CMHA Swift Current Branch celebrates 40th anniversary
August 8 was a milestone day for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Swift Current Branch as they observed their 40th anniversary.
The local branch first met on August 8, 1978 as the Alfred Cooper Club, and they met in the lower level of the Recreation Centre. The local CMHA has come a long way over the subsequent four decades, but their main focus has remained putting the needs of their members first.
“We have our own kind of little in-house community,” explained CMHA Swift Current Executive Director Jacqui Williams. “You see that a lot of the members have known each other for a very long time. Two of our staff have worked here for 20 years. So all of these people have gone through life changes, ups and downs together, and they have formed a very nice bond where it’s very supportive and very caring. You see it amongst the members. You see it amongst the staff with the members. Our board members are fabulous. So many of them have an attitude of ‘sitting on the board is not enough. I need to be in-house. I need to be part of it.’”
An estimated crowd of over 200 people turned out for last Wednesday’s anniversary celebration which included a free BBQ and tours of the facility.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout. It shows the support in this community, and this community has supported us in so many ways throughout the years. But showing up today is just one more indication of their support for what we do.”
Williams noted the since they circled their anniversary on the calendar, their celebration was exactly what they had hoped to achieve.
“This is what was envisioned from the start, that we would do a community BBQ, that we would do tours, that we would invite people to come in to actually see what we do. Because, really, we’re just this green building on the one way,” she chuckled. “So you invite people in and you get to allow them to see what actually happens in house, and how we spend our time, and how we assist one another. And what difference we are making that people don’t necessarily see from just looking at the front of a green building.”
Their celebration day also marked the conclusion of a 40th anniversary fundraiser.
Program Coordinator Sarah Laybourne came up with a fund-raising idea, asking for 40 people to donate $100 to their building fund. The 40 people are in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Swift Current Branch, and 100 is symbolic of the 100 year anniversary of the CMHA. The initiative was targeted to previous supporters of their fundraising efforts, and the final 25 per cent of their support was received at the BBQ.
“A lot of people knew that it was tied into today, so a lot of people came today with their money wanting to be part of that,” Williams noted. “We did not want today to be a fundraiser. But that was our 40th year fundraiser and we’re very happy to say it was very successful. And it will be a nice contribution towards our new building.”
Earlier this year the Durward Seafoot Estate donated the funds to purchase a new fan for the members of the Swift Current Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
The Estate also made a $400,000 contribution towards a new building to replace their current facility. This has kickstarted a long talked about new building campaign, and they are taking aim as having a new facility by 2020.
“We are hoping to have a new building by 2020. So we’re excited about that. We’re hoping to start going really hard after today. Up until now the focus was on today, doing this for the community, our members, and to promote who we are and what we do.”
Williams explained their current location has limitations which prevent them from growing as an organization.
“We have a nice, little, older space. But we’re not wheelchair accessible. We’re really too small for what we want to be doing. We need more space because we want to grow,” she said.
“We definitely want to focus on younger adults. And we want to get people involved in our organization faster, so that they can be healthier faster. It’s tough to do when you’re such a small place and when you’re not accessible to anyone with any kind of mobility issue.”
She added that their celebration was given a push thanks to the City of Swift Current proclaiming August 5 to 11 as CMHA Swift Current Week.
Nationally, CMHA observed Mental Health Week on May 7 to 13, but that timing coincided with Swift Current’s observation of Emergency Preparedness Week. Swift Current’s Branch decided to shift their focus to a summer celebration of their 40th anniversary.
“Mental Health awareness is huge. There’s all kinds of national campaigns out there,” she explained. “But here locally we decided to have it for this week, mostly to coincide with our 40th anniversary and because we would be having this event. And there would be more awareness about what we do within our facility.”
Parents of City of Swift Current students attending schools by bus this year are reminded of an important deadline day for requesting busing changes.
Parents/guardians of students who will be bused to Swift Current schools should have already received a letter in the mail from the Transportation Department indicating your child’s busing information for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.
Families who require any changes need to submit a transportation request by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 306-7789200 ext. 3281 by Monday, AUGUST 20. If you received your letter and require no changes, no action is required.
You must make contact with the Chinook Transportation Department by August 20 in order for student transportation to be in place on the first day of school (September 4). In an effort to minimize service disruptions during the first few days of school, any changes or new requests submitted after August 20 will be implemented on September 10.
The Swift Current Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association celebrated their 40th anniversary on August 8 with a BBQ and Open House. Board member Laverne Krywulak is joined around the BBQ by CMHA Swift Current Executive Director Jacqui Williams, CMHA Board Vice-president Michael Boutilier and CMHA Board Member Betty Mcdougall.