Hope Mission Red Deer is hoping to expand its reach in 2018 by helping more of our city’s youth and adults.
The organization, which opened a Red Deer location just over two years ago, currently operates multiple programs for young people, including Kids In Action, which happens at Aspen Heights, Central, Glendale, and Normandeau schools.
Manager Kelly Row explains Kids In Action is an after school program for grades one to five, which promotes physical activity, healthy eating, relationships and character development. A similar program for grades six to eight called Youth In Action is also part of Hope Mission’s mandate.
“We noticed in the 80s and 90s more and more young people were on the street and Hope Mission realized we've got to do something about this,” Row states. “Just seeing the brokenness and the problems youth were having, we noticed a lot of them were from low-income ends of town.”
Row says sadly, some kids have the same dire attitudes as adults where they find themselves angry or bitter, wounded or living in relationships that are broken.
“We just try to meet them where they're at, show them there is hope and there are people that care,” he adds.
In 2017, 250 students took part in Kids In Action or Youth In Action. Another 70 went to Hope Mission sponsored summer camps, and the organization served 600 meals at four family dinners held throughout the year. ‘Kids’ will expand to Eastview and Joseph Welsh elementary schools in January.
Next year, Row says there are hopes to expand adult programming as well, particularly in downtown Red Deer.
One thing Red Deer is missing is residential recovery, which Row says Hope Mission would like to have a hand in getting up and running.
“For 350,000 people in central Alberta, there are no recovery beds, so they just stay stuck in this cycle of addiction,” he points out. "We've got the people that know how to do these things, we've got the expertise in the field, but the funding is always kind of the missing piece."
Row says hopefully someone will step up locally in support of a recovery and treatment centre and put up some funding in the meantime if it isn’t a priority for the provincial government.
He adds Hope Mission currently drives some clients to Edmonton for recovery services, but that isn’t preferable for the many who don’t wish to go far from home to get help.
For more information on Hope Mission Red Deer and the services and programming they offer, visit HopeMission.com/RedDeer.
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