Driving down Commercial Street in Berwick, you may have noticed a charming renovated church. Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside? Read on to find out.
This renovated church houses Evangeline Club, a social recreation club for those experiencing mental health issues, open Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 3:00pm. If you were to open the front door, this is what you’d experience: you’d hear laughter and music, you’d see smiles and people gathered, you’d smell a home-cooked meal, and you’d sense an atmosphere of ease.
In any given year, one in five Canadians are experiencing a mental health or substance misuse issue. With appropriate treatment and support, most will recover. Evangeline Club was founded in 1990 with just this type of support in mind. The club provides an inclusive and supportive peer environment, working to reduce social isolation and to bring out the best in individuals. Their programming is geared towards recovery, and includes things like arts and crafts, life skills, music therapy, and yoga.
The club makes every effort to reduce barriers to support. Fear of stigmatization and a lack of finances are two barriers to treatment for many with mental health issues. Many of the club’s members are on income assistance, and programming is free, including a daily lunch. Anyone is welcome to join Evangeline Club, and they strive to offer a space full of camaraderie and appreciation rather than stigma. The pandemic has triggered or exacerbated existing health conditions for many in our communities: spaces like Evangeline Club are vital, now more than ever.
How can you get involved? You can become a member, a volunteer, spread the word, or donate. Through GoFundMe, they’re currently raising extra funds for special programming not doable within their current budget. If you’d like to learn more about the club, their Facebook page is updated regularly, and includes their weekly schedule.
However you choose to get involved, any dialogue around mental health improves our communities!
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