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RDC launches $1 Million fundraising campaign after huge commitment by anonymous donor

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Red Deer College has launched an ambitious and significant student bursary fundraising campaign. A generous, anonymous donor has committed a $500,000 donation to match gifts made to the new RDC Student Bursary Fund. Gifts of any size made to this fund during the campaign will be matched 1:1 by the donor funds, doubling the impact of each gift.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our community has been tremendous. As it impacts Red Deer College directly, we have experienced decreases in both new student enrollment and in registrations for continuing students,” says RDC President, Dr. Peter Nunoda.

It is a priority for the donor and for RDC that students are not deterred from pursuing their chosen educational path by financial constraints. The many impacts of COVID-19 have caused some students to pause or delay starting their post-secondary education.

“In addition to this immediate financial support for students, it was important to the donor that these funds be used to connect the community to the effort. By creating the matching program, we hope that other community members who wish to support post-secondary students will be inspired by the potential to double their impact on new and continuing RDC students,” says Dr. Nunoda.

The RDC Student Bursary Fund is new and will be established entirely by donor gifts, doubled by the anonymous donor’s matching gift. Bursaries will be available for full- and part-time students, up to $1,500 and $750, respectively, per year. Bursaries will be distributed as tuition credits on a first come-first served basis. When the matching campaign has fully funded the RDC Student Bursary Fund, it will provide financial support for more than 1,300 students. The bursary created by the matching campaign will be available to new and returning students in credit programs, beginning in Fall 2021 Term. Application for these awards is open now at rdc.ab.ca/studentbursary.

“We’re grateful for the support of all of our donors, internal and external, small and large, and especially to this anonymous donor for their commitment, which will provide immediate and broad support for our students,” says Dr. Nunoda. “It has been a challenging year for many in our community, but we continue to come together in large and small ways to support one another. This is one more example of what makes me proud to be a part of this community.”

More information about the initiative, including the link to an online donation page, can be found at rdc.ab.ca/giving.

This new bursary is one of the ways in which RDC and generous donors support students in helping to keep post-secondary education accessible and affordable. Students enrolling in courses for 2021/2022 can apply for a variety of scholarships and awards now through May 31. RDC is pleased to award more than $1 million in scholarships and bursaries each year.

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Empowered, Happy and Healthy

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Michelle lost a kidney to cancer 20 years ago. Her blood pressure has been challenging to keep in a healthy range since. A busy life with little focus on healthy got her in trouble. In late December 2020, she ended up in emergency with extremely high blood pressure in the 200/150 range and a blood sugar of 25. She was very sick. She had a second similar episode in January. At that time, she was let go from her job. This turned out to be the best thing that happened as she now had time to focus on her health.

The RDPCN family nurse recommended she attend Diabetes the Basics as well as providing her with ongoing one-to-one support for several months. She also got connected to a weight management program, supervised exercise and Heartwise.

Fast forward to 18 months, she has decreased her clothing size from 20 to 14. Her blood sugar is now 7 and her blood pressure is in the range of 138/95. Great improvements!

She is back to work. She walks about an hour per day and she feels amazing! She has used the portion control plate to help improve her eating habits. She is eating way better and enjoying it. One thing she could not give up was Pepsi. She used to have at least 3 cans per day. Now she uses Diet Pepsi in much smaller volumes, but she cannot get by without some Pepsi. Long-lasting insulin and using the Libre sensor have been great tools to help her live healthily. She feels very empowered, happy and healthy!!

Learn more about the Red Deer Primary Care Network. Click here. 

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Alberta

Red Deer Recovery Community will offer hope for residents from Central Alberta and around the world

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Central Albertans won’t be the only ones paying close attention to the official opening of the Red Deer Recovery Community next month. According to Marshall Smith, Chief of Staff to Premier Danielle Smith, jurisdictions from across North America will be looking to the Red Deer Recovery Community for potential answers to their own issues. Red Deer Recovery Community will be the first of 11 the province is opening over the coming months.

Cities across North America and beyond have been battling an addictions crisis, and losing. As the number of homeless people and the number of fatal overdoses continues to rise, cities are looking for new solutions. After years of slipping further behind, Alberta has decided on a new approach to recovery and Marshall Smith has been leading the charge.

Smith is a recovering addict himself.  A political organizer from BC, he once worked for former Premier Gordon Campbell.  His own crisis started with alcohol, then moved to cocaine dependency before he eventually succumbed to methamphetamine use.  The successful political operative found himself without work and living on the street for over four years. Eventually he benefited from a 35 day stay in a publicly funded recovery centre in BC.

Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney brought Smith to Alberta to head up the UCP’s addictions and recovery file.  His personal experiences and incredible comeback story are at the heart of Alberta’s new approach.

While the success of recovery programs vary, Marshall Smith and Dr. Christina Basedow of the Edgewood Health Network (operators of Red Deer Recovery Community) say with the right treatment and the right amount of time, they expect a very high rate of successful recoveries.  Smith says the province won’t give up on patients, even if some have to go through more than once.

The Recovery Community is central to this new approach, but patients who will be able to stay for up to a year, will need somewhere to go when they leave. This week the province also announced the Bridge Healing Transitional Accommodation Program in Edmonton.  This “second stage” housing will ensure former addicts have a place to stay upon leaving addiction treatment centres. This will be their home in the critical days following treatment when they need to reestablish their lives by finding work or educational opportunities.

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston feels the 75 bed Recovery Community will be transformation for Central Alberta. Mayor Johnston says all Central Albertans will play an important role in helping former addicts when they leave the Recovery Community.

Construction of the Red Deer Recovery Community is all but complete.

Thursday, municipal and provincial politicians toured the facility and were introduced to the operators of the new facility. Dr Christina Basedow, Western VP of Edgewood Health Network teamed up with Nicholas Milliken, Alberta’s Mental Health and Addiction Minister, to take questions about operations.

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan, Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston, Dr. Christina Basedow, Minister Nicholas Milliken, Red Deer North MLA Adriana LaGrange

Premier Danielle Smith made the trip to Central Alberta to offer support for the project and see the facility first hand.

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston and Premier Danielle Smith listen to Chief of Staff Marshall Smith 

Marshall Smith explains aspects of the Recovery Community to Premier Danielle Smith, Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston and Red Deer MLA’s Adriana LaGrange and Jason Stephan

In the days leading up to an official opening expected in February, Edgewood Health Network is finalizing the admission process which will see the first batch of up to 75 people suffering addictions moving into single and double occupied rooms.

Typical double occupancy room at Red Deer Recovery Community

The new 75-bed facility, will begin accepting residents battling addictions in February.  Those residents will stay for up to a full year accessing medications, programming and developing life skills.

In the meantime the province expects a recovery industry will be developing in Red Deer including second stage housing opportunities and counselling.

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