How Team CLN is Giving Back this Holiday Season

Lisa Dickner, Community Learning Network

1 1 22 December 2015

What a wonderful year it has been here at CLN! Over the last twelve months I have seen a lot of changes and one of my favourites has been adding five new Regional Support Staff (RSS) to our team. I have really enjoyed our ‘learning journey’ both professionally and personally. In getting to know these wonderful women, I asked each if they would share a little bit about their own holiday traditions, including how they give back to their communities. Travel with me virtually around the province to hear from members of Team CLN…

Tanis Harms, RSS North
Tanis Harms

Something our family enjoys being involved in at Christmas time is "building shoeboxes" for kids in need. These shoeboxes (cardboard or plastic) are filled with special toys, hygiene products, and treats. An organization called Samaritan's Purse hand delivers the gifts, along with the message about the true meaning of Christmas, to children who are in need around the world.

We love heading to the stores as a family to intentionally choose what we think our "mystery" gift receiver would like, or if there's not a chance to get to the stores, we "build a shoebox" online at:

What a blessing to give as we have been blessed with so much. Merry Christmas!


Cheryl Hollidge, RSS Central

The Salvation Army is a charity very dear to my heart. Growing up, I watched my Nana and many others give countless hours of their time behind the scenes of this organization. I remember going with her to the Hamilton warehouse and listening to her stories of the many times and ways being involved with the “Sally Ann” touched her life. These are some of my fondest memories.

My family has so much to be grateful for. For all the year’s struggles and uncertainties, we have a home, food, and, most importantly, each other. We support the Salvation Army so they may continue to be there for those who are not so fortunate this holiday season.

Val Rathjen, RSS East-Central

The Flagstaff Christmas Sharing Project is a community tradition run in our county by our local Food Bank and FFCS (Flagstaff Family Community Services).

People donate food (including turkeys, of course), gifts and cash to support families in our communities. This year, over 100 family packages were done up, which include food and gifts for each family member.

You can learn more about how this project comes together at:


Terri Peters, RSS South

I made a donation of Coop Grocery Gift Certificates to the SouthWest Communities Resource Centre, which is just a few blocks from my home. It was a request they had made in our local community newsletter. And I did a little bit of consulting work with them in the last year, with funding through FESA, to help them become more literacy-friendly with their clients, so made a great connection then.

To learn more about the SouthWest Communities Resource Centre:


Corrie Rhyasen Erdman, RSS West-Central

Over the last few years, Team CLN has made it a holiday tradition at the CLN office to do something special as a team. This year, I was pleased to once again join my colleagues from the provincial CLN office in Edmonton to be part of this tradition. This year, we asked the Edmonton Food Bank what is most needed on their shelves, and made a special shopping trip as a team to pick up some of the items that are in high demand, and deliver them to the Food Bank.

TeamCLN at the Edmonton Food Bank
(L to R: Lisa Dickner, Odette Lloyd, Mahsa Jalali, Lisa Donald, Corrie Rhyasen Erdman)

So that’s how Team CLN is sharing some holiday cheer this year – right across the province.

Wishing you and all of yours safe and happy holidays. See you in 2016!


Lisa Dickner,
Executive Director


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