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Envision Counselling celebrates 30 years with Estevan event

Guests could tour the facility, visit with board members, staff and volunteers, and learn more about services provided by Envision.

ESTEVAN - The Envision Counselling and Support Centre is celebrating 30 years of serving the southeast with a series of open houses.

Carlyle started it off by celebrating the grand reopening in its new building on May 17 with well over 100 people coming through the doors, meeting the staff and connecting with the community. Estevan followed, inviting the community to join the organization at their location at 1308 Seventh Street on May 24.

Guests could tour the facility, visit with board members, staff and volunteers, and learn more about services provided by Envision, while also enjoying some drinks and treats.

"We just wanted to welcome the public into our space to feel comfortable within our office location, and get familiar with our counsellors to help break the stigma surrounding reaching out for supports," said Envision communications specialist Raven Daer.

The event ran from 10 a.m.-noon, and Daer said many organizations' supporters and partner agencies stopped by during those hours. She added that they wanted to familiarize the community with their offering a bit as well, and hope to continue with similar events in the years to come.

"Seeing the success of these two events right now, we are hopeful that we will be able to facilitate these annually. Hopefully, we can just break that stigma, get people more comfortable with coming into our spaces, comfortable with our staff and just comfortable with the thought of reaching out and the fact that everyone needs a little bit of support sometimes," Daer said.

"And we're really trying to shift that opinion of us that we only [provide] support for women who have been experiencing violence and abuse. Although that is something that we absolutely do strive to support, we support anybody and everybody. We see a lot of families, couples, children, and we have a lot of male clients as well. So really just driving home that this is for everybody, and that a lot of our programs are free of charge."

She added that even when they are unable to fit a client with one of their programs, they will still work with partner and network agencies to make sure that a person is getting support.

"We're never going to leave someone with just 'no'," Daer said.

Daer noted that while there is some demand for online support, they see more and more people willing to have in-person interactions.

"We do have a lot of requests for in-person. I think after COVID, a lot of people were missing that in-person connection, and they do find that they benefit a little bit more from being in person. Although we do still have some folks who are unable to reach us at our offices or maybe within their busy lifestyles, so it does work a little bit better for them to facilitate those virtually or over the phone. So, we are still doing a lot of that as well," Daer said.

Envision, which serves the entire southeast corner of the province with offices in Weyburn, Carlyle, Estevan and Oxbow, owns buildings in the first two communities and is now discussing the need for expansion in Estevan.

"We are absolutely outgrowing this space in Estevan. It has been a wonderful home for us. But we are playing with the idea of potentially looking at some alternative spaces to meet the needs and the demand of the community, so it is in our thoughts, but we're still unsure," Daer said.

The organization has over 50 employees and volunteers, and about 10 board members across the southeast. Daer said Envision has a very strong board, which helps the organization strive.

Weyburn's celebration is to follow next Friday at their location at 120 Third Street South.