Terry Dennis, Canora-Pelly MLA, on behalf of Paul Merriman, social services minister, celebrated the grand reopening of a newly renovated day program with Mackenzie Society Ventures Inc. (MSVI) in Preeceville on November 15.
Dennis was joined by Mayor Garth Harris; Gailene Pasiechnik, executive director for Mackenzie; Tyler Hanofski, manager of community service; Sterling Snider, director of community client services, local board members and community members in the special ceremony.
Jackie Blotski, board member, was the mistress of ceremonies for the afternoon event.
The government provided $322,500 for the renovations which included making the bathroom barrier free, making the front door automatic for accessibility, completely renovating the kitchen, adding office space and building a personal care room. The day program will support up to 31 people with intellectual disabilities.
“Day programs play a vital role in helping to create inclusive and diverse communities in our province,” Dennis said. “They provide opportunities for employment, social interactions, life skills and often create lifelong friendships for the participants.” He also acknowledged staff, board members and participants in the Mackenzie program.
Mackenzie Society Ventures has been supporting people with intellectual disabilities since 1975. Along with this day program, the group operates five group homes and a supported independent living program.
Mayor Garth Harris brought greetings from the Town of Preeceville.
“The renovations have been a tremendous rejuvenation to the day program,” said Pasiechnik. “The day program is now a place to come to where the atmosphere is warm, spacious and inviting. The renovations have provided us a building totally accessible and inclusive for all individuals. MSVI wishes to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to the Government of Saskatchewan which is committed to improving the lives of individuals experiencing disabilities in our province. Saskatchewan is truly the best place in Canada to live for people with disabilities.”
Renovations began last February with the demolition of office walls, the kitchen and tearing out the flooring. Then the framing was done for the new offices, the barrier-free washrooms walls and the building of the personal care room.
"Sometimes, for those of us who are not experiencing disability, we take for granted the simple things in life, such as opening a door, doing our own personal care, preparing food at a counter. We are grateful for the funding the Government of Saskatchewan provided to renovate our day program. The renovations have been a tremendous rejuvenation to the building. The day program is now a place which is barrier free and inclusive for everyone, the atmosphere is warm, spacious, inviting and enhances the quality of life for participants and staff,” stated Pasiechnik.
Pasiechnik went on to acknowledge Michelle Houston and Tyler Hanofski from Community Living Service Delivery, project manager Gary Frank and Lana Phillips from Sask Housing and Don Epp from Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC) for the important roles that they played in assisting and supporting the project.
The afternoon program concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony, refreshments and a cake cutting ceremony.