Ensuring more families in Prince Albert get the Christmas they deserve, the Indian Metis Friendship Centre of Prince Albert is gearing up to host three events this month.
“I think it’s important because we work with families who sometimes can’t provide this on their own, so it’s giving back to the community,” program director Darlene Alexon said.”
“There are some kids who might wake up Christmas morning and not have anything to open, so we’re just providing this so they’re able to have a gift, so they have something to hold onto, and some of them cherish it.”
On Thursday, the centre is hosting their annual children’s Christmas party, which will begin at 6 p.m.
About 35 children aged 12 and younger have been registered to attend the event, where they will meet Santa, receive a gift, snacks and enjoy an evening at the centre.
Students from the First Nations University and the Gabriel Dumont Institute will help get the event running, alongside inmates at the Riverbend Institution, a minimum security female prison.
Inmates have helped raise more than $600 for Thursday’s event, Alexon said.
“I think it’s awesome to see them come into the community,” she said. “They don’t ask for anything, and to just work in the community and to give something back, I think that’s pretty awesome.”
The centre’s evening youth group of about 20 youth between the ages of 13 and 24, will celebrate their Christmas party on Dec. 20, beginning at 5 p.m.
Alexon notes a dramatic change in the youth since they joined a few months ago, even helping with the centre’s veteran’s appreciation dinner last month.
“You see them when they first walk in, you see some of their manners and the language that they use, but to stand back and watch them was just awesome, to see how they catered to the veterans,” Alexon said.
Elders will also enjoy a Christmas party of their own, on Dec. 13, during which time they’ll enjoy their monthly tea, accompanied by bingo and other activities.
Alexon has also organized an evening of caroling for Dec. 19, with the group meeting at the centre at 5:30 p.m. before belting out Christmas carols.
Open to new ideas and for contributions or volunteers, Alexon said that her “door is always open.”
She can be contacted at 764-3431, extension 231.