A fundraiser to support the continuation of a youth mentoring program will be held next week in La Ronge.

Children North is a non-profit organization based in northern Saskatchewan that provides multiple programs focusing on family and mental health support.

The organization offers some of its programs to families in La Ronge, Hall Lake, Pelican Narrows, Pinehouse, Deschambault Lake, Sucker River, Stanley Mission, Grandmother’s Bay, Southend, Brabant, and Wollaston Lake.

Daina Lapworth, Executive Director of Children North, said that Children North runs a variety of different programs throughout the province. “We run a whole bunch of programs, kind of a one-stop shop; we have an outreach clinic that we bring in, pediatric therapies, family support, father engagement, an early childhood intervention program, a cognitive disability strategy, and a mentorship program, so it’s the mentorship program that we’re fundraising for this time,” she said. “We’ve been around since 1985; we started with the Early Child Intervention Program, or some people know it as ECIP, so since then we have just tried to fill the gaps in the communities in northern Saskatchewan by creating a program, running it with usually a grant and some fundraising, and then going to the government to try and get the ongoing funding for it.”

Children North’s fundraiser aims to gather funding for their Youth Mentorship Program and will feature chili and bannock, a drink and dessert sold as part of the fundraiser, along with a silent auction.

“We work with children from ages 6 to 17 who have developmental delays, so the mentors actually take the kids out into the community and teach them life skills and help kids make friends, and a lot of the kids that we work with have social anxiety, but they also have a hard time making friends, so we take them out and we’ll do all kinds of land-based stuff; we’ll go canoeing, we’ll fish, hiking, skiing, dancing, all kinds of things, and the whole goal is to just get the kids out and develop their self-esteem and teach them what’s good and what’s not good,” explained Lapworth.

Children’s North is currently looking for donation items for their upcoming silent auction that can be dropped off at their office, or people can send donations through the organization’s Facebook page. Children North’s Youth Mentorship Program fundraiser will be held at the La Ronge Legion on June 9 from 5 to 8 p.m.

(Photo courtesy of Children North Facebook Page.)