© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Self Help and Recreation Education (SHARE) executive director Robin Knudsen is seen at the site of the organization‚Äôs ‚ÄúGigantic Indoor Garage Sale,‚ÄĚ at 1700 Sixth Avenue West.
Regardless of how much money they raise, the Self Help and Recreation Education building at 1700 Sixth Avenue West is getting a new roof this summer.
Better known as S.H.A.R.E, the organization provides vocational, social and recreational programming for people living with mental illness.
Although they‚Äôve only raised about $45,000 toward a re-roofing project estimated to cost as much as $400,000, it must get done, executive director Robin Knudsen said.
‚ÄúWe have to do the roof regardless this year, so I‚Äôm going to have to get a loan or something,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs leaking all the time. Every year we fix the leaks, but every year we get more -- it‚Äôs got to get fixed.‚ÄĚ
In addition to leaks, the roof is not insulated, resulting in a monthly heating bill during the winter as high as $7,000 -- a bill a new insulated roof will cut in half, Knudsen said.
The building facing a new roof is the old Molson brewery building that S.H.A.R.E. purchased a couple years ago -- a building for which they have ambitious plans.
However, before they start the extensive interior renovation, the roof has to be dealt with.
S.H.A.R.E. is holding a ‚ÄúGigantic Indoor Garage Sale‚ÄĚ from Thursday to Saturday at the old Molson brewery building at 1700 Sixth Avenue West, with people encouraged to enter from the south entrance off 18th Street.
The sale will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Although they have enough items to be put up for sale, Knudsen said that those interested in donating items can still do so -- They‚Äôll just hold onto them until the next garage sale.
All proceeds from the sale will go toward the down payment for the new roof, therefore paring down interest payments.
The organization has been fundraising for a new roof every since they moved into the building, but efforts haven‚Äôt been easy.
A gala evening they were planning to host last year was cancelled due to a lack of public interest -- a cancellation that Knudsen chalked up to the ongoing stigma attached to mental health.
It‚Äôs leaking all the time. Every year we fix the leaks, but every year we get more -- it‚Äôs got to get fixed. Robin Knudsen
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre sick like anyone else is sick -- they take medication to stay well,‚ÄĚ he explained.
‚ÄúThey might not be perfect to go out and get a real job because they have that stigma, for one, plus they might have to get out to see their doctor at certain times.‚ÄĚ
At S.H.A.R.E., those living with mental illness are treated as anyone else and are provided with vacation time and sick leave -- albeit, perhaps more sick leave than traditional employers are willing to provide.
‚ÄúThey just have a little more leeway when it comes to doctor‚Äôs appointments and personal issues,‚ÄĚ Knudsen said.
After this week‚Äôs garage sale, the next big S.H.A.R.E. fundraiser will look back on the Molson brewery building‚Äôs roots, with a bottle drive from May 5 to May 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
During the bottle drive, those interested in dropping off bottles and cans can do so from the south entrance off 18th Street West, or can call 306-922-0255 to have bottles and cans picked up.
S.H.A.R.E. currently has between 40 and 50 people living with mental illness who show up for work on a regular basis.
Knudsen noted that 50 is the limit they‚Äôve set for themselves due to limits in funding, and that with more funding they could easily provide 100 people with work per day.
In addition to their vocational and recreational programming at their Sixth Avenue West location, S.H.A.R.E. has a group home on Branion Drive that houses six people living with mental illness who require intermediate housing and two respite beds.