Posted by Vi Hughes on Oct 07, 2020
This past Tuesday our speakers were Dr. Sean McMurtry and Beth Barberree from the Canadian Centre for Men and Families. The Canadian Centre for Men and Families is a national charity based in Ontario.
They first spoke to us last year when they told the story of their hopes and dreams for a local presence to our Rotary club. Sean and Beth both thanked us for our donation and said that with our help and that of many others, they have been able to organize and set up several programs in Edmonton to meet the needs of men and their families when families break down. Over the past year they have become much more organized and are now able to offer several programs based on what they have heard from the men they help. These men have told them that they need to feel heard, with no judgement, to be offered facilitated solutions that give them a better path forward, and all to be done with empathy and respect.
 
The programs that they currently offer are ones that were not available from other groups in our community. They now have a website (CCMF.ca) and a Facebook and Instagram presence to help let people know what they offer. Their programs include a thirteen week family abuse Recovery Program, a Men’s Peer Support Group, and a Legal Resources Program. These programs are designed to prevent feelings of isolation and stigma and to help prevent the acute mental health crises that can result.
 
They would especially like to thank rotarians Graham Gilchrist, Donna Hutton, Jim Pedde and Gord Sheppard (of Expert Training Solutions) for their help and advice. Over the past year, their programs have been able to give men a place to go where people listen and understand. They are now hearing that social services are recommending their programs to people in need. They now have a full-time program director and are building their trained volunteer base so that they can expand their services. Their top three goals for the next year are to increase their outreach, diversify their fundraising and implement organizational strategies to improve and stay on track with their goals. They aim to be professional and offer a high quality of service to their clients.
 
As Sean and Beth both said, when you help men and their families when families break down, you help the entire community.