By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on June 26, 2021.
The Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta presented two local initiatives with a $25,000 grant funded by its Smart and Caring Community Grant on Friday afternoon.
The grant, part of the Community Impact Award, is designed for organizations with innovative project ideas showing creativity, leadership and community support.
“We see what they’re doing in the community. We see the impact they’re making in the community,” said Myrna Stark, community leadership committee chair for the CFSEA.
Cycling Without Age, a new group, was one of the grant recipients and its goal is to pilot a project that will take seniors from the Cypress View Foundation on bike rides. Julie Lacasse, volunteer, says without the grant they wouldn’t be able to purchase the two special bicycles to pilot the project.
“We want to test this program that’s an international movement to give the feeling of wind in the hair for older people and take them for a ride,” said Lacasse with a laugh.
“We hope people can continue riding well into their senior years, but there’s a point when you’re not able to physically ride yourself and being able to go for a bike ride is still an enjoyable experience,” said Carter Gramlich, chair of Bike Medicine Hat. “You’re cruising along the trail a little bit faster than you would when out for a walk or in a wheelchair and being able to get out and see the city again is a great experience.”
Lacasse adds they encourage family members to bring their bikes and join in on the ride, or have a grandchild sit in the front of the bike with the resident. The bike will be operated by a volunteer from Bike Medicine Hat, with two seats up front for the seniors.
The second grant was awarded to Our Collective Journey’s recovery coach program, which will take place at the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank’s new community centre, slated to open at the end of July.
“Later this fall, myself and some of the other guys are going to Vancouver and get certified as recovery coaches,” said Ryan Oscar, director of programming. “We’re in the middle of coming up with recovery coach programming, so it’s a recovery oriented practice and it’s more along the lines of abstinence-based recovery.”
Oscar adds it will be a hands-on approach and an individualized service for anyone who needs help navigating that abstinence-based recovery and aren’t sure how to do it. He says the program will be open to anybody aged 18 and up.
“It’s a new approach to the same old problems that aren’t being solved by the same old solutions – so we’re trying something different,” he said.