About Us

Our History

Brander Gardens ROCKS (Reaching Out to Community Kids Society) was born out of conversations around a kitchen table that began in 2010. The first participants at that table were a couple of neighbours, a social worker from the City of Edmonton, the Community Librarian from the Riverbend Branch of Edmonton Public Library, and the coordinator of the Riverbend Community League. All had a vision of being able to work collectively to provide opportunities that would enrich the lives of children living in the Capital Region Housing Complex in Riverbend.

Our first fledgling steps were to run a reading program under an umbrella in a little space in the complex, followed by a Family Fun Day in May 2010 that the kids helped organize, and where we asked families to identify their priorities from a wish list of potential supports. Based on their input and the passion, commitment and determination of a growing number of people around the table, we were able to run a Green Shack Program within the complex in the summer of 2010 and begin an after school program once a week in Riverbend Junior High in January 2011.

By 2012 the collaborative had grown to include individuals from the Terwillegar Riverbend Advisory Council, the Riverbend United Church and the United Way of Alberta Capital Region, and the opportunities to build relationships amongst one another and provide support for children and families had grown exponentially. 

By 2016, programs and activities for vulnerable families included after school programs, academic tutoring, summer programs, gym nights, field trips and access to community soccer for children and youth. Further, we provided access to early childhood development programs for mothers and toddlers, youth leadership opportunities, financial empowerment and food security programs for families, and opportunities for all to connect and make friends with neighbours through regular community suppers and community gardens. 

In 2019, the Ground Team of the Brander Gardens ROCKS Program decided that it was time to incorporate as a Society, and on October 6, 2020, the Riverbend Reaching Out to Community and Kids Society (Riverbend ROCKS) was formally incorporated. The operations of Brander Gardens ROCKS were formally transitioned to the new Society on January 1st, 2021. 

Riverbend ROCKS continues to build on the rich history and experience of Brander Gardens ROCKS whose success and growth over the past 10 years can be attributed to the willingness of all who have come to the collaborative table to leverage their relationships and networks in ways that enable us to collectively respond to the desires and realities of the most vulnerable in our community.