Left to right: Gary Strout

Men’s services coming – A donation will get the ball rolling for new services for men in the community

A substantial donation will enable the John Howard Society to work towards opening a presence in Fort St. James and Vanderhoof.

A substantial donation will enable the John Howard Society to work towards opening a presence in Fort St. James and Vanderhoof.

The John Howard Society is a non profit organization offering different programs for men.

The Fort Drug and Alcohol Society (FDAS) is being dissolved, because their services were taken over by Northern Health, and when a non profit society like them dissolves, the leftover funds must then go towards like-minded organizations according to Brandi Hanterman, who was part of the FDAS.

The group chose the John Howard Society (JHS) after a meeting with the Ministry of Children and Families in which the ministry said they would like to have the JHS come in and deliver a six-week program for men.

When the request was put forward to the society, JHS said they would like to come in and deliver a longer-term service for the communities.

“It’s just kind of a lasting legacy and we need services for men,” said Hanterman. “If there’s an agency that just needs a little support to come in and deliver service, then that’s where the money should go.”

While the $24,000 is not a lot of money for the amount of services needed, the hope is the money can be leveraged towards obtaining other grants so JHS can then open an office locally and set up service delivery, hiring local counsellors.

“We’re definitely in the beginning stages of defining that relationship and defining what it’s going to look like for each of the communities,” said Hanterman.

The JHS provides corrections services to reduce or prevent violence and provides mens’ services. While the Fireweed Collective Society in Fort St. James and the Omineca Safe Home in Vanderhoof provide shelter and services for women, there are few services available for men.

“That’s something that our communities, both Vanderhoof and Fort have needed for ages,” said Hanterman. The dissolving FDAS also  donated $3,000 to the Fraser Lake Society and Crisis Line, $3,000 to the Vanderhoof Neighbourlink, artwork to the Omineca Safe Home, and artwork to the Fort St. James Seniors Society.