“Champions of our community”

Tyler Clarke
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Kin Enterprises Inc. marks 50th anniversary with comedian Brent Butt during evening event at the E. A. Rawlinson Centre.

If not for Kin Enterprises Inc., the organization’s 185 intellectually disabled participants probably would be unable to stay in Prince Albert. 

“Almost all of our care homes, or our approved program homes, say that they have to have a day program or they won’t take them,” executive director Shawn Elder explained. 

“Most residential programs don’t even staff like they do during the evenings, so the individuals need a place to go during the day.”

On Saturday, Kin Enterprises Inc. marked their 50th anniversary in Prince Albert, during which comedian Brent Butt of Corner Gas fame helped explain the program to a near-capacity E. A. Rawlinson Centre crowd.

“It’s a celebration of 50 years, and we wanted people in the community of P.A. to know that we’ve been here this long and maybe raise some awareness of people with intellectual disabilities,” Elder explained prior to the event.

Over its five decades of operations, Kin Enterprises Inc. has averaged the addition of one new program per decade, director of programs and services Linda Klughart explained.

Vocational work is offered through the Starlight Restaurant, light assembly and the creation of various wood-centred products, like picnic tables and benches.

Their day programming offers more than a means of filling out one’s day, Klughart said, noting that those with intellectual disabilities are oftentimes limited in what they can do.

“For a lot of our people, they can’t drive, they can’t go out. Transportation in the city of Prince Albert isn’t good after 7 p.m. so going to a movie doesn’t happen,” she said. “It’s important to have a social life.”

Various programming offers the chance to make friends and fun throughout the day, with vocational offerings available to those able and willing to participate in that end of things -- work that comes with its own rewards and social offerings.

The focus in 1964 is the same as today – Not what people can’t do, but rather the many things they can do. Delbert Kirsch

“It doesn’t matter if it’s you or I or anyone else, if you’re sitting around doing nothing, you’re going to deteriorate,” she said. “Your brain will deteriorate, your body will deteriorate.

“By us providing activities for people we’re stimulating them, we’re giving them enrichment, we’re giving them an opportunity to grow and to stave off that dementia or whatever else might be happening.”

At Saturday’s celebration, comedian Brent Butt of Corner Gas fame walked an almost sold-out audience through Kin Enterprise Inc.’s 50-year journey.

Starting out with nine participants and two volunteers meeting in a church basement once per week, their current configuration with 185 participants is quite the step up, he noted.

It all started with a phone call into long-standing sponsor CKBI radio in 1964, current chairperson Kerry Receveur explained.

In addition to sponsors from the community, they’ve also received support from various levels of government, as indicated by guest speakers at Saturday’s event.

After referring to Kin Enterprises Inc. as “true champions of our community,” Coun. Rick Orr said that there’s a political will to help the organization at a municipal level.

With Elder noting that the organization is eying the possibility of a new shop building, Orr said that city council is keen to help out in whatever way they can.

Displaying a keen understanding of the organization, Batoche MLA Delbert Kirsch lent his own congratulations to Kin Enterprises Inc.

“Founded on principles of equality, respect and inclusion, Prince Albert has been the better for it,” he said.

“The focus in 1964 is the same as today – Not what people can’t do, but rather the many things they can do.”

Organizations: Kin Enterprise, Prince Albert, E. A. Rawlinson Centre

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