1995: Humble Beginnings

Our first location was in the hall that we rented from St Stephen’s Anglican church in downtown Calgary. We stayed for 15 years and saved money for our building from our first day of operation.

1996: Christmas Hamper Launch

Every EvenStart family has received a Christmas hamper since our second year of operation. In the beginning we received modest donations and bought the food and made the hampers. Today our hamper program has over 300 volunteers and networks with individuals, schools, small businesses and corporations. It is truly a “Made in Calgary” initiative piloted by Brianna Parkhill.


1997: Open Second Location

We expand to our second location in Monterey Park. The demand for help for children increases rapidly and we secure a site in NE Calgary.


2002: 100 Children Registered

We grow from 35 children served to over 100 across all areas of the City. We expand from 2 school vans to many small school buses.


2012: Awards & Recognition

Ilona personally receives a nomination from Premier Alison Redford for the Queen Elizabeth 2 Diamond Jubilee Award for “her service to the children and families of Alberta”


2016: Mayland Heights

After 20 years of saving and more than a decade of searching for a location, the program breaks ground in Mayland Heights. Our facility, designed from the ground up, “through the eyes of a child” is born.



At EvenStart, we believe that when children are fed, in good health, have access to education, live in homes that are safe, where parents are assisted in developing skills that allow them to generate a livable income, then children learn that they are valued, and are free to realize their potential. Please spread a word about The EvenStart Foundation and donate if you can.

We need your help in getting the word out through your digital media platforms including but not limited to websites , social media  etc. We will greatly appreciate your help in passing on the word to anyone who may be interested in donations or participating in our Christmas Hamper Campaign.




Executive Director of the EvenStart For Children Foundation

Ilona developed the concept for the EvenStart program after working with government and children’s social services for 15 years. She believes that if the cycle of poverty, abuse, and neglect is to be broken, then intervention must occur sooner rather than later in a child’s life — when this happens, difficult early life experiences are mitigated and miracles happen.

Ilona has been recognized for her work by Global TV as a Woman of Vision, by ATB, as a Mistress of the Modern and by the Premier of Alberta as the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Awards & Recognition
In 2012, ATB proudly presented Ilona Boyce with our Mistress of the Modern award. This award recognized seven Alberta women who stand firm in their beliefs and, without recognition, make a powerful impact on our province.”
– Carol Harting Senior Financial Advisor, ATB Securities.

Brianna Parkhill, Dip B.A.

Director of EvenStart Programs and Services

Brianna is responsible for overseeing the operations of the EvenStart program. She works with the clinical staff, site managers and professional consultants in managing the Evenstart program. Brianna also coordinates Heartlands annual Christmas Hamper program, which provides hampers for over 100 families each holiday season. Brianna has worked at Heartland since 1995.

Brianna also enjoys camping, quadding, snowmobiling and spending time at the lake with her family. Brianna is married with twins, she has a boy and a girl and together they love to travel. Email Brianna: bparkhill@heartlandagency.org


Program Manager for the EvenStart Foundation

Denise is responsible for coordinating operations within the EvenStart Program at Heartland’s Monterey Park location. In addition to overall site management and staff support, she also coordinates intake and assessment at Monterey Park, liaising with community partners and families to provide best supports for children with diverse needs. Denise is also involved with the EvenStart Foundation as the Program Manager, working to raise awareness of the initiatives undertaken by this grassroots charity within the community. She is passionate about working with families, and loves the opportunity to develop new resources and activities to build a sense of community with the children and families in the program.

Denise enjoys spending time with her husband and two active boys. Together, they have a love for baseball, adventuring, and live music. Email Denise: dlindsay@heartlandagency.org



Sweta is responsible for leading product strategy , design and execution  within the EvenStart Program at Heartland Agency. In addition to overall IT , vendor and staff support, she also oversees entire Marketing efforts to provide best supports for children with diverse needs.

Sweta enjoys spending time with her family. She loves reading books, playing piano and hiking. Email Sweta: spankaj@heartlandagency.org


Follow the  updates from the EvenStart Community

Read More