Life and work have come full circle for Danisha Bhaloo. For much of her childhood, the Edmontonian was raised by a single mother. When Danisha was nine, her mom decided to enrol her and her sister in the local Big Brother Big Sisters chapter. And over the next nine years, Danisha and her big sisters did all the fun stuff her mom didn’t have the time, or money, to do herself: They went bowling, to the movies and even attended Toastmasters workshops together.
Today, Danisha is manager of fund development for what is now the Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area. She oversees all of the agency’s fundraising, which generates $7 million each year, and helps more than 5,000 kids across the city access after-school and mentoring programs like the ones she once used. “It’s easy for me to go out and sell the agency, and sell our programs,” Danisha says. “Because I know the outcomes that come with it.”
Danisha believes that non-profit organizations like the one she works for provide an essential service, covering gaps in the system that the various levels of government don’t account for. And she knows better than anyone that when the City engages with kids and families living in poverty, that makes their entire community stronger, too.
“The people in your community that are around you and behind you and in front of you are part of your life,” Danisha says. “They’re your network. They’re the ones who are going to be there for your family. Every person owes it to their community to give back in some way.”