The legacy of the Alouette Home Start Society will live on through a recent endowment grant given to the Maple Ridge Community Foundation.
On Nov. 22, at the Community Foundation’s granting ceremony, the society donated $80,000 as an endowment fund for youth homelessness and those at risk of such. Much of the fundraising for Alouette Home Start had to do with youth services.
”Part of that is just that if you can catch people young who are falling into homelessness, then they are less likely to spend their life homeless,” said Alouette Home Start Society director Candace Gordon.
“That’s why we decided to target that age group, although we did provide services for all ages,” Gordon added.
The money for the donation has come from Home Start Society that Gordon is hoping will be closed for good by May 11, the date of Community Foundation’s big fundraising dinner when they announce the Citizen of the Year.
The society was started in 2003 to address homelessness in Maple Ridge.
But eventually the society was facing challenges.
“We were not being able to attract people to the board because we had had a lot of negative publicity,” explained Gordon.
Also, the society was set up to deal with people who had been stabilized and almost ready to go into housing. However, the society was told it would have to accept people straight off the street.
“They were a much more challenging group to deal with. We weren’t set up for that,” said Gordon.
The society also had to shut down the Iron Horse youth safe house.
So two years ago, members decided to disband the society.
The supportive housing building Alouette Heights, which the society opened in 2012, was taken over by Coast Mental Health.
But shutting down the society had taken much longer than Gordon and others with the group anticipated.
Currently, they are taking care of all final expenses with the society, such as legal fees and the storage fee for files that they have to keep for seven years in case somebody who used their services accuses them of being negligent.
What they are hoping is that the Community Foundation will help to grow the amount and generate $10,000 every two years to be granted for youth initiatives.
They also made it a point not to make the donation anonymous.
“The Community Foundation does tremendous work in our community and we wanted to try and encourage people to think about them and donate money to the foundation. Legacy giving is a good thing to do,” said Gordon.
“And from our perspective, if you have ever known a child that was homeless, it would be good to further endow the fund in your deeds,” she added.
The home start society is hoping to donate $20,000 more, to present to the foundation at the Community Foundation’s Citizen of the Year dinner on May 11, 2019.
Maple Ridge Community Foundation grant recipients provided from the MRCF general endowment fund annual interest and earnings:
• Alouette Addictions Services, health and nutrition, art therapy and parenting programs – $1,400;
• Alouette River Management, Community Wildlife Workshops – $1,500;
• Big Brothers, Big Sisters, mentoring program for kids – $1,500;
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, Seniors Party Bus – $2,500;
• Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, Youth Wellness Centre – $1,000;
• Family Education and Support Centre, Community Kitchen Program – $1,500;
• Friends In Need Food Bank, School Lunches and Snacks Program – $500;
• Innervisions Recovery Program, workbooks for program participants – $1,000;
• MADD Frader Valley, School Assembly Program for Grades 7 through 12 – $1,000;
• Maple Ridge Arts Council, Mobile Art Program for Adults and Children – $2,000;
• Meadow Ridge Rotary, Starfish Backpack Program – $2,625;
• Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre, replace equipment, toys and supplies damaged in flood – $2,000;
• Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, volunteer recruiting and training program – $1,500;
• Rotary Club of Haney, Youth Leadership Program Grades 9 to 12 – $3,500;
• YFC Youth Unlimited, High School Breakfast Program – $1,500.
Maple Ridge Community Foundation directed grant recipients that address immediate needs in the community:
• Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, Youth Restorative Justice, provided by the George Mussallem Youth Fund – $1,500;
• Friends In Need Food Bank, School Meal and Snack Program, provided by Maple Ridge Chrysler Jeep Dodge – $1,500;
• Maple Ridge Secondary, Breakfast Program, provided by George Mussallem Youth Fund – $2,000;
• Maple Ridge Secondary, Wings Program, provided by Maple Ridge Chrysler Jeep Dodge – $1,000;
• Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, provided by the Cable Family Endowment Fund – $10,000;
• School District 42 Alt School, Food Program, provided by Maple Ridge Chrysler Jeep Dodge – $1,000;
• Three Rivers Scouts, provided by the George Mussallem Youth Fund – $1,500;
• YFC Youth Unlimited, High School Breakfast Program, provided by Maple Ridge Chrysler Jeep Dodge, $1,500.