Catholic Family Services brainstorms fundraising ideas

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Matt Gardner
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Cooking up new fundraising ideas will be a major focus of Catholic Family Services Prince Albert following its 30th annual general meeting on Tuesday.

Daily Herald

Executive director Louise Zurowski noted that while Catholic Family Services receives funding from different sources for its individual programs, that funding does not cover overhead such as administration costs.

“We’re just brainstorming, kind of kicking tires right now,” Zurowski said. “But we’re looking at something bigger that we can do for the agency to help actually sustain … operating costs over and above, like our counsellors.”

“It’s just all those extra costs that go into running an agency that we’re always struggling financially for,” she added. “So therefore in terms of big events that are going to happen, we’re just going to keep on doing what we’re doing, but we need to really address … bringing some funding into the agency.”

There are four main components to the work of Catholic Family Services around Prince Albert.

Aside from offering counseling both in-house and at schools, the non-profit offers Life Improvement Programs in areas such as anger management, the BRIDGES program funded by the Ministry of Economy that secures employment for inmates of provincial jails, and the “Setting the Stage” initiative to help women and girls suffering from violence.

Another program, offered at T.D. Michel Community School in Big River, is FAST (Families and Schools Together), which brings parents and children together for fun research-based projects.

Tuesday’s annual general meeting offered an update for those programs detailing the period between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014.

Over the course of that year, Catholic Family Services held a total of 2,320 counselling sessions and saw 3,020 people, with 474 no-shows -- roughly in line with figures from past years.

“It doesn’t fluctuate that much,” Zurowski said. “It’s about the same every year.”

It’s just all those extra costs that go into running an agency that we’re always struggling financially for. Louise Zurowski

She added that the numbers do not all the students who benefit from the group’s counseling, such as those in the Roman Catholic School Division.

“Including those numbers, it would be probably double to what it shows there right now,” she said.

Meanwhile, a total of 441 people participated in the Life Improvement Programs managed by director of programs Rose Rothenberger.

While that number is similar to previous years, Zurowski noted the vast difference in participation since the non-profit organization created the director of programs position -- prior to which participation in the Life Improvement Programs averaged between 180 and 200 each year.

“It’s huge, because we just don’t have the mandate to do this to the extent that there is a need for it,” she said.

“Working with the schools, working with the community, publicity -- lots of the people that we’re working with are marginalized people. They have difficulty paying, so helping them out, finding funding, getting them there … that’s all very time-consuming.”

By organizing all aspects of the Life Improvement Programs, the director of programs frees up other staff members to dedicate time to other activities.

Besides offering various programs, Catholic Family Services also owns and manages its own building on First Avenue West that includes numerous other tenants.

The election of a new executive team was another item of business at Tuesday’s annual general meeting. The new exec includes Jeannette Eddolls as chairperson, Denis Rivet as vice-chairperson, Rosemary Smyth as secretary and Michelle Blanchette as treasurer.

Organizations: Family Services, Prince Albert, Ministry of Economy T.D. Michel Community School

Geographic location: Big River

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