The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre (DMSCC) hosted an Open House on Thursday in Bonnyville, inviting the community to come discover what the great work the outreach centre is doing in the community. Director Susan White, says the event was a way to open the doors and really get the word out that DMSCC has a outreach centre in Bonnyville.
White says the support staff in Bonnyville host a lot of educational programs, “they also work one-on-one with clients; supporting them in whatever they need.” The outreach centre is open to drop-ins, as well as appointments. “We run the men’s and women’s Better Way program,” the program is designed to give people tools and resources to find a better way to resolve issues and arguments without physical or mental abuse.
The outreach centre also runs the Empowering Women group and school programs that give education for healthy relationships, White says is “so important. It really focuses on prevention, teaching kids what’s healthy and what’s not; so hopefully we can put the shelter out of business.”
The DMSCC shelter and Joie’s Phoenix House are located in Cold Lake. Should a woman in Bonnyville need the shelter, the outreach centre can assist. Last year, Lake City GM provided two cars to the outreach centre for needs such as transporting clients. “If we have, and we have had, ladies here who are in need of the shelter, the outreach staff works with them, supports them, and transfer them to the shelter,” explains White.
Since January the outreach centre has seen 29 clients. “The biggest thing is people saying they didn’t know we are here. That’s the struggle. The community agencies know, but we need to get it out to the public,” White says the support from the community has been outstanding. One local realtor, Iris Scherger was at the open house and presented the outreach centre with a cheque for a percentage of her personal commission. An initiative brought on by the Royal LaPage Shelter Foundation, 100 percent of the funds donated by Scherger stay local at the DMSCC.
“We didn’t get an opportunity to do a big open house (last year) when we opened,” White explains that the outreach centre grew at such a fast rate last spring that they had to move offices within two months. The centre is now located at New Park Place, on 54th avenue, across from the Tim Hortons in Bonnyville. White says DMSCC wanted to host the open house so people knew where they were located and the celebrate the first year in town.