Big brother Emmett Aronson helps his little brother Gage Bolstad to paint a window at Stettler Ford as part of ‘Paint the Town’ program of HYC to raise mental health awareness.

Big brother Emmett Aronson helps his little brother Gage Bolstad to paint a window at Stettler Ford as part of ‘Paint the Town’ program of HYC to raise mental health awareness.

Stettler businesses participate in HYC’s ‘Paint the Town’

Stettler businesses have been participating in Heartland Youth Centre's mental health awareness program 'Paint the Town'.

Stettler businesses have been participating in Heartland Youth Centre’s mental health awareness program ‘Paint the Town’ to celebrate Mental Health Week, May 2-8.

“We host this local event every couple of years to raise awareness for our need of mentors in our program Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS),” said mentoring coordinator Christel Shuckburgh of BBBS. “But this year we decided to also raise awareness for mental health.”

According to Shuckburgh, mental health matters all the time and since May 2–8 is Mental Health Week it was only fitting.

“BBBS wants you to know that a very vital way to improve your mental health is to volunteer,” added Shuckburgh. “Volunteering with youth is a great way to have some laughs and just to see life from another perspective.”

At Stettler Ford, big brother Emmett Aronson was thinking of innovative ways to paint the glass door with his small brother Gage Bolstad.

“Some of the happiest memories are the simple ones, just seeing Gage feel the love and that he belongs is so good, I can see it in his demeanour and expressions,” said Aronson. “I love my mentoring time with him and just enjoy him and his enthusiasm that he brings each time.”

Aronson started out by helping and volunteering at HYC before he became a mentor with BBBS.

“I believe that this next generation of kids will have a profound influence in this world and many of them are dealing with challenges that adults even my age have never imagined,” explained Aronson. “Therefore the inspiration is to see them grow and learn how to live in such a changing world, to allow them to be confident and honourable citizens as they explore what this world has to offer them.”

When the glass door at Stettler Ford had been painted, Gage Bolstad said, “So this painting here is of Emmett and me playing football, we painted this with the HYC and BBBS pictures for mental health awareness week.”

This is what HYC and BBBS want to instil in the community, a spirit of giving and volunteering.

“When we give back, we are also giving ourselves the gift of improved mental wellness,” said Shuckburgh. “Look for painted windows that our current Big’s and Little’s have done all around Stettler as generous businesses and organizations as well as schools have allowed us to use their windows or their signs to highlight our need for mentors.”

Boys & Girls Clubs is doing similar events like ‘Chalk About It’ in cooperation with Children and Adolescents being Resilient and Self-Regulating (CARS) by writing positive ideas in chalk around town.

BBBS has a wait list of four girls and nine boys that are waiting to be mentored, with some waiting for up to four years.

Please call Christel Shuckburgh at 403-742-5437 for more information about being a mentor.

United Way celebrates community impact in Stettler

On Thursday, May 5 United Way Central Alberta gathered at the HYC in the afternoon, from 1.00 p.m. to 1.45 p.m. to celebrate the impact created by its community investments in the town.

Investing in education, income and wellness, United Way approved another round of three-year funding for HYC’s Big Brothers Big Sisters and Rainbow Programs to enable children in the area to flourish and benefit from the programs.

“We know that mentoring programs, like Big Brothers Big Sisters have a significant impact on youth realizing their potential,” explained Robert Mitchell, CEO of United Way Central Alberta. “We invest in programs that get to the root causes of social issues so that lives are changed for the better. The programs at Heartland Youth Centre and Association of Communities Against Abuse do just that.”