Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Caroline Neighbourhood Place has served the community for 21 years.

Report by Helge Nome 

Back in the 1990ies there was a call for government services to be decentralized and more control to be given to local people. In 1998-99 representatives from the Diamond Willow Child and Family Services Authority, which served Central Alberta in those days, approached people in the Caroline area with the idea of setting up an independent local organization to serve people looking for support from government and private programs in the human services field.

The offer was accepted, a board was formed under the umbrella of the Village of Caroline Council, and a coordinator, Dallas Logan was hired. Her base was the Village office in Caroline and the greeting to prospective walk-ins was: "You are in the right place, how may I help you?" The idea was for people to be able to walk in off the street and inquire about programs and services available, rather than being bounced around between agencies, trying to find a way to deal with a concern.

The official opening of Caroline Neighbourhood Place, based on a funding commitment from the Alberta Government, happened on October 27, 2000 on the front steps of the Village office.

Since then, Caroline Neighbourhood Place, under the direction of a volunteer board, has operated out of several local venues providing a range of services to the community:

Persons have access to support through walk-ins, phone, email and receive assistance with resources and materials for whatever their situation may be. Hosting of various community workshops and presentations, including the annual Volunteer Appreciation event. Publishing the "Around Caroline" monthly newsletter and lately, Covid 19 resources and financial support for the Caroline Meals on Wheels program. The "Santas Anonymous" and "Adopt a Family/Senior" programs are also run by Caroline Neighbourhood Place.

Not long after its establishment, Caroline Neighbourhood Place became a not-for-profit society operating under an independent board and established cooperative relationships with many local groups and individuals including the Village of Caroline (its mother duck), Caroline School, Asoekwin Friendship Centre, Clearwater Family and Community Support Services, Rocky Community Learning Council, Shepherd's Food Bank in Caroline and others.

Since 2013, Sara Turchet has ably managed the affairs of the society and is currently based in an office in the mini mall next to ATB Financial in Caroline. This office space is also available to other community groups to serve the local community on an as-needed basis.

Pre-pandemic Caroline Neighbourhood Place team. Front: Sara Turchet, coordinator. Back, board members: Carrie Bergevin, Mary Bugbee, Charles Pearn, Leslie Detta, Helge Nome.

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