The ITAL-CANADIAN SENIORS ASSOCIATION is a non-profit organization that has been registered under the Societies Act since September 1986. We also have charitable status under the federal government.
In 1988, after obtaining a parcel of land from the City of Edmonton, we built an outdoor bocce court consisting of three lanes at a cost of $60,000. With the membership continuing to grow, we saw the necessity of building – a Drop-In Centre for our meetings and activities. In 1991, we built a 5,000 square foot centre at a cost of $600,000. In 1994, we constructed a building enclosing the bocce courts and allowing an area for card games, other games and several other daily activities. On the second floor were located a library, boardroom, offices, and an arts and craft room. Part of the funding for this project, the cost of which was $520,000, was contributed by The Wild Rose Foundation and the Community Facility Enhancement Program. In 1996, we had to expand and renovate the main hall as well as the parking lot at costs of over $480,000. It should be noted that 70% of the total cost of each phase of the construction at the Centre was paid by our association by fundraising activities– bingos, casinos, and catered functions being the most lucrative ones.
Since the start of our association, we have been dedicated to carrying out the mandate of our organization. The objects of the society are to provide for the social and recreational needs of its membership, to promote and afford opportunity for social, friendly activities and to interact with other organizations. As well, our goals were and still are to work very hard to provide educational, recreational, cultural and social activities for the seniors and the general public at large in the city of Edmonton and the surrounding area. We strive to improve our skills by communicating, cooperating, and working together with other agencies that have common goals.
Our Drop-in Centre is used not only by our members but by all Edmontonians and surrounding municipalities. It is used for recreational activities such as card games and bocce. Classes in sewing, knitting, crocheting, paper tole, and Italian cuisine have been offered by volunteers and attended in great numbers. Workshops and seminars dealing with various topics of interest to the general public and to Seniors have also been held at the Centre. Also, our coordinator has facilitated, as needed, the process of filing applications from the public to access the various government social programs available to them.
The facilities are also used, free of charge, by many organizations for their various needs. Some of the groups making use of our facilities are COM.IT.ES. (Comitato Italiani al Estero), Ital-Canadian Soccer Club, Minerva Seniors Studies (through Grant McEwan College), various dance troupes and many others. Also, teachers from St. Cecilia Junior High School, Cardinal Leger Junior High School and O’Leary High School frequently bring their classes here to experience immersion in an Italian environment and to learn how to play “bocce”, which is a very traditional Italian game resembling lawn bowling.
We have a full time Chef/Manager and one part-time paid staff who works three days a week in the position of program co-ordinator / administrator. All the rest of the activities at the Centre are made possible by volunteers. We have over 161 volunteers who help with the delivering of activities annually as well as being active in fund-raising. The volunteer hours recorded last year amounted to over 6,770. Our funding comes from casinos (which are usually assigned every 18 months), bingos (held year round), recreational hall & bar as well as from catered banquets which are held in our main hall. Were it not for the many hours of free time given by the volunteers to the Ital-Canadian Seniors Association, the association would not be able to carry on its programs and its activities.
- BOCCE TEAMS — offered daily, evening, weekend
- OUTREACH PROGRAM WITH SCHOOLS — Ongoing
- INFORMATIONAL SEMINARS — Ongoing
- WORK-OUT ROOM — Ongoing
- MEMBERSHIP & VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION DINNERS + ACTIVITIES
- EXCURSIONS- bus trips to USA/Canada and exchange visits with Calgary Seniors
- RECREATION/SOCIAL BAR/BIG SCREEN TV — daily for social interaction
- FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES — casino & bingo
- HOLIDAY DINNERS — Christmas, New Years, Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving for the community-at-large
- BANQUET & CATERING SERVICES — open to the public, staffed by volunteers
- SENIORS/YOUTH SUMMER CAMP
- MEMORY LANE PROJECTA
- DVD with youth interviewing seniors
- A recorded history of the Italian pioneers and their experiences in Canada
- OUTREACH PROGRAM
- To institute an outreach program to Italian seniors in hospitals, nursing homes, and shut-ins.