Our Story

Embarking on a Journey of Empowerment

CANDORA’s history began more than 35 years ago when Bev Sochatsky Downing and Virginia Sauve were introduced to the community as part of their work for the Consumer Education Project of Grant MacEwan Community College. The pair went door to door in the Abbottsfield and Rundle neighbourhoods recruiting a core group of women who would meet every Friday morning at the Echo Valley Tenant Centre and call themselves the “Abbottsfield Women’s Project.” Through her work at Beverly Social Services in 1986, Cathy Vereyken also began working on the project. Eventually in 1988, funding became available through the City of Edmonton, office-space opened up at Riverview Crossing (formerly Abbottsfield Mall), and the search for participants and staff began. In 1989, The CANDORA Society of Edmonton officially became incorporated as a non-profit society! Although many flagship programs are still in place, CANDORA continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of a growing community.

Fun Fact: The CANDORA name comes from “Can Do for Rundle and Abbottsfield” and has a special meaning for Spanish-speaking people as well meaning openness and honesty.

Our Mission

The CANDORA Society of Edmonton promotes a healthy, supportive environment for positive growth in the lives of women, children, and families in the community. CANDORA provides educational activities supporting all ages to experience learning success and to become lifelong learners by being contributing members of the community. CANDORA connects people by increasing the understanding of each other, reducing isolation, building self-worth, and enriching the community.

Our Objectives
  • To strive to make the community a better place to live by supporting community members.
  • To undertake social, cultural, recreational and educational activities that promote health, personal growth and development of community members.
  • To engage in and promote activities that enhance the economic development of the community.
  • To promote and provide opportunities for community members to engage in activities that will enhance their ability to be gainfully employed.
  • To reach out to community members, especially those who are isolated or lacking resources.
  • To help give voice to individuals and communities to influence decisions which impact them.
  • To collaborate with community agencies that support CANDORA in achieving our vision and mission.
  • To use a participatory education model in all community development and program activities.
Our Beliefs & Values
  • We believe individuals have the ability to be the stewards of their own lives through the power of personal strengths, skills and talents.
  • We believe we have the potential for growth and change.
  • We believe that literacy and life-long learning is foundational for personal and social change.
  • We value a community that is safe, healthy, and provides a supportive environment for all who live there.
  • We value respectful working relationships, cultural diversity, and collaborative partnerships.
  • We value children and youth as the future.
  • We value investing in the lives of children, youth and families.
  • We believe we have the abilities, rights, and responsibilities to make choices.

Graham Currie

Executive Director


A Message From Our Executive Director

CANDORA has certainly evolved over the course of its 35 years, but the mandate of the organization as a pillar of the community, providing guidance and opportunities for self-development to build self-sustainability, remains.

At its founding, the focus of the organization was exclusively women in this community, in many cases single mothers, as there was a clear need in this area. In 2024, while CANDORA still has focus on women’s programming, we have expanded, over time, to offer programs and resources to everyone. Our mandate is to provide guidance/resources in self-sustainability and to help navigate the complex systems of society, as peers with experience and specific knowledge/training, to individual adults and families through programs, events, and CANDORA’s Resource Centre. It would be impossible for CANDORA to be “everything for everyone… all the time”, however, in areas where we may not be able to provide direct support to individuals and families, our staff are equipped with knowledge and connections to other organizations/services that are suited to their needs. In that way, CANDORA is able to be valuable to the needs of community members. We are always looking to expand this knowledge-base and grow our network of external resources to better serve Northeast Edmonton.

Interested in joining our Board of Directors?

Janice Theriault


Zachary Schopf

Past Chair

Candace Noble

Vice Chair

Doug Stroud

Director at Large

David Bunmi-Nathan


Melanie Lang

Director at Large

Chaya McLaughlin


Graham Currie

Executive Director
(non-voting member)

Our Board of Directors

Annual General Report

CANDORA Empowers You