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 Welcome to the newest addition to the GPVSB website: Member Spotlight. This special feature showcases GPVSB’s most valuable assets– our members! Spotlighting members from across the GPVSB spectrum, Member Spotlight reflects the rich tapestry of our membership and profiles active Non-profit and business organizations. If you would like to be featured in this section please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Create your own member story: join GPVSB today! 

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Pregnant and Parenting Teens

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A Lasting Impact

By Rachael Rode, Communications Specialist


The Society for Support to Pregnant and Parenting Teens has been involved in the community of Grande Prairie for thirty years. Although they only joined GPVSB in 2012, Melodie McCracken, their Executive Director, affirmed that Pregnant and Parenting Teens has been in partnership with the Bureau for more than ten years. McCracken herself is a former member of the GPVSB Board—and a former client of the Pregnant and Parenting Teens program.

In fact, the cyclical nature of the program is one of its most outstanding features. “I’ve seen it for my own benefit, but also for numerous families,” McCracken said, explaining that many past and current board members were clients of the program at one point. “The families that come in . . . come back and tell us the impact the program has made,” McCracken explained. “There’s nothing stronger than testimonials.” One major volunteer who helped out in Pregnant and Parenting Teens’ Playhouse Raffle was a client of the program from seven years ago. Currently, she is working on her university teaching degree.  There are many success stories related to the program.  “It’s always hard to define success; it can be so many different things,” McCracken said.  “It can be that stay-at-home mom whose children are thriving, that engaged employee who contributes back to their community, or that [successful] business owner.” The various ways the program has impacted its clients are diverse, but the support Pregnant and Parenting Teens offers to participants always benefits and improves their lives.

Now, McCracken’s role as Executive Director is to support the staff, the board and community to create effective programs for families. “We work with young parents, under the age of 20, to support them in making healthy choices around their pregnancy,” McCracken stated, “so they can leave our program and transition into the community successfully.” Components of this support include knowledge about parenting, life skills and more. Of course this support can’t be provided without volunteers. Most volunteers work in childcare, but also they can serve on fundraising committees. After the summer, the program is expanding volunteer opportunities to data entry and organizing donations.

In childcare, volunteers are surveyed for suitability, and their skillset is assessed. The program wants to accurately match volunteer abilities with the area of engagement they are interested in. After screening, orientation is provided. Additionally, supplemental training can be provided, such as a baby signs class. “Any staff development that’s related to helping them in their role, we try to invite volunteers to do as well,” McCracken stated.
The program’s current goals include being more inclusive towards the transient community of Grande Prairie, and building a trustworthy reputation to bridge the gap to potential clients who may be apprehensive. Additionally, they want to obtain more funding to provide more father support.

“Our families come from all different walks of life,” McCracken said in summary. “Unplanned pregnancy isn’t necessarily the worst road a person can take, but it’s not the easiest of journeys either.” The Pregnant and Parenting Teens program exists because with support, these families can thrive. And that can only happen through the volunteering spirit of community members.

If you’d like to get involved with the program, the best way is to call at 780-538-3854, but you can also message them on Facebook. Don’t hesitate to make a lasting difference in the lives of pregnant and parenting youth.
 

 

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Safe Communities

 


           

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Making Safety Fun

 

by Rachael Rode, Communications Specialist

 

              Stacy Keeping is the Executive Director at Grande Prairie and Area Safe Communities, which became a member of GPVSB in 2013. Their location is easy to find: I was familiar with the mini-Tim Hortons set back from the main thoroughfare of 92nd Street. I was glad Keeping could set aside some time to illustrate an inside look at what Safe Communities does and what purpose their mini-city serves.

 

               “Safe Communities is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to injury prevention education,” Keeping summarized. “Safety City is one of our biggest projects.” Inside their facility, they have a collection of bright, crayon drawings from children: thank-you letters from participants in Safety City events. In the spring, they run programming geared towards children up to grade six. Coming up, at the end of September, they’re starting a youth program focused on grades 9 – 12. “It’s going to [educate the youth on] impaired driving, alcohol and drugs, distracted driving, and bullying,” Keeping said. This summer, they also opened Safety City up to families. Kids could come with their bikes and helmets and learn about safety, with their parents at their side.

 

              Participants come from the locale of Grande Prairie, as well as communities in Ridge Valley and Fairview. Safe Communities works with community groups from these regions, but school groups comprise the largest part of their clientele.

 

              At Safe Communities, volunteers mainly assist with the programming. In the Street Smart program, young children get the thrill of driving mini Jeeps around Safety City. Parents and volunteers help the kids operate the vehicles and keep them on the road. As well, during Safety City’s Halloween event, there are many volunteers required to help the event run smoothly. Twelve stations are hosted by local businesses which hand out candy and promote safe trick-or-treating. Although Safe Communities doesn’t ask for as many volunteer needs as some non-profits, they definitely appreciate their volunteers: they host an end-of-year volunteer luncheon and give thank-you cards to show their gratitude.

 

              Safety City is making a difference in the lives of the very young as well in the lives of young adults. “We get a lot of feedback from children who attend the programs. They send us pictures and letters. We get emails from teachers,” Keeping said. At their Halloween event, children who walk through will say that they remember going through the Street Smart program. “When you’re being remembered, you know you’re helping,” said Keeping.

 

              To continue to provide their educational services, Safe Communities wants to promote the growth of their miniature city. “Safety City has kiosk spaces available. We need the community to come together and grow,” stated keeping. The kiosks are open for purchase to all businesses in Grande Prairie and surrounding areas. What could be more fun than building a miniature version of your business? The expansion of Safety City will not only help to fund Safe Communities’ efforts, but it will make Safety City look more realistic to the children.

 

              If you’d like to get involved with Safe Communities’ injury prevention initiatives, call (780) 402-2818 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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