Kiwanis members support Prince Albert youth

Jodi Schellenberg
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The local Kiwanis club is helping make life better for the youth of Prince Albert.

The Kiwanis Club members present a cheque for $2,250 to Ryan Deraps and Ryan Childress of Ranch Ehrlo on Tuesday.

Last year, after hearing about Ranch Ehrlo’s challenge to get a trailer for hauling sports equipment, the Kiwanis Club decided to step in to help.

“We committed a total dollar value to the project of $4,500 and we felt as a club with our other commitments it was something we could complete over a two year period,” Garth Beddome of the Kiwanis Club said. “We provided a cheque for $2,250 up front.”

With the initial donation, Ranch Ehrlo was able to put a payment down on a covered trailer and the Kiwanis Club presented the second cheque for $2,250 to Ranch Ehrlo on Tuesday.

“We feel very good abut the partnership we have had the last couple years that benefits the young children here in Prince Albert,” said Kevin Mugford director of residential services for programs north for Ranch Ehrlo.

“We want to thank you for all the work you do in our community and on behalf of the youth,” Beddome replied. “It is part of our mandate to service the children of the world, to make sure our children are served and you are part of the group that does that.”

The organization is dedicated to providing programming and housing for youth in Prince Albert and area.

“Our main base, main office and main housing is out in Buckland, just north of town,” Mugford said. “We have two of our homes, programming and services for young children, male and female, ages 12 to16.

“Those children, new youth to us, once they come and settle into the reality that they need support from people like us, things generally go well over a period of time,” he added. “Those children that live out at Buckland end up having the opportunity to move into a more settled home where children are working towards developing resumes and going to regular mainstream school and high school.”

The children in Prince Albert are living in Matheson House, which is located behind Queen Mary School in the west flats.

There are two important employees who have worked on the programming in the city and helped determine the trailer was important -- Ryan Deraps, the unit manager of Matheson House, and Ryan Childress, a youth care worker and co-ordinator of the community sports program.

When the Kiwanis Club heard about the sports programming, they wanted to help out. Their donation made it possible to buy a better trailer than anticipated to haul equipment, Mugford said.

“That trailer has gotten significant use for the community sports program and also for internal Ranch Ehrlo programming for the children when we take them camping or on trips such as that,” Mugford said.

This winter, the trailer has been used for the Outdoor Hockey League and can also be used for other sports such as dodge ball, soccer, indoor hockey and basketball.

Although the main purpose of the sports program is to provide a service to low-income children, out of Parkland Hall in the west flats and Midtown Hall in the east flats, it also has another important purpose -- to help the older youth learn job skills and volunteer.

“As much as we provide programming for the children of the west flat and east flat, we also provide a pre-employment opportunity for the children as well that we provide care for at Ranch Ehrlo,” Mugford said.

At Matheson House, there are 10 children who have goals of doing well in school, progressing to building a resume and applying for local jobs.

“A number of our youth have be employed at McDonald’s or Walmart, which is a huge stretch over where they would have been in the year previous when they arrived at Ranch Ehrlo, usually in significant family turbulence,” Mugford said.

At Matheson House, Childress and Deraps will interview the children for different volunteer positions in the sports program and explain the responsibilities.

For example with floor hockey, the teenagers will have to put out equipment, supervise the young children, drop the puck and sort out any mini conflicts that may happen.

“We add that to their resume -- that they have been volunteers,” Mugford said. “We tend to pay them a minimal salary for contributing to programming and hopefully then towards a resume and applying for employment outside of Ranch Ehrlo for some of the community opportunities.”

It opens many doors for the children and youth, giving them a way to enter the workforce.

“In the end, you folks are generously contributing to all of that,” Mugford said to the Kiwanis members. “We appreciate it … A significant thank you on the end of Ranch Ehrlo and more specifically on behalf of the young children in Prince Albert to the Kiwanis Club.”

Organizations: Kiwanis Club, Matheson House, Queen Mary School Outdoor Hockey League Walmart

Geographic location: Buckland

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