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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wood Buffalo Re-Opens Doors to Youth and Mentors

July 12th, 2016

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wood Buffalo (BBBSWB) is happy to announce they have officially re-opened their doors to the public. After suspending a portion of their programming and closing their doors to the public following the citywide evacuation that occurred in Fort McMurray at the beginning of May 2016, regular BBBSWB office hours have resumed (8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday).

BBBSWB offers mentoring services to youth by connecting them with caring and committed local adults who act as mentors. The office is located in Suite 5B on the lower level of the Unifor 707a building at 10019 MacDonald Avenue and BBBSWB is excited to back in action.

“Unifor has been very thorough insisting on doing all the proper testing, and awaiting favorable results before allowing us back into the building,” said BBBSWB Executive Director, Joanne Angel. “Not only are we happy to return, but we are comforted by the fact that we know it is safe for us to be here.”

BBBSWB will be moving forward with annual fundraisers like the 16th annual Duck Race and the SMS Equipment Wine Auction, which are needed now more than ever since fire struck the region, but Angel says, “It is good to have some normalcy, and give people an opportunity to come together and reunite with friends and family.”

The 16th Annual Duck Race will take place at Syne Park on September 5, and duck tickets are on sale now for $5.00 each. The SMS Equipment Wine Auction will be taking place on September 24, on MacDonald Island at Shell Place. Tickets for the event are also current available for purchase, please see website for more details.
Currently BBBSWB is selling T-shirts and Hoodies, in order to help re-coop the finances lost during the 2-month hiatus. All profits will go directly to the organization. Purchases can be made on the Deeds Not Words Incorporated Website

“It is too early to know the extent of how our BBBSWB supported families will be affected by the Fort McMurray Fires,” says Angel referring to a ‘Psychology Today’ article by Peter Levine (a well-known psychological trauma theorist) who characterizes trauma not by the event but by one's reactions to it. Like many causes of trauma, natural disasters can be sudden and overwhelming, and the most immediate and typical reaction is shock, which at first manifests as numbness or denial. Quickly—or eventually—shock can give way to an overemotional state that often includes high levels of anxiety, guilt or depression.
“We have yet to see the full impact of the mental health of our community,” says Angel. “We are focusing our efforts on looking into the future, strategizing how we can continue to support our families and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in the coming months and years, as we all adjust and rebuild our community.”

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