Published on October 07, 2013
Doug Kinar, executive director of the Prince Albert CMHA, holds up a Roughrider quilt the volunteers at the Homestead Quilters vocational program made during one of their sessions.
Published on October 07, 2013
One of the local mental health participants in the Prince Albert CMHA’s Homestead Quilters vocational program displays a quilt she helped create.
When people are feeling isolated and lonely, a great way to feel better is to be around others.
The Prince Albert branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has a variety of vocational programs available, including the Homestead Quilting program.
“We have a service contract with the health region to provide vocational programs and a drop-in centre … This breaks the cycle of isolation, gives them a place to go and something to do when they get here, a sense of purpose, helps their self esteem and motivates them towards moving forward,” executive director Doug Kinar said. “There are not a lot in the quilting program but they come and go.”
The vocational work programs help give them pride in the fact they are doing something productive, he explained. It also gives them a sense of belonging to the community.
The programs have had a positive effect on the participants, Kinar said.
Those who participate support each other have reduced number of hospitalizations and transition into the regular work force.
The volunteers in the programs are paid an honorarium, Kinar said.
Although the quilting program is not necessarily the most popular program, it does yield positive results. Not only do the participants get all of the positive outcomes Kinar listed, they also have a hand in creating something meaningful.
Not only do they take unsold clothing from the Good As New store to make into quilts, they also will create a number of other quilts community members ask for.
“What we have done in the past, a lot of people don’t know what to do with the clothing from someone who has passed,” Kinar said. “They don’t want to just throw it out but it might not be in good enough shape to donate to sell, so what do you do with it? One of the things that we have done is make what we call a memory quilt.”
He said if people bring in a bag of clothing from a loved one, they can cut it up into squares to make a quilt.
“Now you have something you can remember your loved one by simply because you can wrap yourself up in it,” Kinar said. “It t is warm, it is useful and it is a way to deal with the clothing that you have.”
They will also make special occasion quilts, for a family member, a wedding or anniversary, retirement or even a favourite sports team.
“If you bring or send us some photographs, we can use a special print layout plastic stuff that allows us to laminate it onto the quilt squares,” Kinar said. “Then we can sew those squares into a quilt.”
They can also make quilts to match the colours in a person’s home or a new baby’s room. Kinar said they can make any size from small lap quilts to king sized.
“They are all one of a kind and unique,” Kinar said. “We have quite a catalogue of past quilts.”
If anyone is interested in commissioning a quilt, they can call the CMHA at (306) 763-7747 and ask for Anna-Marie.
Other vocational work programs include the Nest Drop-in Center, the Nest Lunch program, the support program and the As Good As New store program.