JULIE BERTRAND / Independent reporter
Heartland Youth Center (HYC) is facing a funding shortfall of $30,000 for the year 2011 following the decision by the FCSS to cut back its annual contribution from $40,000 to $15,000.
“We intend to do a corporate campaign. That was done in the past. We can’t be running on the last dollar that we have,” said Pauline Christian, member of the HYC’s board of directors
“Our raison d’être is the programs that we offer. There are about 230 kids in different programs,” said Christian, underlining that cutting back on staff numbers is not possible without cutting back on its programs.
Christian said she believed that the government should increase funding to youth centres instead of increasing the number of prisons.
“If we start at the beginning in the structure, we’d have much more success than taking someone when they’re 40 years old and gone by the wayside because they haven’t had the self-esteem to invest in themselves,” she said.
Funding shortage is not the only challenge HYC will be facing this year. The province is looking at licensing everyone that comes in contact with children.
“I think the intent was licensing daycares and they are now broadening their scope and looking at youth centres,” explained Christian.
Licensing would mean additional paperwork, increased costs, increased funding and applying for subsidies from the province to cover the children that can’t afford the increased fees.
“We have an informational session in Leduc on March 29 and provincial employees will come to HYC on April 4 to determine if we are to be licensed,” said Christian.
Christian is hopeful that the community will come through with support for the two challenges.
“We’ll find something that works,” concluded Christian.
HYC presently gets most of its funding from FCSS, the Awesome Auction and various grants and donations.
HYC took the time during its annual general meeting on March 21 to recognize past year’s efforts made by some of its volunteers and supporters.
The Stettler Rotary club and Nancy Hamilton of the Stettler Kinettes were given the HYC Hall of fame award, in recognition of their outstanding effort and support.
Board secretary Leann Graham got the Marg Forrester memorial award in recognition of her outstanding volunteer contribution to HYC programs.
The accounting firm Chapman & Company and GPW Hauling & Pressure Ltd. were given the Corporate Cares – Business Appreciation award in recognition of their outstanding and long term support.
Jason Emblau and Chance Moon got the Nicole Blumhagen memorial award, in recognition of their outstanding volunteer contribution to the club and the community.
Cheyanne Copeland and Kyle Nims got the Lloyd’s Leaders award in recognition of their outstanding leadership, commitment and effort.
Constable David Yome and Jenn Buller were also voted in as new board members.