orange-shirt-daySeptember 30, 2016 Grande Prairie will be having an Orange Shirt day event at Revolution Place from 1:00-4:00pm. 

The first 200 people through the doors will receive a free orange shirt! (sizes are limited, on a first come first serve basis)

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013.  It grew out of Phyllis Webstad’s account of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually. 

The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. 

Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.

On September 30 wear an Orange Shirt to raise awareness and honor Residential School Survivors!


Grande Prairie FASD Day Pancake Breakfast Success

fasd-day-photo-2016-002 mayor-givenfasd-2016-002fasd-day-2016-pics-002As we wind down from another FASD day event, I would like to say thanks to all of the FASD Awareness committee for succeeding in holding a very successful day.

With welcoming over 200 guests this was definitely the largest event that we have held.

Special thanks going to Jen Duperron-Trydal for a great job in the MC role. She made the guests and speakers feel welcomed. 

 Thank also to Madi Wrzosek for taking a lead role in ensuring that all of the food & supplies were available.  Also to Michele Gregson – for applying for the health permit and supporting our trade show table guests.

fasd-cooks-2016-002A big thank you to Rotary cooks – as their efforts were amazing in feeding some many people so quickly.





Thanks also to our many sponsors of this event for food, gift cards etc.



Also – great job by both of our guest speakers as they shared their life stories. 

And to all of those within our committee that went beyond to ensure that our guests felt welcome and were fed well!


-Gwen Vekved    

North West FASD Coordinator/ Supervisor

City of Grande Prairie

 PO Bag 4000, T8V 6V3

(780) 357-7508 


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Edmonton supportive housing complex for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder a Canadian first

By Mack Lamoureux, CBC News Posted: Sep 09, 2016 7:23 PM MT Last Updated: Sep 09, 2016 9:03 PM MT

Hope Terrace, the first supportive housing apartment complex in Canada, had its grand opening in Edmonton on Sept 9.

Hope Terrace, the first supportive housing apartment complex in Canada, had its grand opening in Edmonton on Sept 9. (CBC)


“This is home.”

“This is what I call home,” reiterates Casandra. “I’ve never had anywhere I could call home before now.”

Casandra, sitting comfortably in her central Edmonton apartment, explains she was born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

From a young age, she floated through the foster care system in Ontario before coming to Alberta. Not knowing what was going to happen to her she ran away frequently — the streets became familiar to her.

After coming of age, the system moved Casandra into a house.

“It didn’t go well. I was evicted and was homeless for like two years,” she said. “Being homeless was the worst experience of my life – being hungry, not able to sleep, and always scared.”

Now though, Casandra is home.

Casandra Maslyk

Casandra is one of the first residents of Hope Terrace, a supportive housing apartment complex for people that suffer from FASD. (CBC)

Through the help of her social worker, Casandra is one of the first residents of Hope Terrace, a supportive housing apartment complex that offers 24-hour support for people born with FASD.

FASD is a lifelong disability that causes birth defects, developmental delays, learning disabilities, memory problems, difficulty communicating feelings and understanding consequences. It is caused when a mother drinks while pregnant.

Hope Terrace had its grand opening Friday, which is also Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day. The building is the first of its kind in the nation.

“When the opportunity to apply to provide supportive housing here at Hope Terrace arose, we knew it was our chance to provide this unique service for people who are struggling with an FASD,” said Gary St. Amand, the CEO of Bissell Centre.

“It is the first of its kind in Canada. In that way it really creates an opportunity to provide housing for the folks that are here ,but at the same time to work together and create a model.”

‘There is a critical need for permanent supportive housing in our city that provides the appropriate supports in a harm reduction environment.’– Susan McGee

St. Amand hopes that over time Hope Terrace will be replicated in Edmonton and beyond.

The building was purchased and will be operated by Homeward Trust. Susan McGee, Homeward Trust Edmonton’s CEO, said that the building couldn’t have become a reality without funding help from the city.

“There is a critical need for permanent supportive housing in our city that provides the appropriate supports in a harm reduction environment,” said McGee. “Thanks to projects like Hope Terrace and partners like Bissell Centre, we will achieve the goal of ending homelessness in Edmonton.”

Gary St. Amand

Gary St. Amand, the CEO of Bissell Centre, adressing the crowd during the Hope Terrace’s grand opening. (CBC)

‘Education is so critical’

FASD has profound economic and social impacts on those who live with it and it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Around 50,000 Albertans have the disorder and nine in 1,000 babies born will also have it. This year, over 500 babies will be born with FASD. The Alberta government estimates that the disorder annually costs the province $927.5 million.

“This is something that is preventable. That’s why education is so critical,” said St. Amand.

‘This is something that is preventable. That’s why education is so critical.’– Gary St. Amand

For Casandra, the most important part of being in Hope Terrace is being around people who know what she is going though. With help she has been able to find some stability in life and the young woman who was homeless a few short years ago now hopes to go back to school.

“This place has helped a lot because I can go out in the community and not feel like a freak, or I can talk to somebody at a store and not get mad at them,” she said.

“I can just go downstairs and talk to somebody that will sit there and listen to me.”