The KEY continues to continue connect people in Fort St. James.
And despite financial uncertainty, the resource centre remains open.
According to the centre, they have received enough interim funding from Nak’azdli, Tl’azt’en Yekooche, the District of Fort St. James and others to keep us open until June 2016 at which time they will no longer be under the College of New Caledonia umbrella and will move officially under the Non-Profit Society.
The non-profit society, The KEY Resource Centre Society was incorporated in February.
Through education and training, the resource centre continues to offers essential skills in health, employment, life and literacy outreach services.
The KEY is for the community and it continues to serve everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, origin, age, disability or marital status.
Ann McCormick is the regional supervisor at the College of New Caledonia and she has seen the impact the centre has had on the community since it opened its doors in July, 2013.
“It’s about the entire community and about preserving the dignity of those in it,” McCormick said. “It’s about being a good neighbour and fostering that policy.”
“So many people are behind this now. They have seen the impacts.”
“We now know that this is a viable and much needed service in the community and we need to keep it going,” McCormick said.
The centre is open three days a week and continues to bring in about 50-60 people a day from families, teens and elders.
The KEY is all about life- long learning and empowerment. “We know that learning can lead to bigger opportunities such as employment and for some maybe even furthering their education,” McCormick said.
Service providers are readily available at the centre which continues to provide a warm and inviting space for those who would like to access a computer, use the phone, receive academic or employment counselling and various workshops are also offered.
Bernice Wilkes, has been a support worker at the centre since February, 2014. “Our centre is a safe, comfortable and culturally sensitive place,” Wilkes said. “Our patrons know that at any time, they can approach us for help. They are all informed about different programs and resources that are available.”
The process of establishing a non-profit society for The KEY is already in the works according to Judy Cormier, academic advisor and program coordinator. “We are researching several different avenues for funding in order to keep our doors open.”
“Part of being a non-profit society is establishing Patron Advisory Committees to work with the board to develop programs and work-shops.”
The centre is working with grant writer, Shauna Hesse, to apply for various grants as they continue the transition over the next few months.
“We have a unique opportunity here in Fort St. James to not only maintain but to further develop and establish a truly holistic, plus culturally and socially relevant venue for our First Nations community and the community at large,” Cormier said.
For more information about the KEY and if you would like to volunteer or donate call: (250) 996-3949.