The first time Kathy Dixon went to the Canadian Mental Health Association’s clubhouse in Prince George, she was accompanied by someone who introduced her to all the great services that were available to her.
The second time, she drove there herself. She pulled into the parking lot and couldn’t get out of her car.
“I had so much angst and agitation, I couldn’t do anything,” she says. “It was tough.”
She left and returned another day. It happened again. She ended up phoning the CMHA Clubhouse who sent someone out to help her.
Today, because of the vocational training and ongoing support she’s received, Dixon is now a valued member of the local RE/Max office team.
“CMHA Prince George got me to a place where I believed in myself,” she says. “I feel like I’m living a life now whereas before I was just existing. I am doing things that I didn’t think were possible.”
Today, CMHA PG needs help, which is why Dixon is willing to share her story. It’s her way of paying it forward.
Last year, the CMHA’s Connections Clubhouse burned down. Because the new 4,000 sq. ft. facility that will accommodate the clubhouse, vocational and education training facilities and Two Rivers Catering company will be deemed a commercial building, insurance doesn’t begin to cover the replacement costs.
CMHA PG is 60 per cent towards its goal of raising $900,000 for the new building. A recent gift of almost $13,000 from 100 Heroes has really helped, and fingers are crossed they will get a gaming capital grant of $250,000.
“There’s a silver lining to the fire — we’ll be building to what we want and need,” says executive director Maureen Davis, noting that the previous clubhouse was not wheelchair accessible. With an additional 1,200 sq. ft., “we’ll be able to do a lot more in terms of vocational and educational work, as well as our social and recreational activities.”
There are many ways to help. Donations over $20 are tax deductible and can be made here. If you purchase a tile for $20, CMHA PG will place your name or the name of a loved one in the CMHA mural that will welcome people to the new Clubhouse. In-kind donations of building supplies are also welcome.
As well, Giving Tuesday is also the ideal time to think globally but act locally. The worldwide “generosity movement” encourages people to do some good by donating to their favourite charities on December 3.
To find out how the Prince George CMHA can help you or a loved one cope with the impact of mental illness, or to help build the new Clubhouse, visit www.princegeorge.cmha.bc.ca.