Categorized | News

‘Back To School Connect’ needs donations, volunteers

Susan Simpson

Susan Simpson

Fort Macleod residents will have a chance in August to connect right before the new school term starts.
Back To School Connect is a new event championed by Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre.
Everyone is urged to attend Back To School Connect on Aug. 28 at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
“First of all, it’s going to be fun,” Kids First Family Centre director Susan Simpson said. “But apart from that, our community is as strong as its weakest link. If we want Fort Macleod to be a great place to live, we have to make it a great place for everybody.”
Simpson is also a believer that good social policy is good business, a philosophy promoted by Alberta Human Services Minister Dave Hancock in a speech to the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.
Hancock said if people in a community are struggling, they can’t get a job and can’t support the Fort Macleod business community.
“If you don’t care about those people, you’re affecting your own business,” Simpson said. “And, it’s the right thing to do. That is what it boils down to.”
The free event includes a used clothing exchange, barbecue and a chance for children to pick up free school supplies.
A variety of agencies and community resource groups will be on hand to showcase their services,
Arrangements are being made to have professionals donate their time to provide free services such as haircuts and eye and dental exams.
Back To School Connect events are held in larger centres and usually target specific people.
Simpson discussed the idea of an event in Fort Macleod with Family and Community Support Services direct Angie O’Connor.
They consulted Kids First family liaison worker Vera Crow Shoe, who as native liaison worker at G.R. Davis school in her previous role, saw how well inclusive events work.
The decision was made to open it to the entire community.
“We want to use it as an opportunity to get the community connected with each other, in addition to being connected with the resources that are available to them,” Simpson explained.
Back To School Connect is meant to bring people from all sectors of the community together for an event that is fun and functional.
“We’re inviting the community to come and connect,” Simpson noted. “We are hoping the families that really need the resources will come and find out what’s available to them.”
People involved in agencies such as Kids First know that people are not always aware of what resources are available to them, despite the best efforts of the providers to promote their services.
“They still don’t know,” Simpson said.
Clothing donations needed
Back To School Connect organizers stress that people who are willing should donate fall and winter clothing, shoes and boots right away.
Simpson said there are people in Fort Macleod who regularly contribute to the clothing exchanges in the fall at W.A. Day and G.R. Davis schools, who have not yet donated items to Back To School Connect.
“Maybe they’re not realizing this is it,” Simpson said. “It’s one big blowout this year. So don‘t wait for those others to come along because they likely won’t.”
Simpson is concerned that if people don’t bring in their donations right now, they will forget as spring progresses and summer arrives.
“It’s getting it in right now,” Simpson said. “Right now, as you’re cleaning out your closets.”
G.R. Davis school has agreed to store donated clothing until Back To School Connect. It would be convenient if items are dropped off before school ends in June.
There is considerable work involved in getting the event established, but Back To School Connect is gathering momentum.
“We’re starting to bring people on board,” Simpson said. “Professionals are starting to come on board with us, and that’s a good thing.”
Volunteers are needed to help stage Back To School Connect.
“Anybody who has the time to help us set up, decorate, take down, that would be a bonus.”
For more information or to get involved in Back To School Connect, call Angie O’Connor at 403-553-4425.

Tags |

Comments are closed.