The new Dragonfly Children’s Healing Centre is unveiled on Friday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

WATCH: Dragonfly Centre for children’s healing opens in Red Deer

More than 500 traumatized children will be treated annually

The official opening of The Dragonfly Centre in Red Deer on Friday highlighted the community coming together to help traumatized children overcome a rough start in life.

“This project is really to support those who have experienced domestic violence, homelessness or losing somebody to suicide, and to help them work through it and heal from it.. and to be able to be happy and healthy as young adults,” explained Barb Barber, executive-director of the Women’s Outreach.

Getting the therapy centre off the ground has been a six-year “labour of love, and an incredible process,”added Barber. “We have a fantastic community that really cares for it’s neighbours and …desires to see a healthy community.”

She stressed all the “pulling together” that happened to help create the facility at 5401-43rd Street (part of the Brewery complex). Barber said she is grateful to so many people — from sponsors who helped finance the project — including the construction crews who donated more than $102,500 of labour and materials — to her staff and community members who showed up to help with the initial demolition.

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer spoke at the opening ceremony about how it’s a credit to this city that Red Deerians are never content with the status quo, but are always pushing to create a better community.

Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller stated it’s “despicable” when individuals are violent to the vulnerable persons they are supposed to protect, but that’s the reality for many children. Now the region has a place to better help children deal with their harsh start in life, she added.

The new centre is expected to treat at least 500 children a year between the ages of three and 17.

Centre staff will use a therapeutic approach in dedicated spaces in the new facility — including one-on-one therapy rooms, group therapy spaces and a Snozelen sensory room, designed to have a soothing effect on upset of over-stimulated children.

Despite the donations made so far — including large symbolic cheque presented to Barber from Alair Construction and Renovations and 20 community partners for donations in kind — about $125,000 is still needed towards the $400,000 project.

The Women’s Outreach is still seeking sponsorships in order to buy all the needed equipment.

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