The Southwest Booster
Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser will have a wide reaching impact
The Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser on February 25 will help deliver an impactful contribution to support increased services at The Center.
The Swift Current Community Youth Initiative (SCCYI) is still accepting team registration for the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser on Saturday, February 25. As of February 1, a total of 35 teams had already signed up for the event, and early fundraising efforts had generated $32,316, 40 per cent of their $80,000 goal.
“Overall the event planning is going really well, and we’re excited as we’re pushing towards the homestretch,” explained Nathan Wiebe, Executive Director at The Center.
He was hoping in the days leading up to the Coldest Night of the Year that they would reach their target of having 35 teams registered, and then building momentum behind the fund-raising campaign.
“It’s going to depend on a lot of the work that people are willing to put in…and we’ll continue to spur everybody on and encourage everybody to recruit teammates and to go out for pledges and get donations.”
“Not only are we looking at hopefully reaching our goal, but having that number of people join us on February 25th and taking part in the celebration of the Coldest Night of the Year.”
Year one of the Coldest Night of the Year in Swift Current was a virtual event during COVID, with the 2022 fundraiser the first in-person opportunity they had a chance to gather to work in support of programming at The Center. Wiebe said it was fun to see the mixture of participants who got involved last year.
“As an organization that is continuing to innovate and try new things in our community, you start to peak the interest of different community members when you talk about those things,” he said.
“If people start asking questions about things such as mentoring, or our programs or initiatives we’re taking on, you start to see the giftings of other people in our community. And to be able to work along side them to benefit youth and families in our community is what we’re all about.”
Interested participants are invited to complete an online registration at the Coldest Night of the Year website https://cnoy.org/ location/swiftcurrent. Once they have set up a profile they can recruit other team members, send messages to fellow team members, and do all their online donation requests through that profile.
“It’s as much as you want to put into it. We’ve had people that have recruited a team of eight people and sent out a few fundraising donation requests. It’s not a huge commitment because it can be sent over email or over a text message.”
“Last year we heard of some people that spent maybe a half hour or an hour total between recruitment and donations, and they were able to raise a couple of thousand dollars because they ran into some very generous people.”
“It’s always inspiring when you can send out a request and people see the need and it can resonate with the cause and they want to invest in our centre.”
“We just encourage people to take part in that day, and to come by and celebrate with us. It was so much fun last year. The atmosphere, with it being right after kind of everything was shut down by COVID, there was so much energy, so much joy.”
Wiebe said the funds collected this year will be directed towards programming offered at The Center.
“We’re right now in the process of trying to build our counselling team. Last year alone we saw over 1,200 visits between one full-time and one part-time councillor. And the need is not slowing down. And not only is there a need for a clinical counselling setting for people in our community that’s free, but there’s also a need for knowledge-based material, seminars, opportunities to bring people in the community into our building and to meet them where they’re at and to walk along side them.”
“We’re looking at hiring another councillor to be able to help us with this. We’re really passionate about Mental Health. And we’re really passionate about creating those resources and opportunities for people who need it on an emergency basis, need it on a consistent basis. And that’s something that as an organization we’ve been able to accomplish. With the need growing so much we need to continue to add to our counselling team.”
Another growing need at The Center is connecting youth with mentors, and helping eliminate a growing waiting list of youth seeking mentorship.
“We have our mentoring program, which is called Centered Mentoring, it’s designed around a Big Brothers Big Sisters program. We have a waiting list that’s incredibly long. And so that take time, that takes resources, that takes financial resources to build into that program so that we can recruit people, we can get more mentors, we can support the families that are within that program on a more intimate basis.”
“Both those things right there are directly related to the mental health of our young people and families in our community, and we want to continue to provide those services without costs for them.”
For individuals simply wishing to make a donation in support of the Coldest Night of the Year, he points to a pair of teams from The Center, one named Shave Kenton’s Head and the other Dye Janna’s Hair.
“We have two really awesome program staff (Kenton Unruh and Janna Martens) that started a friendly competition,” he chuckled of the fundraising challenge between the two.
He admits they are trying to encourage challenges like this amongst businesses and individuals participating in the Coldest Night.
“We want to see those challenges happen. Here we have a group that have joined Kenton, and a group of youth that have joined Janna, and whoever raises the most wins and the other will commit to what the challenge states.”
“It’s a lot of fun. What this has done is it’s gotten various youth involved, which has been our overarching goal since the beginning,” he said. “As much fun as it is to sit back and watch, there’s a lot of power in seeing kids that come in here everyday and are sending requests out for donations and have raised a fair bit of money for a the cause.”
Registration for the event starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, with the walk starting at 5 p.m. A chili supper with fresh corn bread and hot chocolate will be served around 6 p.m. There will be fire pits, music, games for the kids, with all those activities hosted in the zero block of 1st Ave. N.E. in front of The Center.
For more information on the fundraiser or to support the local teams participating visit https:// cnoy.org/location/swiftcurrent