A year of challenges and accomplishments

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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A strong, vital, highly respected organizations

Maggie’s Place Cumberland executive director Carolyn d’Entremont, board members Christina Miller, Effie Weatheree and Colchester executive director Linda Legere look over a copy of the organization’s annual report. 

AMHERST – While it was a year of challenge, it was also one of accomplishment at Maggie’s Place family resource centres in Cumberland and Colchester.

Speaking at the organization’s annual general meeting, the Amherst centre’s executive director said staff rose to the challenges created by health issues and personal losses.

“In Cumberland County it has been a great year of growth and expansion as well as a tremendously challenging year for everyone,” Carolyn d’Entremont said. “A number of our staff have dealt with their own and family health issues and have endured a number of personal losses and challenges. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I am blessed to work with a group of strong, committed women who rise to the occasion time and time again to Maggie’s Place the wonderful place it is.”

d’Entremont said the centre’s children’s team offered numerous programs during the year, including Pete the Cat, Llama, Llama Red Pajama, Wonderful World of Wizards, Friday Funtimes and Pop-Up and partnered with the Four Fathers Memorial Library for programs for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

It also operated a number of special Saturday events that included a Halloween party and an Easter party and was able to create partnerships with GFS Foods and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.

Maggie’s Place Amherst also received IWK funding that allowed it to work with the Cumberland Health Authority to produce the Special Delivery DVD for new and expecting mothers. This partnership also led to a successful THRIVE breastfeeding grant that allowed a collaborative model in Pugwash with additional programs expected in Springhill and Parrsboro in the fall.

The executive director said another successful addition to the program line-up this year was Women of Wonder that had support from the community health boards, while wellness grants from the SOAR, SPAR and Pugwash and Area Community Health Board have also proven beneficial.

Maggie’s Place partnered with Public Health to create an Oral Wellness for Youth project through the Cumberland Child and Youth Foundation. This program allows for funding for children with dental issues that exceed the $300 in funding available through Health and Wellbeing grants.

It was also able to expand its programming for children ages 11 to 16 by working with the YMCA and Amherst to establish two youth drop-ins at the YMCA.

d’Entremont said Maggie’s Place was also active with the Kool Kats for girls, the Chicks Night Out Group that meets weekly and volunteers at area nursing homes and the animal shelter, Schools Plus and Coats for Cumberland.

The organization was also involved with a number of community-led initiatives such as HarbourFest in Pugwash, the Highland Fling in Amherst and the Minds in Motion Walk, while it also hosted an early years parent consultation for Community Services and the newborn assessment team from the IWK/Grace.

“In addition to our strong staff teams, we are also thankful to have volunteers who generously give their time to act as greeters, receptionists, child-care providers and fundraisers,” d’Entremont said. “Whenever there is a special event or the need for extra hands, we can always count on you to come through for us.”

Board co-chairs Linda Harrison (Cumberland) and Christina Miller (Colchester) reported a busy year.

Financially, they said core funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada does not cover core programs and services. As a result, Colchester had to raise money through a variety of fundraisers, while Cumberland had to use its contingency fund (from when it was a landlord) to fund operations.

Another challenge has been maintaining a full board of directors and there is not a complete slate for the coming year.

Despite this, Harrison and Miller said there are many positives in the support it receives from organizations like the United Way and a large cadre of groups, individuals and community agencies.

“As a result we are able to report that Maggie’s Place ends its 19th year as a strong, vital and highly respected organization ready to meet the challenges of the coming year,” Harrison and Miller wrote in the annual report.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland, YMCA, GFS Foods Central Regional School Board SPAR and Pugwash and Area Community Health Board Cumberland Child and Youth Foundation Chicks Night Out Group Schools Plus Community Services Public Health Agency of Canada United Way

Geographic location: AMHERST, Colchester, Cumberland County Pugwash Chignecto Springhill Parrsboro

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