childhood development centre as well as a multi-purpose community centre, which will include a social hall, library, technology centre, and classrooms.
“What that will do is allow for interaction between different ages — seniors and adults in the Jamat will come to drop off their children to the early childhood centre and visit their parents and loved ones who are in the long-term care centre,” said Ameerally Kassim-Lakha, chairman of the Multi-Generational Housing and Community Centre board. “That level of activity and visitation ensures people don’t get isolated or forgotten.”
President of the Ismaili Council for the Prairies, Fauzia Lalani-Khudabux, explained how the second phase will complement the current one.
“We’re seeing that the residents that came here for independent living are aging, so the timing of Phase II is perfect because some of them can continue on the journey of Generations and Inshallah be able to move into Phase II,” she said. “When the entire campus is completed, we will have open spaces, parks, and facilities that are not only going to be the envy of the city but will be open and utilised by the residents within this community.”
Phase III of the Generations Multi-Generational Housing and Community Centre campus, currently in its planning stage, will consist of affordable multi-family housing.
President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, Malik Talib, explained in his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony that the vision for Generations is to have grandparents, parents, and children all living near each other, “keeping everyone together while making sure everyone also has their independence — a concept to deliver programmes through a strong volunteer infrastructure that enables individuals to contribute to improving the quality of life of everyone around them.”
The voices of Generations: A Community for Inter-Generational Living
Generations, a Multi-Generational Housing and Community Centre campus in Skyview Ranch, Calgary, is one of fifty Golden Jubilee projects launched globally in 2008 to improve the quality of life in our communities.
Phase I of the project includes Independent Seniors Affordable Housing Rental Units that were introduced in November 2012. The first of three phases, the campus takes a holistic and community centred approach to caring for our senior Jamati members, offering programming and spaces that provide the appropriate physical, medical, social, emotional and spiritual care.
But what does this really mean? For the fifty residents between the ages of 55 - 95, living in the forty Independent Seniors Rental units, it means that they have found a family in one another. As I sit at a round table with them in their social space, and listen to their stories of how they came to form their own community, they each echo one another’s sentiments: that what they love most about living at Generations is that they are there for each other.
Amir, who takes special requests from his neighbours before going grocery shopping, reflects, “This is my family. My wife passed away. If something happens, I know I can rely on them, and I hope they feel that they can rely on me too.”
Parin enjoys cooking for many of the other residents, including Gulbanu, a 93-year-old, whom she knew from their life in Tanzania. She tells me that Gulbanu used to take care of her when she was a younger woman, and now she feels blessed that she has an opportunity to reciprocate.
The group comes together for fitness sessions, computer classes, social events, prayers and more. “In the evening, we sit down, we have chai, we chat and we socialize,” says Anish, the volunteer program coordinator for phase I. As part of the inter-generational approach to programming, Bait ul-Ilm students visit the residents regularly on weekends. “They said prayers with us, sang for us and asked us questions about our life story,” says Nargis, who has lived at Generations for just over a year.
The seniors are eager for the upcoming opening of Phase II of the Generations campus which will consist of 120 designated supportive living and long-term care units, including 31 units for residents with dementia. This next phase has been designed with spaces so that our seniors can flourish in all aspects of life - a theatre, library and arts/crafts area, exercise room, bistro, community dining, gardens and green spaces, and more.
Residents from both Phases I and II will have opportunities to participate in free activities including painting and other art projects, movies, table tennis, musical therapy, as well as gardening. Access will be available for events and programs in the multi-purpose hall, adult day-stay wellness programs, and engaging in activities with children from the on-site Early Childhood Development Centre. With so many programs taking place, the vision is for Generations to become a hub for inter-generational activities that are supported through a strong volunteer engagement program. A well-equipped volunteer lounge will provide our volunteers a space to connect and learn together.
Before leaving, Nizar Ali, Parin’s husband, invites me to his home, and we have dinner together, cooked by Parin. He tells me to come back soon and that their door is always open.
I cannot wait to return to see this incredible group of people again. You also can join the Generations community as a resident, volunteer or employee. For more information on how to get involved, please email us or leave a message at +1 (403) 215-6200 ext 7704.
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