Synergy is regretful to announce that two programs, the Child Safe Program (Babysitter’s Course and Home Alone), and the Youth Encouraging Lasting Leadership (YELL) Program will be cancelled as of Dec. 31, due to a funding cut.
“The Synergy Youth and Community Development Society (Synergy) Board of Directors would be remiss not to add that they are disappointed in the Human Service Advisory Board (HSAB) recommendation and City Council’s decision not to fund the programs,” said Synergy Executive Director, Patty Sproule.
YELL is a training program that has hosted the All Candidates Forum during election time since 2007.
They also hosted the annual Anti-Bullying Program, and Pretty in Pink where they create and present interactive assemblies for local elementary and middle school students.
“The YELL Youth Council has long served as a voice for the Chestermere’s youth, developing relationships with elected officials; volunteering at community events; creating, testing, administering, analyzing, and presenting the results of more than one well-received youth needs survey,” Sproule said.
A Youth Internship Program has been offered in tandem with YELL for seven years and provides comprehensive job readiness training including first aid, CPR, community service, resume writing, and interview skills.
The group is also responsible for the mural at John Peak Park, and the painted garbage cans around the city.
The YELL Youth Council logs thousands of community volunteer hours per annum and the Synergy Board could not be prouder of what they have achieved over the years.
The Synergy Board of Directors is grateful for the Chestermere Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and United Way Chestermere Partnership funding they have recently been granted to provide contracted counselling services to youth and families, operate SHOUT peer support programs and co-facilitate the Chestermere and Area Mental Health Coalition.
FCSS funding is provided by the province and United Way funding is provided by the United Way of Calgary and Area, to municipalities to fund locally driven preventive social initiatives to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.
“We were not given a reason by the funding was cut. We have asked for a meeting with city staff and a Volunteer Board Member to get some feedback. We know there is a finite amount of funding available and many more requests than the allotted budget will cover but we do not know why they specifically chose not to fund these two programs,” Sproule said.
Adding, “Depending on Rocky View County FCSS funding, which we are waiting to hear about, we will be offering some components of YELL in SE Rocky View.”
Synergy Staff and volunteers write grant applications and plan fundraisers to purchase program supplies, enhance existing programs, and offer additional small projects to the community, however, covering an entire program is not possible to sustain with non-local grants or donations through fundraisers.
“Regional, provincial and federal funders are hesitant to fund any grassroots program that serves only local people without the municipal government providing at least the fundamental funds required to sustain them,” Sproule said.
Synergy is taking every chance they can get to celebrate YELL members, Alumni, and the program, and they are extremely proud of the work they have accomplished with support from the community, and they are hopeful the city will offer the Child Safe Programs themselves or through another agency.
“It is the Synergy Boards’ view that a Municipal Government budget of $190,000, per annum, is an insufficient allocation to fund our community’s social infrastructure. It puts the HSAB in a very difficult position when they do not have enough funding for all the programs and services that are needed in a city the size of Chestermere,” Sproule said.
Adding, “We are appealing to the new City Council to provide an increase in budget for this purpose, not just for Synergy programs but for the entire not-for-profit sector.”
Synergy’s staff, volunteers, youth, and Board of Directors sincerely appreciate the support of those community members who have valued their programs over the years.
For further information call 403-212-0242, extension 1, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Synergy’s programs please visit www.yoursynergy.ca.