Aviva starts local drive
By RENÉE FRANCOEUR
A Red Deer society who will work to get survivors of sex and labour trafficking back on their feet is calling for public votes to help secure the funding they need for a long-term facility.
It will be the second such facility in Canada.
The Magdalene House Society has joined the popular, nationwide Aviva Community Fund contest to kick start their $500,000 fundraising campaign, slated to officially begin on Dec. 3 at Parkland Mall.
The society wants to build a home with 12 spots for men and women struggling to recover from the trauma experienced by human trafficking.
In the meantime, they want to lease space beginning in January to help at least six individuals.
“We’re recognizing the need for a place to recover for those exploited by either labour or sex trafficking,” society president David Bouchard said.
“They can stay there as long as they need to and we’ll provide help with job skills training, dress for success training and they can take over their lives again.
“If they don’t have that long term care, they will often end up in the same trap again, as we’ve seen from other agencies.”
Aviva Insurance holds the annual competition to donate a share of $1 million to various community organizations to generate positive change from sea to sea.
Project ideas that receive the highest number of online votes from the Canadian public move onto a second, third and semifinal round of voting to determine the top 30 projects, all of which will receive a minimum of $5,000.
Aviva judges then select the grand prize winners based on certain criteria, such as the likelihood of success and the level of community impact.
Other Central Alberta organizations are also setting their sights on securing votes for bolstered finances with Aviva. Red Deer’s Guitar Bank, a group that refurbishes old guitars and donates them to those less fortunate, has joined the competition.
It’s looking for up to $50,000 to help spread awareness, purchase supplies, build a website and eventually acquire a space for business.
In Sylvan Lake, the Serenity Pet Shelter Society is seeking extra money to build feral cat shelters, covered feeders and waterers “so feral cat colonies can remain intact but not breeding,” in response to the community’s abandoned cat problem.
Residents in Delburne are looking to see if there’s interest in building a recreation/drop-in/play centre to make the community just as fun as it is in the summer time with its outdoor spray park.
The Caroline Community Hub is looking for help in completing the construction of its new 13,000-square-foot addition to the existing community complex, a $1.4-million project set to break ground this fall.
Ashley Hilkewich with the Aviva Community Fund Team estimated there are about 30 projects across Central Alberta vying for votes in the competition, a “great showing for the region,” she said.
To place a vote, which can be cast once a day, visit www.avivacommunityfund.org.