The 100 Men and 100 Women Who Care groups in Red Deer each had a successful year last year and are hoping to continue in full swing for 2016.
The 100 Men Red Deer group held their most recent meeting on March 7th, where they gave approximately $8,000 to a local music support program called Sistema. Groups also nominated included the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre and the Red Deer & District Community Foundation.
The Red Deer chapter of Sistema connects members of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra with music programs at Normandeau School and G.H. Dawe School, through the Red Deer Public School District.
“The problem in Red Deer is that there isn’t enough money to buy instruments for some schools. The funds that we raised – just about $8,000 – will go to buy instruments for Normandeau and G.H. Dawe schools, and the Red Deer Symphony is going to teach the students and apply for future grants,” explained Jeff Rock of 100 Men.
“There will be instruments for not only the music class, but for after school band activities. Those schools are two that have some financially challenged families that may not be able to provide the opportunities of instruments.
“Music is cooperative and everyone comes together through the instruments. It takes a discipline and dedication to follow through. Studies have shown that students who study in music education do better in other areas as well, so it has a compounding effect. Unfortunately in this day and age, music and arts programs are the first ones cut when a school is doing their budget, but there is potential for a great impact for students.”
Rock said the group is trying to recruit more men to join. He said the networking and community building aspects of the group are a great environment and he hopes people realize the need for the work the group facilitates.
“The really cool thing about 100 Men Red Deer is what a cross-section of the community it is,” Rock said.
“We’ve got people from trades and people in the oil and gas industry. We have lawyers, accountants, financial planners, plumbers, ministers and more. It’s a group of 100 men who are all passionate and compassionate towards changing their community.”
The next meeting for 100 Men Red Deer will be held at International Beer Haus on June 6th at 7 p.m.
Members of 100 Women Red Deer allocated their funds from the most recent meeting to Suicide Education and Information Services, out of a possible 13 organizations.
Cindy Jefferies of 100 Women said the issue felt particularly timely, with suicide rates climbing in Alberta and a poor economy taking a toll on citizens.
“I do some work with the Red Deer Primary Care Network, and we had a presenter come in recently to talk about suicide rates in Alberta and in Red Deer. There has been a huge increase in the last couple of years. Our province’s economic situation and lack of jobs is also causing a lot of stress. It got me thinking that it’s probably going to get worse,” Jefferies said.
The group sent approximately $20,000 to the charity.
A slight change in the 100 Women group is now what Jefferies called a steering committee. The group of just under 10 women helps to maintain the group, follow up on donations and share information among members.
“This year, we might not see a ton of growth but I think we’re managing to hold our own membership,” Jefferies said.
“We were wondering how that would go considering the economy, but we feel like those who are still in a position to give to charity are realizing that this is a time of need, so they are continuing to donate.”
The next 100 Women Who Care meeting takes place on April 25th at 7 p.m. at the Red Deer Golf & Country Club.