FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta, May 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Residents of the Wood Buffalo communities know resilience and the process of recovery better than anyone, and while the past six years have been challenging, many community organizations have stepped up to support the people here. One such program is YMCA of Northern Alberta’s Supports for Wellness program, which has been providing wellness and education opportunities to help support our community with their recovery after the 2016 wildfire since 2017.
With the pandemic taking away many of the usual opportunities to gather in person at events and workshops, the YMCA team went back to the drawing board for ways they could help families increase their engagement, build relationships and create lasting memories together.
The answer? Purchasing, assembling and delivering approximately 790 family enhancement kits to families in Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, Fort MacKay, Anzac, Janvier, Conklin and surrounding areas. The YMCA is working with partners in the community to identify families in need and help with the distribution of the kits.
“Our residents in our communities have been impacted greatly over the last six years,” says Kara Boulton, Program Manager with the YMCA and resident of Fort McMurray. “Many family dynamics have changed which impacted their mental health and recovery.”
It’s the YMCA’s hope that these kits will boost morale in the region, and open up opportunities for families to spend quality time together. Each kit delivered includes a few meal prep packages such as the supplies to make homemade pizza or tacos, and cake mixes complete with icing and decorations. They also include family-friendly board games, card games and kits to encourage socialization through play.
“The idea is that families can spend time together, creating and sharing a meal and bonding through fun,” Boulton explains. “Building strong family relationships can open the lines of communication. Families have been through a lot these past few years, and this is a way to strengthen their bond and lead to open family conversations in case new issues arise.”
The YMCA team is still at work assembling the family enhancement kits and expect to deliver them all within the next few weeks. Boulton stresses that this project would not have been possible without support from the Red Cross, the dedication of the YMCA Supports for Wellness team and the help of countless volunteers.
YMCA Supports for Wellness has impacted more than 25,000 individuals, offering wellness events, educational workshops, one-on-one counselling and more. For more information about the YMCA’s community programs, visit northernalberta.ymca.ca/hardinstreet.
About YMCA of Northern Alberta
YMCA of Northern Alberta is a registered charity dedicated to building healthy communities since 1907. From providing quality child care and supporting people in their health and wellness, to providing important housing and community outreach programs, the YMCA of Northern Alberta works to strengthen communities in the Wood Buffalo, Grande Prairie, Edmonton and Red Deer regions. For more information, visit northernalberta.ymca.ca.
Manager, Marketing & Communications
YMCA of Northern Alberta