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Open Door Association Waves Checkered Flag for Youth Beds

Second round of Small Town, Big Sky series highlights innovative social enterprise program

Camrose, AB – One of the Rural Alberta Development Fund’s successful funding recipients, the Camrose Open Door Association, plays host to its Sixth Annual Bed Race on October 29. Held at the Camrose Regional Exhibition Centre, participants will race beds in support of rural at-risk youth.

As part of this entertaining event, teams of five will design a bed, collect pledges and race their beds to raise funds supporting the housing needs of at-risk youth throughout the Camrose community. A pillar in the Camrose community, the Open Door Association has provided over 850 beds in supportive housing to 45 Camrose youth and 175 meals to youth drop-ins since January this year.

Thanks to a healthy contribution of $1 million to the Camrose Open Door Association, the Rural Alberta Development Fund played an integral role in creating an innovative social enterprise program, PEER Connections Café. With the program’s continued success, RADF released a case study highlighting how the program is making a difference in the lives of Camrose’s at-risk youths.

PEER Connections combines employability skills development and work experience for at-risk youth as they work their way through a four-month program at the Café. The case study shares the stories of the community members who made the program possible and offers a snapshot into the lives touched by this project.

“The Peer Connections program is of great importance for both the community and the youth in the program,” says Arlene Brooks, Program Coordinator, PEER Connections. “It offers a chance for the public, who at times may have a negative opinion of the youth, to come in and view them as they pleasantly serve, greet and chat with the customers, while offering the youth who are having a difficult time finding employment a chance to gain experience, skills and a new resume within four months.”

As with the successful PEER Connections initiative, RADF is always looking for ways to share Alberta’s rural success stories. With the increased exposure of PEER Connections, the Open Door Association received the 2010 Community Spirit Award from the Camrose Chamber of Commerce, and RADF looks forward to the many achievements that are sure to follow.

Read the full story of the PEER Connections program and the rest of the Small Town, Big Sky features at www.radf.ca/be_inspired

Background on the Camrose Open Door Association

Established in 1998 and registered as a non-profit organization in 2000, the Camrose Open Door Association was formed as a response to youth in crisis within the community. The Association provides essential services for at-risk youth aged 11 - 24, including emergency physical needs, counselling and outreach programs. With its mission to provide youth the best opportunities to succeed, the Open Door continues to develop new programs to meet emerging community needs.

Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $87.7 million has been committed to 77 projects. Applications are now being accepted for the remaining funds, which must be committed by March 31, 2012. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is November 23, 2011.


For more information, contact:

Gitte Sorensen
Communications & Program Coordinator
Rural Alberta Development Fund
780.436.9585 office
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)