History of Catholic Family Services of the Battlefords
Catholic Family Services of the Battlefords opened its doors on November 4th 1991. The Agency contracted with Prince Albert Catholic Family Services to provide a counsellor until such time as an Executive Director could be hired. Counsellor, Sister Mildred Kaufman travelled to North Battleford one day a week in order to establish services. Marie Anne Corbeil was hired to work one and one quarter days per week to receive clients and provide secretarial support.
On August 4th, 1992, Karen Richard was hired as the first Executive Director of Catholic Family Services of the Battlefords. Approximately one year before the Agency opened its doors for business, Father Gaetan Deschamps and other parish priests from the area identified the need for such an organization here in the Battlefords. Our parish priests were feeling overwhelmed by the number of families asking for help and by the multiple and complex issues families were facing. Father Gaetan established a group of volunteers from the Catholic community that strongly supported the need for the organization and was willing to commit its time and talents to its incorporation.
On March 11th, 1991, Catholic Family Services of the Battlefords was incorporated under the Non-profit Corporations Act and the first Board of Directors was named: Raymonde Arcand, Jeffrey Baldwin, Gaetan Deschamps, Natalie Mudri, Elizabeth Piché, Eugene Thera. On August 30th, 1991, the Board of Directors expanded to include Linda Arnot, Len Michaud, Eleanor Ritchie, and Leo Wiegers. At this time, the Articles of Incorporation were amended to include the following services:
- Professional Counselling: Counselling services provided to families, couples, and individuals so that they might be more able to use the spiritual, emotional, social and physical resources available to them.
- Family Support: Helping families to sustain themselves in a healthy and viable state in light of the various social issues facing the family. Assisting individuals in making use of available resources in the community.
- Family Life Enrichment: To develop and assist in the management of programs to assist people to preserve, restore, and enhance the quality of their lives and families in a preventative rather than crisis-oriented environment. To encourage the development of self-help and problem prevention groups within our community and co-operate with other agencies and individuals in the development of these groups.
- Personal Development: To encourage the participation of Catholic volunteers in preventative and self-help programs and groups within the Catholic community.
At the time of incorporation, the goal of Catholic Family Services was to enable families to make life giving choices that promoted esteem, trust and courage to love despite limitations and loss, and the mercy to forgive injuries. The Agency hoped to bring the process of healing to society's many wounds of brokenness. The ministry arose out of basic Catholic beliefs, values and traditions, recognizing the importance of:
- people ministering to each other
- the family as the basic unit of society
- offering assistance to people to preserve, restore and enhance the quality of their lives
- believing that every person possesses dignity and intrinsic value, is an integral part of society and has the right to be treated equally and with justice
- individuals arriving at and taking responsibility for their own decisions
- acknowledging the common bond that binds everyone in the eyes of God
- service reflecting the presence of God in the individual, family and community
- the breadth of faith in the Catholic community being reflected in service.
In the first year of operation, the Agency served less than 100 families. Twenty-two years later, the Agency is serving over 1,500 families every year.
When you build an inuksuk, each stone supports and is supported by the one above and below it. No one piece is any more or less important than another. Its strength lies in its unity. The inuksuk is a symbol of our interdependent responsibilities to create a better way for all of us.