CMHA hop­ing to earn on­line vot­ing prize in na­tional con­test

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The Swift Cur­rent branch of the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion is ral­ly­ing com­mu­nity sup­port be­hind their ef­forts to win top prize in a na­tional con­test.

The Swift Cur­rent CMHA has been named one of 10 fi­nal­ists in the ia Fi­nan­cial Group’s Canada-wide phil­an­thropic con­test which boasts a $125,000 grand prize. Just by earn­ing a spot among the fi­nal­ists has guar­an­teed they will re­ceive a min­i­mum $10,000 from ia Fi­nan­cial Group.

“We’re very ex­cited to make the short­list. It’s a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion so we’re not only ex­cited but we’re very sur­prised to have made the short­list,” ex­plained Jacqui Wil­liams, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of CMHA Swift Cur­rent. “How­ever, we would sure like to be in the top three,” she ex­plained, not­ing the win­ner will claim $125,000 and there are two run­ner-up prizes of $50,000.

“That would make a big dif­fer­ence,” she said of the con­test top prize. “We’re look­ing to get a new build­ing. Some of this money would be ear­marked for that, so that would be in­cred­i­bly help­ful. The other thing that some of this money would be ear­marked for would be an ad­di­tional staff so we could in­crease pro­gram­ming and go past busi­ness hours.”

While the CMHA of­fers a series of pro­grams, they are lim­ited in their scope be­cause of not be­ing able to pro­vide con­sis­tent evening op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I feel like there’s a gap there. I think the ser­vice that we’re pro­vid­ing to the peo­ple that we’re pro­vid­ing ser­vice to is re­ally good. But I feel like there’s a gap where we’re not reach­ing peo­ple be­cause we are only avail­able dur­ing reg­u­lar busi­ness hours.”

“It would be nice to have some­thing that’s in the evenings or on the week­ends so that more in­di­vid­u­als could seek ser­vice. So it could mean a lot to a lot of peo­ple.”

With the de­sire to ex­pand their pro­gram­ming, it again re­in­forces the fact their their cur­rent fa­cil­ity no longer meets their needs.

“I think we have out­grown our cur­rent fa­cil­ity. And in ad­di­tion to out­grow­ing it, it’s not ac­ces­si­ble, and I think that’s such an im­por­tant thing that ev­ery in­di­vid­ual has ac­cess to your build­ing. And a lot of peo­ple don’t.”

“It would be nice to have some­thing that’s not only big­ger, but that’s ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one.”

Cather­ine Tardif, Ad­vi­sor in phi­lan­thropy, spon­sor­ship and do­na­tions at ia Fi­nan­cial Group, said their sec­ond an­nual phil­an­thropic con­test al­lows them to help out a series of de­serv­ing pro­grams.

“We re­ally hope that we can make a dif­fer­ence with that amount of money,” she aid of the top prize of $125,000 and their to­tal dona­tion amount of al­most $300,000.

Last year, ia Fi­nan­cial Group held a con­test to cel­e­brate their 125th an­niver­sary, and last year’s suc­cess prompted them to con­tinue the pro­gram this year.

“It worked so well last year and it was re­ally im­por­tant for us and for our pres­i­dent to go ahead again this year. And it’s go­ing to be an an­nual con­test,” she said. “Ev­ery year we’re go­ing to have a dif­fer­ent theme. This year we are fo­cussing on men­tal health and next year there will be an­other theme. So ev­ery year we are go­ing to be tar­get­ing dif­fer­ent char­i­ties.”

Tarif added that ia Fi­nan­cial Group will be fo­cussing their con­test on char­i­ties that are in­volved in health, ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial ser­vices.

“There’s so many causes. I sat down with my pres­i­dent and men­tal health was a cause that spoke to him. There are so many peo­ple ef­fected by that prob­lem, and hon­estly it was my pres­i­dent that it was re­ally im­por­tant for him to go with that cause.”

The con­test is open through the month of Novem­ber, and an in­di­vid­ual is al­lowed to vote only once in the con­test.

The on­line vot­ing can be ac­cess at http:// www.ia.ca/con­test-ia-do­na­tions or by click­ing on the link on the CMHA Swift Cur­rent Face­book page.

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