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Moving from comfort zone.

JIM AMSING'S willingness to help others in Calgary, Canada, has taken him through various enterprises. He started working as a police officer in 1978, but that did not seem to be enough for him.

He became Chairman of Emma Maternity House, where he encountered several difficulties. 'Our problem wasn't getting the funding or finding the people to help, but with some of the 14- to 18-year-old pregnant residents. All of these girls came from difficult family situations. For instance, some had been brought up in single-parent families, or were prostitutes or hung out with Vietnamese gang members,' he says. However, not all the girls were difficult, and many of them kept in contact with the organisation to express their thankfulness or report back to it.

Having had this experience, Amsing went on to set up a maternity home for Crisis Pregnancy.

In 1997, he participated in the foundation of the Diakonos Retreat Society that helps emergency service workers, policemen and firemen, as well as their families, to keep mentally healthy even when they work in stressful situations. Diakonos also offers programmes that help families to have quality time together.

Currently, Amsing is the Executive Director of the Crisis Houses in Edmonton and Calgary. These houses host people, who are going through different problems, for three months, offering them professional help and taking care of all their needs.

One of the things that had worried Amsing as a police officer was the increasing number of suicides, addictions and interpersonal problems amongst his colleagues. Following a call he had felt long ago, he became a chaplain in the Police Service. His understanding of the profession has been of much help. 'As a police officer/chaplain I am perceived more as a fellow worker by my peers. It is easier for them to call me when they run into a crisis,' he says.

His advice about how to start doing things for others is 'to understand that there is a specific purpose or mission in our lives. To look at what you are interested in because there will always be a need in front of you. Sometimes we need to move out of our comfort zone. Don't be afraid to give. It doesn't always have to be economic help, words can mean more to someone who really needs it.'
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:people making a difference
Author:Lopez, Monica
Publication:For A Change
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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