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Seniors, students benefactors of 2024 Innisfail FCSS grants

Youth programming at Chinook’s Edge School division and seniors receive new financial support
Innisfail town council has approved the 2024 FCSS grant allocations for two public school wellness programs, and a third to the Innisfail Seniors Drop-In Society for program coordinator wages. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – Two Chinook’s Edge School Division programs for youth and the Innisfail Seniors Drop-In Society are this year's primary recipients of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) external grant funding.

Kristen MacKenzie, community and social services manager for the Town of Innisfail, told town council at its regular meeting on April 22 that the local FCSS advisory board met on April 10 to determine its recommendations on how best to distribute $105,000 in FCSS grant funding for 2024.

There was a total of $129,000 available but $24,000 was set aside to be allocated later in 2024, council was told.

As for the advisory board’s recommendations, MacKenzie said Chinook’s Family School Wellness program provides school-based early intervention in the areas of social emotional well-being, resilience, and mental health.

She said the program is available in all Innisfail public schools for children and youth between the ages of zero to 18 years, as well as their families.

MacKenzie added the School Wellness Program has three full time staff, with one each at École John Wilson Elementary, Innisfail Middle School, Innisfail High School, and Innisfail Career High.

The second Chinook program recommended by the FCSS advisory board was the Youth Empowerment and Support (YES) Program that offers social emotional learning programs to promote mental health and wellness through universal and targeted programs for all student’s kindergarten to Grade 8.

Chinook’s Edge sought $60,000 for the Family School Wellness program and another $25,000 for YES. The FCSS Advisory Board recommended the same amounts for both.

The Innisfail Seniors Drop-In Society sought $51,296.92 for program coordinator wages to support the ongoing facilitation of programs and activities to support friendships, social development, and healthy well-being for its older adult membership within Innisfail and the surrounding area.

The advisory board recommended $20,000.

The three recommended grants totalled $105,000.

Council unanimously approved the funding recommendations from the FCSS Advisory Board.

Mayor Jean Barclay wanted to know from MacKenzie if there was a “lot” of applications for local FCSS funding.

“The three that you see are the three that were there,” replied MacKenzie, adding her office was “surprised” there was no application from the Catholic school board.

She added other organization applications were either for a small monetary value or currently in a “bit of a state of flux”, like Innisfail and District Victim Services.

In the meantime, MacKenzie said there are current board discussions about the possibility of a different grant application for organizations looking for less than $10,000.

“The way that process is set up currently it is an onerous process,” said MacKenzie. “A lot of that is a result of what we require to report back to the province (and) trying to figure out a way we can streamline that for those organizations that are looking for less dollars, because from a staffing standpoint it is a huge ask for some of these organizations.”


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