The Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse hosted its annual general meeting on Oct. 18, and staff say it emphasized how the organization has grown and also established a roadmap for the future.
“We had 36 people in attendance for our AGM,” said Amanda Henderson-Kada, executive director.
“It was a group of our membership, our staff, our board of directors, an Alberta Health Services director as well as the mayor of Ponoka.”
The clubhouse is described as a community-based, living skills program, which also recently marked its 29 anniversary.
“Our AGM is not just about our financials; we do a lot of statistics-sharing from our meal programs, numbers from our activities, and then we also like to set goals for the year to come,” she explained.
“Two of our main goals are that we need to focus on our work program, and we need to increase the number of customers for our blue box program — that is one of our goals.
“We would also really like to strongly work towards accreditation. My number one goal is for us to be accredited before we turn 30 in September of 2024 — that is what we are going to work towards.”
Programs at the clubhouse are designed for those living with mental health issues or who are recovering from addiction. In the early years, the organization was run under the umbrella of Alberta Hospital Ponoka. By 2005, it had evolved into a not-for-profit organization.
These days, it’s a busy hub of learning, engaging in employment opportunities around town, and taking part in all kinds of social activities.
Programming and services are also open to individuals with mental disabilities and delays.
Altogether, membership sits at about 120 these days.
Speaking of membership, Henderson-Kada said that in the post-COVID time, they have seen a significant increase in members returning to take part in the programs.
“We grew each month (during that time) that we were able to offer a little bit more,” she said.
She said they didn’t look at it as a time of ‘relaunching,’ but rather of renewal.
“If there was a silver lining to COVID, it was that it gave us an opportunity to recognize what we do well and also to look at the changes we could make for when we returned.
“Another statistical report that we like to share is with our work program,” she said.
The club does residential and business blue box and cardboard pickup.
“We do have a very small work crew right now — we currently employ six but there is actually room for 10 or 11. They’ve been very steady, and we have had a very resilient and powerful year with them being devoted to their work program,” she said.
“They really deserve recognition as individuals, too, not just as a team.”
She also pointed out that over the pandemic period, via delivery, the meal program served more than 15,000 meals to the community.
“It was incredible. We are also serving an average of 20 individuals daily now,” she said, adding that a person has to be a registered member for that particular program.
Henderson-Kada said during the AGM she also gave special recognition to members of the work program, the board of directors, and the staff.
“I recognize them as individuals for what they bring to our organization, and this year I also recognized years of service for each individual as well,” she said.
“I think it’s important to recognize dedication. I have a couple of board members who have been with me since 2018, and I have a crew member who has been with the work program for 13 years, too.”
Hendersen-Kada has been with the organization for 12 years, followed by another staffer who is going into her seventh year.
For more information about volunteering opportunities or about the organization in general, head to www.ponokarisingsun.ca or find them on Facebook.