Barb Barber, executive director of The Outreach Centre, stands in the newly completed Dragonfly Children’s Healing Centre. file photo

The Dragonfly Children’s Healing Centre set to open next month

Expanded programming will broaden scope of The Outreach Centre’s work

The dream of seeing a new facility aimed at expanding services for children via The Outreach Centre (Women’s Outreach) is quickly coming to fruition.

A grand opening for The Dragonfly Children’s Healing Centre, which will help children affected by domestic violence, will be held next month. The two-storey facility is located just across the parking lot from the Centre’s main location at 4101 – 54th Ave.

The purpose of this Centre is that it’s for children who have trauma from domestic violence, homelessness, or they’ve lost someone to suicide, explained Barb Barber, executive director of the Centre.

Children’s programs will all be moved over to the new building where they can also be expanded further.

“We are now complete with our renovations and we are just starting to move in our furnishings,” she said, adding that programs should be up and running in the new digs by mid-September.

“We are excited because it gives us more space that we are needing, and also the ability to expand the services that we are currently providing,” she said. “I look at it as a great continuum of services to children in our community. Between the Child Advocacy Centre and the services that we are going to provide, and the other services that are in the community for children, I think that we are really focusing on giving the kids in our community the opportunity to reach their full potential, and to grow into very healthy and happy adults.”

There is certainly a growing need for increasing the level of programming specific to children. Last year, the Centre saw about 2,600 adults come through the doors and attached to those 2,600 are 4,300 children between the ages of zero and 17.

As Barber has pointed out earlier, some children not only experience domestic violence, they also don’t have any solid outside influence or help that could at least provide some level of support through those damaging experiences.

Meanwhile, there will be three play therapy rooms in the Dragonfly Centre and a Snoezelen Room, which is a multi-sensory room. These rooms are specially designed to deliver stimuli to various senses, using lighting effects, colour, sounds and music, for examples.

“When I look at this place from when it was totally gutted and I was trying to conceptualize what it was really going to look like, it’s gone beyond what I ever could have imagined that it would ever be. I’m really grateful for that.

“When I stand here, I can almost hear the kids, and all the hustle and bustle that will be (in this building),” she said with a smile. “We really want this to be a place where kids can find some hope and healing from domestic violence, homelessness and from losing someone to suicide.”

Barber said the term ‘dragonfly’ has a number of meanings, but for The Outreach Centre staff and volunteers, it’s about hope, change and new beginnings.

Meanwhile, Barber said The Outreach Centre is welcoming donations to help with project costs, and is also looking for donations of things like office furniture. “We kind of look at it as ‘social impact investing’,” she explained. “It’s investing in the lives of the kids who are going to be our future community and our future citizens.

“If anyone would like to be a part of that, we’d be very appreciative.”

For more information on the project or to help out with furnishings or donations, check out www.womensoutreach.ca, email info@womensoutreach.ca or call 403-347-2480.

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