The Key: keeping elders connected

The Key continues to keep people in Fort St. James connected but now, more than ever, it’s very much about bringing together local elders.

  • Jan. 25, 2017 8:00 a.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

The Key continues to keep people in Fort St. James connected but now, more than ever, it’s very much about bringing together local elders.

In light of a recent Nak’azdli Band survey, elders commented that many are feeling homebound due to various age or health reasons.

“The Key has offered its space to our elders” said The Key Coordinator, Bernice Wilkes.

“This will get them out every Thursday and Friday. We want this to be their program, where they can have input on what they want to do,” Wilkes said.

Planned activities so far include: storytelling, beading, sewing, movies, and friendship.

“Many of our elders are feeling lonely. This is a great way to get them out, to be together and it brings our language together,” Wilkes said.

“This is so important, to be able to get together and speak and share our language. Hopefully, we can get youth involved in this also.”

And for Wilkes, it’s also very much about the singing.

“Oh, I can’t wait until they start singing. They will be so excited. They will automatically start singing,” Wilkes says as she greets everyone who enters The Key with a big smile.

Since opening its doors in 2013, The Key Resource Centre continues to provide education and training offering skills in health, employment, life and literacy outreach programs.

The centre is for the community and it continues to serve everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, origin, age, disability and marital status.

The Key has seen its struggles and continues to look for ways to keep going through applications for various grants. No longer affiliated with the College of New Caledonia, The Key operates as a non-profit society.

And according to its patrons, volunteers and by community donations that keep coming in, it’s clear that The Key is having a positive impact in the community.

“It’s such a happy place to be. And people are always willing to donate, even our own elders who make sure we have a constant supply of flour,” Wilkes said.

“After all, they can’t go without their bannock.”

In the meantime, The Key will continue to offer programs and help provide resources to those who need them.



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