We are incredibly excited to have Marilyn Dyck on the line-up for Circles of Hope: Stories of compassion, resilience & hope. Marilyn is the Founder and Executive Director of The Doorway in Calgary. From a pilot experiment to a Community of Practice, she has invested 25 years of leadership in offering an innovative business planning option to engage long term street dependent young people in their self-determined choices to build personal economic independence and participation in mainstream economy and community. Marilyn has a B.A. in Sociology and has diligently pursued and implemented Applied Sociology in her work with young people. She is an active presenter, member and current International Board Member of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS).

Her presentation is titled, ‘Are we asking the Right Questions?’ Amartye Sen, Harvard Economist, awarded 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, has suggested in his book Freedom as Development, that poverty is not just about money but about access to options. Her presentation will consider a community perspective which The Doorway believes pragmatically illustrates the idea in action. The Doorway is a grass roots project funded and delivered by engaged citizens in Calgary. Over the past 29 years they have offered an approach which illustrates the essence of Dr. Sen’s position. Long-term street dependent young people choosing to integrate into sustainable engagement and participation in mainstream economy and community have tested, demonstrated and endorsed the power of self-efficacy and self-direction. These are essential components to their engagement in their accountability to themselves and their ownership of their own choices and lives. The street is a culture, and the task of moving off the street is cross cultural learning. It is a human process. Choices for change require access to options. Cultural exchange involves both cultures and needs the engagement of both to succeed. Social exclusion will continue to be operative in the dynamic of exiting street culture and poverty until diverse perspectives find common ground to discover how to learn from each other.

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The Doorway is a direct community response to young people on the street in Calgary choosing to rejoin society. There are significant gaps in what systems say they want to do to help these young people, and what they actually accomplish. In the late 80’s The Doorway was designed to address these gaps. An understanding of the differences between street culture and mainstream culture led to the development of a self-determined strategic planning process to make lasting change.

The Doorway has learned self-determination is key to personal change.


Circles of Hope is November 8th at Fort Calgary. Get your tickets here!