Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre held an Appreciation BBQ near City Hall Park on Monday to thank the community during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

CASASC says thank you to the community

May is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre said thank you to the community by hosting a free hamburger lunch by City Hall Park on Monday.

CASASC executive director Patricia Arango said her organization wanted to thank everyone for caring and raising $750,000 at the 2017 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off that was split between CASASC and Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre.

The child advocacy centre, to be modelled after the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, will have several resources like RCMP, family services, mental health, addictions programs and the Crown prosecutor’s office in one location to avoid duplication and gaps in service.

The advocacy centre is looking for a temporary location as well as a permanent home, and CASASC plans to move into the same building.

“We just wanted to do something for the community and this is a good way to give back and say thank you in appreciation of their generosity,” Arango said while people were lining up for a free lunch.

May is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and she said the barbecue was also a way to educate more people about the centre.

“The community needs to know we are here for them. We are a safe place for them. Come to us. We are here to help you.”

CASASC is a non-profit organization that provides crisis and short-term counselling to victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault and their families.

Arango also wanted to encourage Central Albertans to join CASASC’s iRespect campaign that has been running for more than two years.

iRespect is about respect for others and respect for yourself and Arango said she will promote respect forever.

“My goal is to create a culture of respect. I don’t want to talk about the culture of rape anymore. It’s so negative.”

She said making respect a priority in society may not happen during her life, but that’s her dream.

“One day we’ll have a culture of respect.”

For more information go to casasc.ca/irespect.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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