South­west Cri­sis Ser­vices host­ing in­au­gu­ral sports ban­quet with Wen­del Clark

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG— mlieben­berg@prairiepost.com

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 pre­ventvi­o­lence@sasktel.net

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.

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