In the absence of a Family and Community Support Services Coordinator, Town of Slave Lake Community Services Director Garry Roth facilitated the November meeting of the Interagency Council. This is made up of representatives of what are sometimes called ‘helping agencies’ in Slave Lake. The Interagency meetings give them an opportunity to promote the work they do and share details of programs and events, as well as ask questions and maybe even offer help and support to each other.
Sometimes the meetings feature special presentations. Other times – and this was one of them – it simiply consists of a ‘round-table’ session, with each attendee briefly talking about what their agency is up to.
Mental Health and Addictions
Trina Napier of AHS Addictions and Mental Health had an update on an old story: the Mental Health unit in Slave Lake isn’t just down one therapist; it is now short two of those positions. So expect waiting times if you book an appointment. On the other hand, there are drop-in times on Mondays, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., meaning no appointment is necessary.
On the addictions side, there are drop-in consultations available daily from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Free cultural workshops
Jule Asterisk of Keepers of the Athabasca spoke about a series of free cultural education workshops Keepers is offering at various Friendship Centres around Alberta, including Slave Lake’s. The next one is in January, and is on the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People, otherwise known as ‘UNDRIP.’
Asterisk said the workshop would be especially useful for people who work for institutions that serve Indigenous people, “but everybody is welcome.”
The session is on Jan. 7, noon to six, and starts with a free lunch.
Adult Ed. Courses
Donna Twin, brand new with Slave Lake Adult Education, spoke about two courses coming up. One has to do with safe food preparation and the other is a prep course for people going for their learner’s license. That one takes place in February.
Northern Haven Support Society
The organization that runs a women’s shelter in Slave Lake turned out in strength, with five or six people in attendance. Northern Haven does both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ programs, generally aimed at tackling the problem of family violence and of course helping those who are victims of it. The programming extends into area schools.
Becky Scott informed the group she is newly employed by the Rupertsland Institute, which is an agency helping Metis people find training and employment. Her office is in Northern Lakes College, Scott said. Drop by anytime. If you know any Metis people in need of employment supports, “send them my way,” she added.
Blanche Chymycz, a (or maybe ‘the’) recreational therapist with the long-term care unit at the Slave Lake Health Care Centre said she has lost her therapy assistant. So if you know anyone who might be interested…..
Providing interesting activities for the residents is one of Chymycz’s mandates and she encouraged people and groups to consider visiting.
“I’m always looking for visitors, especially this time of year,” she said. “Anyone at all.”
She was asked about bringing animals. No can do in winter, Chymycz said. A nurse is allergic to cats and dogs. In the summer is a different story, because the interaction with animal visitors can take place outdoors.
“A pack of lambs?” she said. “We can entertain you in the summer.”
Roth said Serena Weipert would be starting soon in the position of FCSS Coordinator. She was the swimming pool manager several years ago, but had moved on to work for the town of High Level.
“We’re stealing her back,” he said.
Other big news from the FCSS department is the termination of funding from the province for the Parent Link program. Other funding is expected to become available, Roth said, but the details are not known at this point. However, applications for it will be opened in January, and the province hopes to have everything in place by April 1. Roth called that “a pretty fast turnaround.”