Family and Community Support Services making a difference: here’s how

Gord Fortin
Lakeside Leader

The Slave Lake Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has had a busy year with some new programs as well as moving to a new centre.
FCSS Coordinator Haylie Millard first stepped up to the job during the spring. She moved over to FCSS from Slave Lake Parent Link. She said she has spent the most of the year learning the ropes of FCSS, creating new programming and getting the new centre on 3rd Avenue NE up and running.
The new centre needed some renovations but the end goal saw FCSS and Parent Link put under one roof. Millard said the choice to move FCSS from the upstairs of the Community Christian Centre was to move to a more accessible building. The new building has a ramp for wheelchair access.
“We wanted to find our own space,” she said.
One new venture is the Buddies for Seniors Program. This pairs a volunteer with a senior, where the two spend one hour a week together to do activities based on mutual interests.
FCSS is looking for volunteers. Millard said, as of the time of this interview on Dec. 4, that there have been seven new applications. Those seven seniors need to be matched up with a volunteer.
Millard said this program is one of the biggest successes for FCSS because of its popularity and the fact that it was a suggestion from a resident.
“It’s kind of nice to get that involvement and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” she said.
Millard next highlighted is the Anger Education Program. This is designed to help people move beyond both anger and anxiety. It is a free class that lasts 10 weeks. There are two classes, one for men and one for women. The program has wrapped up for the year.
It will continue in the new year, from Jan. 22, 2018 to March 29, 2018. It runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Multi Rec Centre. Women’s classes are on Tuesdays and men’s classes are on Thursdays.
Millard said you can attend by yourself or be referred by a doctor. You can register by calling 780-805-9352. You will need to be screened before classes start.
“We’re getting some good stuff going for 2018,” she said.
Millard said she is working on a youth program for the new year. The plan is to start small by holding a couple of youth nights throughout the year. If the youth nights go well, there will be more of them. She did not give further details.
The biggest challenge facing FCSS in the future will be awareness and keeping the volunteer base up, according to Millard. She explained there are people that are not aware of what FCSS is or the programs offered.
“I try to get people to know that we have free programming available for them,” she said.
Millard said FCSS has tried doing open houses and volunteer drives in the past under previous coordinators. She didn’t feel those attempts were overly successful. Her strategy will be to get out in the community as much as possible.

Haylie Millard

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