Construction is underway on the Social Enterprise Hub! The three-storey 15,000 square feet building will house organizations and micro entrepreneurs in the city which aim to reduce poverty.
In honour of our former colleague and Money Matter$ Coordinator, Judi Chisholm, and to promote the importance of financial literacy month, the Saint John Community Loan Fund launched the Judi Chisholm Memorial Financial Literacy Bursary – $500. This will be an annual bursary given to one of the Loan Fund’s many clients who take the Money Matter$ program. The bursary recipient (s) will be chosen for their demonstrated use of the skills taught in Money Matter$ and for their movement towards financial and personal goals. The bursary will be promoted each November and given out at the end of the month. To apply for the bursary, former MM$ participants must hand in the application form.
Judi passed away in September 2013 and was an incredibly valued part of our team. We urge others who can to consider donating to this annual bursary in honour of Judi and in support of deserving individuals working to get ahead. Pledges can be made by calling our office at 652-5626 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send donations directly to 133 Prince Edward St., Saint John, NB E2L 3S3.
Farewell Blog Post by Hannah Blizzard, Youth Programs Coordinator:
Time flies when you’re having fun; these are perhaps the truest and most relatable words I have heard in a long time. As far as the clichéd caption goes, I have been having nothing but fun.
The unique nature of the Loan Fund has allowed me to develop strong relationships with each of my coworkers. I cannot begin to describe the degree of sadness I will feel when the realization hits that I won’t be able to share smiles with each of my wonderful colleagues every day- until then I will gladly bury my head in the sand until that happens.
The environment here is so welcoming. There wasn’t a moment that I didn’t feel included or part of the team, despite my short stay as a summer student. Everyone was always willing to teach me something new even it had absolutely nothing to do with my program.
The times that I shared with the youth this summer were joyous and educational. Educational for the kids because of the nature of my program, educational for me because the kids always had something to teach me in return.
There were also times that I found very challenging. Moments that forced me to reach outside of my comfort zone. Moments that test me in ways that I had never experienced before. Because of this I have been able to grow on not only a professional level but on a personal level as well.
The wonderful experience that is making a positive impact on youth has and will go unmatched in my lifetime. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to make a difference in my home community.
Moving forward I wish everyone the best of luck with all of the exciting upcoming things. The Social Enterprise Hub, the revamped Enterprising Women Program and the continuations of Money Matters, and Assets. Seth, Liann, Christina, Gary and Erica, thank you. You all deserve nothing but the best.
YES and Hatching Dragons
Tel: (506) 652-5626
If you are a woman who has been thinking of starting your own business or is already in the works of starting one, consider this great opportunity!
The Saint John Community Loan Fund is currently accepting applications for the Enterprising Women Program. This 15-week training program is designed for women who want to start their own small to medium sized business.
Participants will learn to:
-Research their business idea
-Build a sustainable business model and/or write a business plan
-Manage their day-to-day business
-Build asset areas
-Save for their business
There will be two classes a week and the expectation that participants put in 20 hours (for classes and coaching) a month into their training.
Applications are now available and the deadline to apply is September 15, 2015. Spaces are limited. Please feel free to contact me, Christina Allain, for more information: (506) 652-5601 or email@example.com.
Spread the word!
Check-out our new video of our Hatching Dragons Program! This programs teaches entrepreneurial skills to youth aged 11 to 15 from the YMCA Glen Carpenter Centre! Produced by our talented summer student, Hannah Blizzard!
YES and Hatching Dragons
Tel: (506) 652-5626
My name is Erica Lind and I am currently enjoying my second week at the Saint John Community Loan Fund team as an intern. I am a Master of Business Administration student at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, and over the course of my internship I hope to learn about microfinance and social enterprise while helping the organization with its strategic planning.
I moved to Saint John from Lethbridge, Alberta. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology at the University of Lethbridge in 2010 and managed the University’s annual fundraising programs for several years. Saint John is quite different from anywhere else I’ve been in Canada, and I am falling in love with the old brick buildings, gourmet restaurants, and unique cultural experiences.
I am passionate about social responsibility and having a positive impact on my community, so I am overjoyed at the opportunity to join the Saint John Community Loan Fund in its mission to improve social conditions, promote economic independence, and foster entrepreneurship in Saint John.
“Stuck for Life” by Christine Eruokwu
My internship at the Saint John Community Loan Fund could be described as nothing short of awesome. The culture of this organization has greatly and positively enhanced my learning experience on both a personal and professional level. My role as a temporary loan officer provided a unique opportunity for me to develop new competencies and overcome my weaknesses while harnessing my strengths, particularly in the area of research.
During the course of my internship at The Community Loan Fund, I have discovered that there is something inspirational about each of my co-workers. For instance, Gary has an impeccable customer service and program delivery skills are certainly tough to emulate. Liann, my ‘tough buddy’ will always be willing to go the extra mile even if it will hurt. Mandy’s exceptional problem-solving skill transforms ‘complex’ challenges associated with the non-profit sector. Christina’s professionalism is highly commendable and Hannah, my PowerPoint coach as I called her, always had that magical smile and exuberance that brightens the office. Of course, Seth taught me how the power of an intensely infectious passion for one’s job will truly, “save the community.”
On some occasions, I was privileged to observe the financial literacy training programs conducted at other non-profits’ establishment. This created an avenue for me to be deeply involved in the organizations’ services and key activities as well as integrate seamlessly with members of the community.
As part of my training opportunities, l was allowed to attend local events which will provide a platform for me to meet some of our clients, partners, stakeholders and members of the community at large. During one of such events, I had the privilege of listening to O’Reilly of CBC Radio while he was in Saint John to speak on ‘Counter-Intuitive Marketing’. It was an experience that reinforced my creative thinking skills as a business student.
One of the most remarkable outings was at Key Industries where we by chance encountered a group of special needs students. This encounter magnified my inadequacies as a human being. Before meeting these youth my quote on life philosophy was, “Attitude is a flat tire; you will never get far until you change it.” I have since changed it to, “The only true disability in life is a bad attitude,” which was a quote that I noticed on the wall.
This quote made an indelible impression on me. I went out of my way to trace the origin. My findings revealed that the author Scott Hamilton, was a professional figure skater who went on to become an Olympic champion after his diagnosis of cancer. That same quote inspired me to speak on the topic “True Disability” for my first Ice breaker at the Toastmasters Club shortly after.
As an international student, I love Saint John because it is a beautiful city with a rich historic heritage and tourist attractions but more importantly, it is home to the warmest people in the world. Nonetheless, it has its fair share of the societal ills. For it is a community struggling to shed off the weight of many negative ‘highs’– childhood poverty, teenage pregnancy, drug addiction, homelessness, and mental health issues among other tribulations. Through the relentless efforts of the Community Loan Fund and other non-profits in Saint John, I am certain these trends will be reversed soon.
Investing in The Social Enterprise Hub provides a rare opportunity for individuals and organizations to reverse these trends and leave an enduring legacy for generations yet unborn. We all have the capacity to make the desired change in our society. It all depends on our attitude to giving, but more importantly, the lenses through which we view the world. When we look through the eyes of Jesus, we will always see a needy world because people are desperate for love and comfort on a wide range of continuum. If we do not step in and make an impact, then who would?
Over the last nine weeks, I have been exposed to some of the challenges, struggles and desolation of people living below the poverty line. Without a doubt, they would need much more than the government’s support to have a better life for themselves and their families. While you are still wondering how best to make an impact in this community, you might want to listen to these beautiful songs: ‘Do Something’ by Mattew West and ‘I Refuse’ by Josh Wilson. Perhaps, if the songs aren’t enough, then Dan Pallotta might have the right word for us as expressed in this Ted talk:
Today, I resume my MBA classes with mixed feelings. It is certainly tough for me to manage both the excitement of returning to class to complete my studies and leaving the Loan Fund, an organization whose corporate culture has shaped my life and embellished my experiences. As I shut the door of internship and open the window of volunteerism at the Saint John Community Loan Fund, I know I am stuck for life… And gladly so.
As the summer continues to unfold the Saint John Community Loan Fund once again have found themselves amazed at the youth of today. The drive and creativity that I have been able to witness because of the YES program is extraordinary. Luckily for me -one of the perks of being the YES Program Coordinator- is that I get to observe it first hand.
Pictured above are the youth from the Nick Nicolle Community Centre. Although, they are perhaps better referred to as ONE-KO (Old North End – Kids Operations), the title of their microbusiness. They are just one of the centers that the YES program has the pleasure of partnering with this summer.
These youth intend to astound all of Saint John with their impressive entrepreneurial ventures. Which are presently on the “down-low” due to the developmental stages they have found themselves in.
We look forward to seeing what you have to offer ONE-KO. Keep up the excellent work!
YES and Hatching Dragons
Tel: (506) 652-5626
Two representatives from the Saint John Community Loan Fund (SJCLF) attended the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF) Grantee Meeting in Toronto on June 9th and 10th. Both Erin Gallagher, the former coordinator for the Enterprising Women Program – now on maternity leave, and Christina Allain, the new Micro and Social Enterprise Programs Coordinator, attended the meeting.
Erin and Christina participated in the discussions with various organizations across Canada that are also empowering women with self-employment programs. These discussions will contribute to the revaluation of the Enterprising Women Program, a self-employment training program for women experiencing barriers to starting a business.
Thanks to the CWF’s Economic Development Grant, the SJCLF developed the Enterprising Women Program in 2009 and has been delivering it ever since. Through the self-employment approach, women are helped to launch a small business by learning to develop their business idea, write a business plan, learn essential skills like marketing and sales, find a mentor, secure a loan, and much more. The program is now being reviewed and will receive a new cohort this next fall.
From 2009 to 2014, the CWF invested $4.5 million in 17 programs across Canada, helping over 2,500 low-income women begin their journey out of poverty. They also invested $2.6 million to build the capacity and skills of community groups that work with low-income women, strengthen networks, build leadership, evaluate our work, research new approaches, and work on long-term solutions to end poverty.
Christina is eager to discuss with other partners from the community in order to better the Enterprising Women Program. She is also working on developing a Social Enterprise Program as well which will be delivered in partnership with the Saint John Learning Exchange. Connect with Christina:
Micro and Social Enterprise Programs
Tel: (506) 652-5601
Hello! My name is Hannah Blizzard and I am positively thrilled to have been invited to join the Saint John Community Loan Fund team. I will be here for the duration of the summer running both the YES! And Hatching Dragons programs.
I have just completed my first year of study towards a Bachelor of Arts degree at St. Thomas University. I plan to complete my studies with a double major in English and Psychology. I am so looking forward to returning in the fall, but not before meeting some great people, learning new skills and having a lot of fun in my role at the Loan Fund.
The program that the Saint John Community Loan Fund has established is outstanding. Both the Hatching Dragons and Youth & Entrepreneurship = Success programs have wonderful curricula that educate youth on the pursuits of entrepreneurialism. Through the program the participants will develop a plethora of skills including, effective communication, public speaking, financial literacy, and a general understanding of commerce. These are necessary abilities that will allow the participants to have a greater chance at financial success in their adult lives.
I am very much looking forward to delivering this program to the youth across Saint John and I can’t wait to see what the summer holds!
YES and Hatching Dragons
Tel: (506) 652-5626