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 Welcome to our Member Spotlight Page. 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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Safe Communities





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..







Victim Services





Joan Suddaby

Executive Director, GPVSU 


People Helping People


             by Rachael Rode, Communications Specialist



Joan Suddaby is the Executive Director at Grande Prairie and District Victim Services, which is located inside the RCMP detachment in Downtown Grande Prairie. They are primarily a referral agency, where their goal is to “meet with the individual and assist them with the court process.” To understand what that means to them and to their clients, Suddaby explained three important areas in which Victim Services assists its clients: restitutions, victim impact statements, and applying for financial benefits. 




First of all, victims may write a restitution in case of a theft, which can be read during the court proceedings. Secondly, a victim impact statement may also be read during court proceedings. Last of all, victims can apply for financial benefits through the Victims of Crime fund. Victim Services is a referral agency because it doesn’t directly provide these benefits to clients. However, without the knowledge the agency provides, many victims would not be aware of the help available to them. 




Not only does Victim Services help its clients in these practical areas, but also their court support worker can accompany the client during the court procedure, as well as keep the client updated on their file until it is completed, explained Suddaby. There are other ways Victim Services seeks to make clients more comfortable and alleviate apprehension while attending court. For example, if a client has never been to a courtroom, a representative of Victim Services will provide an orientation prior to the client going to court. There is one ‘soft room’ at the courthouse where the client may wait until it is time for them to attend court; this space is meant to provide privacy and a sense of security. 




Victim Services’ area of service includes The County of Grande Prairie No. 1, Grande Prairie, and Spirit River Detachment areas; Birch Hills County; Saddle Hills County; M.D. of Greenview #16; and the Village of Rycroft and Town of Sexsmith. No matter where their clients are from, Victim Services leaves a lasting impact. “When [the victims] walk in that door their first time they have no idea what’s going to happen. And just having the staff or advocates being able to talk to them about the process, you can just see them leave and they appear relieved,” Suddaby said. Previous clients of Victim Services show their thanks in many ways for all the support that Victim Services provides. For example, Suddaby recounted a client they assisted two months ago who recently gave a financial donation, stating she’d “give more if [she] could”. Such a gift is a true reflection of the impact Victim Services leaves on its clients.




Grande Prairie and District Victim Services provides service 365 days a year, 24/7. It’s no surprise that they need a strong volunteer base to support all the services they provide to victims. “We have volunteer advocates that assist us with the ‘on-call service’ which is provided after office hours,” said Suddaby, adding that volunteers can also perform the role of court support workers, complete administration tasks, and help out at public events as well as other aspects of community relations. Additionally, Victim Services is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Like most non-profit organizations, Victim Services also hosts fundraisers to help offset the operating costs of the program.




If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer, Victim Services will provide the training needed. They utilize E-Learning, an online training program which will provide information in relevant areas, such as sudden death, suicide prevention, tragic accidents, and more. Additionally, volunteers must pass an enhanced security check equivalent to RCMP clearance. Because of the long wait list, which is eight months to a year to get the security clearance completed, it can be hard to enlist volunteers. However, despite the delay in application and engagement, the difference that Victim Services makes in the lives of its clients, and your opportunity to be a part of it, is worth the wait. Currently, they’re recruiting Board Members and advocate volunteers.




“People want to help people. That’s why they volunteer,” Suddaby stated. It’s a simple reason, but it’s the heart mentality of any volunteer. Contact Victim Services as 780-830-5755, visit them on the web at grandeprairievictimservices.com, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get involved. 







Disclaimer of Liability: This page contains links to third-party service provider websites. Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau is not responsible and assumes no liability for the content or materials available on any linked third-party sites.


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