Southwest Crisis Services hosting inaugural sports banquet with Wendel Clark
Southwest Crisis Services is starting a new initiative to raise funds for various programs and services in the region.
The inaugural Igniting Change sports banquet and auction on Oct. 13 will feature former NHL player and Toronto Maple Leafs captain Wendel Clark.
“We wanted someone that people would be excited about listening to,” said Brenna Ekstrand, the community relations coordinator for Southwest Crisis Services. “Wendel Clark has been to Swift Current before. He came with Rogers Hometown Hockey festival, but no one had the opportunity to hear him speak and he is a Saskatchewan hometown hero. So people just seem really excited about having a hockey mentor such as him coming to Swift Current to speak.”
Clark was born in Kelvington and played for the Saskatoon Blades during his junior career. He played for Canada when the team won the 1985 World Junior championship.
He played 13 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs, and he scored 330 goals and 563 points with 1,690 penalty minutes during his entire hockey career.
He has continued his involvement with the Maple Leafs after his retirement as a player and he is now a community ambassador for the team.
For many years the annual Duck Derby at the Innovation Credit Union's Picnic in the Park has been a key fundraising event for Southwest Crisis Services.
The organization wants to use the sports banquet and auction as another means to raise funds as well as awareness about its activities to address interpersonal violence through education and outreach services as well as a safe shelter for women and their children.
“One of the reasons we chose a sports event is because it's not just a women's issue,” Executive Director Heather Lennox said.
“There's men that are abused as well and we leave men out of the link. Our services mainly support women and children. We do some support counselling with complete families, but we don't have funding currently to supply programming for men individually. We used to, but budgets have not grown. Core funding has not increased, but expenses for everything increase.”
The Ministry of Justice provides core funding for two programs, but Southwest Crisis Services needs to raise additional funds every year to operate other programs and services.
“We're very appreciative of that core funding,” she said. “We get core funding for our family violence outreach program and then the crisis intervention program, which is the shelter and the supports in the shelter. We then do also apply for grants. ... Generally though, we have to fundraise for about $130,000 to be able to operate in a year.”
Funds raised at the sports banquet and auction will help to fill that financial gap. Data from the 2017/18 financial year highlight the range of support services provided to residents of southwest Saskatchewan.
The 10-bed safe shelter, which provides 24-hour staffing and support, provided a refuge to 80 women and children. Calls to the Southwest Crisis Services crisis line increased 25 per cent and 1,163 calls were answered.
“We'll accept calls from all over the province or even Canada if someone finds our number and calls us,” Ekstrand noted.
The outreach services team had over 3,000 contacts, either in-person, by phone or e-mail. This service provides support to families, couples, youth, children, women and men who have experienced or who are at risk of experiencing interpersonal violence.
In addition, the members of the outreach team provide violence prevention education presentations to groups. They made 55 presentations during 2017/18.
There are various sponsorship opportunities available for the sports banquet and donations of auction items are also welcome. For more information about the different ways to support the event, contact Ekstrand at 306-778-3386, extension 404 or send an e-mail to email@example.com
The Igniting Change sports banquet and auction with Wendel Clark takes place at Walker Place in Swift Current, Oct. 13. Tickets are $75 each and reserved tables are available. Tickets are now available at Pharmasave.