Volunteers of CASASC’s text/webchat crisis line win Community Builder Award

Recognized for making a lasting difference in community, the volunteers of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC)’s 24 Hour Text and Webchat Sexual Assault Crisis Line received the Community Builder Award.

Volunteers accepted the Red Deer Mayor’s Recognition Award on the evening of June 6 at the Cambridge Hotel.

CASASC Volunteer Coordinator Michele Kercher and CASASC Volunteer Board Member Matthew Mowbrey accepted the award from Mayor Tara Veer on stage on behalf of the 70 plus volunteers.

CASASC introduced the provincially-available 24 hour text and webchat line in May 2016. The addition to the 24 hour crisis phone line was introduced due to a missing need within the community.

The Mayor’s Recognition Awards recognize Red Deer individuals, groups or teams who have brought honour and recognition to Red Deer in one of five categories. Award recipients are selected by the Mayor’s Recognition Awards Committee, with the exception of the Mayor’s Special Award recipient, who is chosen by the Mayor herself.

Since the launch of the text/webchat line, hundreds of individuals have contacted the crisis line from across the province.The line is open to anyone affected by sexual violence.

The phone line, along with the text/webchat crisis line, are run by the volunteer coordinator and are supported by over 70 volunteers. Typically, there are over 120 text/webchat shifts to fill each month so those accessing the crisis line can speak/have contact with someone no matter the time of day. Without the volunteers taking these shifts, the text/webchat line would be unable to operate 24 hours-a-day, year round.

In 2018, volunteer responded to 220 text/webchat contacts with individuals across Alberta.

From inception (May 2016 to December 2018) volunteers have assisted 653 individuals in the province. The need for this service only increases.

No Secrets program receives grant from Community Foundation

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation has granted $7,500 to the No Secrets education program.

No Secrets is a personal safety program for children ages 5 to 9 with a focus on child sexual abuse prevention. No Secrets provides a forum from which children can discuss safe and unsafe touching, body parts including private areas, feelings and who you can tell.

In 2018 No Secrets was presented to almost 10,000 students across Central Alberta.

Thank you to the Red Deer & District Community Foundation for supporting this important prevention-based program in our community

New therapy dog joins the team

CASASC has a new furry face greeting clients as they enter the door.

Meet Sylvie, an eight-week-old Bernese Mountain dog. She joined the CASASC team on May 24 and already is a popular addition to the pet therapy team. Sylvie is in training and is working with her handler Mackenzie on a daily basis to learn all of the ins and outs of supporting clients.

Mackenzie says Sylvie has already made a difference with many clients. Seeing her adorable fluffy face and displaying her calming demeanor is enough to lighten up the mood in the office, for clients and staff alike.

Photo Credit: Pehlz Pics

Respect Day draws crowd to City Hall Park

CASASC’s annual Respect Day celebration was held on Friday, May 24 in Red Deer.

Hundreds attended to have a taste of the by donation BBQ, watch the Indigenous dancers and drummers, Country Pride line dancers and peruse the community info booths. A DJ played music throughout the afternoon, keeping the celebratory atmosphere in the park.

The day highlighted the importance of creating a culture of respect in order to combat sexual violence.

Respect Day is the awareness event connected to our current proactive campaign titled #iRespect. The goal of #iRespect is to encourage everyone (global citizens) to conduct their lives and treat one another with respect. This in turn reflects our vision – ending the culture of sexual violence and helping to build safer communities for all Central Albertans through promoting awareness and healing, education, empowerment and renewal.

Respect Day was held in connection of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.