50 years of Medicine Hat Family Service
This December, the Medicine Hat Family Service celebrates 50 years of providing counseling, support and services to individuals, couples, and families experiencing life’s challenges. Initially run as a Catholic Family Service under the auspices of the Calgary Diocese of the Catholic Church, the agency was transferred into a private, non-denominational Board of Directors in December 1966 and the Medicine Hat Family Service was launched.
Throughout the past 50 years, Medicine Hat Family Service has served citizens of Medicine Hat, Redcliff and Cypress County with an impressive array of counseling services and courses. Several other agencies have also started out at MHFS or been given support to be well established in our community. The local AADAC offices were originally located in MHFS until 1975. WCB interviews were all conducted through MHFS until 1974 when the local WCB office was set up here. For many years MHFS and Big Brothers shared the same board. Moreover, MHFS provided office space to many fledgling organizations. The Women’s shelter, New Beginnings, AA and Al-Anon are another of the agencies which benefitted from that, and the expertise of staff and board members at MHFS. Most recently SARC (Southern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee) was helped through its formative years from 2006 under the caring wing of MHFS, until the agency was able to take flight on its own in March 2015.
The MHFS continues to provide support to the community through programs such as the Families in Transition (FIT) Program that has been developed through a collaboration with the YMCA and McMan. The FIT program is designed to assist families who are unemployed because of the economic downturn. FIT works with families in different ways to help mitigate the impact of job loss. The Courage to Change courses for men and women, Kids in the Middle, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Focus on Communication in Separation are all courses regularly offered at the MHFS offices, or at the Medicine Hat College. You can find out more information on any of these course at the MHFS website mhfamilyservice.com
In April 2016, the MHFS celebrated 16 years of its Flower Power fundraiser and to that date over $65,000 had been raised through this event. This year also saw a new ice cream fundraiser on the last weekend in August which was very successful. Money raised from these fundraisers is used to directly help the local community to cope with life’s tough events. Added to this, provincial, municipal and county funding, plus local business sponsors help to keep the MHFS providing their important services to our community. The Medicine Hat Family Service motto “Friends of the Family” has proven very true over the past 50 years with nearly 25,000 households served since 1966. Long may they continue to provide this important service.