Event aims to help protect families and children
Ranch location features horses, fishing and century-old church
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 06:00 am
To learn more, people can call 905-921-0166 or visit www.protectingcanadianchildren.ca.
A national organization dedicated to establishing a full reckoning of the mistreatment and deaths of Canadian children in care is gearing up for a major awareness and fundraising event to be held this weekend in Calgary.
Protecting Canadian Children (or PCC) wants the weekend festivities to draw more attention to the importance of preserving family-centred care. Alberta spokesperson Velvet Martin said these kinds of promotions are necessary in order to keep the spotlight on a very important issue.
“I don’t believe that a lot of people understand that there’s a plight of children right here in Canada, right here within our province of Alberta. We’re dealing with 744 lost lives … and only 56 were ever disclosed to the public. People don’t really know that we have a lot of challenges to overcome in being open and transparent and accountable,” she said, referring to the disclosure last year of a multitude of child deaths in care that were previously undisclosed to the public.
“We’re just really seeking to make a difference, make some changes to help the children.”
Martin is the local woman whose 13-year-old daughter, Samantha, lived most of her life with a foster family in Morinville. The teenaged girl died of cardiac arrest while in that care, allegedly the result of neglect. Martin went on to petition government to establish a new amendment to the Alberta Family Support for Children with Disabilities Act, commonly called Samantha’s Law, to be enacted.
This weekend, to her, will be a way for many people to rally behind the cause.
The PCC is a group that bills itself as a “committed, honourable group of concerned citizens… alarmed by the current state of affairs within Child Protective Services,” according to its website.
Martin added that it would be a fantastic weekend at a spectacular southern Alberta location: Bar None Ranches, just south of Calgary. For one thing, she said, there’s a fully stocked trout pond ready for anglers of all experience levels.
“People can go there fishing. There’s stables and foals. The grounds are amazing!” she exclaimed. “There’s a race track on the property!”
Guests are invited to take a guided tour through the breeding stables and the renovated 110-year-old St. James Church right on site.
In addition, there will be lots of family fun, including games and crafts for the kids, a butterfly release, a slip and slide and fireworks too. There will also be live music, a henna artist and vendor booths with Scentsy, South Hill Designers and local artists, plus silent auction, raffles and 50/50 draws.
The Foundations for Family-Centred Care event takes place at the Bar None Ranches in DeWinton, 10 minutes south of Calgary, on Saturday and Sunday. It will feature some very surprise celebrity guests as well, including Chris Williams from NBC’s One Big Happy.
Organizers have also announced that Scott Sanders from Calgary alt-rock band 8nchange will make an appearance. Sheila Ann Smith will also perform.