FCSS an important part of Ponoka

Community is important to Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). They provide many programs and resources to support individuals and families, helping to keep our community strong.

By Eraina Hooyer

Staff Reporter

Community is important to Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). They provide many programs and resources to support individuals and families, helping to keep our community strong.

FCSS has been active in the community for 34 years and is providing a number of services to enhance the lives of those living in the town and county of Ponoka.

“If we see a need in the community, we try to address it,” said Joanne Comeau, director of FCSS. “It’s a great agency to work for and very rewarding. We are providing a service that really makes a difference in people’s lives.”

There are many different services offered by FCSS to help build a strong community.

Through the Home Support Program, trained and dedicated staff provide basic household duties to individuals and seniors. The Healthy Families program assists young families through one-on-one home visitations. This early intervention program provides education and resources to the parents of children ages infant to five years.

The Meals on Wheels service offers meals that are delivered to homes up to five days a week. FCSS also provides a senior resource centre that assists seniors with filling out government forms and accessing information. Many other services available through FCSS include Lifeline; a personal response system that provides 24-hour assistance at the push of a button. A professional Family Counsellor provides individual and family counseling through local schools and also in the FCSS office.

Comeau believes that many of these programs assist in maintaining healthy lives and giving opportunities and options to those who want to keep their lifestyle.

“It’s a vital link to many individuals and families and especially to our seniors,” she said. “Through our programs they can remain in their own homes and keep their independence.”

The success of FCSS, Comeau believes, is largely based on the mindset and cooperation of all those involved.

“We are fortunate to have an excellent working board; we are very much supported,” she said.

“Staff working as a team is essential to being a successful agency and communication and supporting one another is very important.”

FCSS is a non-profit agency and is 80 per cent funded by the government; 10 per cent from the Town of Ponoka and 10 per cent is funded by the County of Ponoka. FCSS works towards maintaining and improving the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

“If you keep your focus on what is in the best interest of the client, it makes life easier and reduces conflict,” said Comeau. “We’re here for the community.”

Kimberly McMurray, program coordinator for FCSS, feels that the programs that are offered by the agency benefit those who choose to use them and prove to be a valuable resource for community members.

“Many may not know about the programs that we offer, but the people who use them find them very helpful for living a healthy life,” said McMurray. “The programs that are run here seem to fill a need. Wherever people are in their stage of life they can pick and choose what they wish to utilize.”

Volunteers are vital in keeping these programs and services available and running. McMurray is pleased with the efforts and dedication of their community volunteers.

“I enjoy the people and the variety of programs,” said McMurray. “It’s great to see what our volunteers do for the community.”

FCSS is currently working on three new programs: a Community Garden, a Community Kitchen and a Rainbows program for children who have experienced loss.

McMurray sees firsthand the positive changes that volunteers make in the town and notices the passion that these people have for their work.

“Without volunteers it would be very difficult,” she said. “They are really on the front lines. It’s one thing to volunteer but another thing to have it in your heart to volunteer. It comes across to the clients and that attitude probably makes the most difference.”

If you are interested in volunteering for FCSS, please contact Kimberly. For more information contact FCSS at 403-783-4462.