Help an Elder Month is going strong in Fort Liard and Nahanni Butte, NT! The initiative, lead by the Fort Liard RCMP and Fort Liard Fire and Emergency Safety Services, is running in March to encourage youth engagement with Elders in those communities.
With funding from the Community Justice & Policing division of the Government of the Northwest Territories, and in consultation with the Mayor and Chiefs, the program seeks to help youth engage Elders in respectful and meaningful ways. They are also being supported in ensuring that the help they offer will be carried out in a safe manner, with proper PPE and practices, to protect Elders as they are a vulnerable population in the current pandemic.
Throughout the month, youth have been encouraged to find ways to support and engage with Elders and in doing so, qualify for a ballot that will be entered in a draw for prizes at the end of March. Any and all good deeds are being counted: chopping wood, shoveling snow, picking up groceries, donating fish, the list of things that can be done to "Help an Elder" is endless! The project kickoff happened on Monday, March 1st with care packages of tea, basic food items and cleaning supplies being delivered to the senior home Fort Liard followed by more care package deliveries to Elders in Nahanni Butte on March 2nd.
On top of the help they are providing independently, youth have been meeting with RCMP members and members of the Fire and Emergency Safety Services on Wednesday evenings for additional activities. In the first two of these sessions, youth chopped and stacked wood for eight Elders in Fort Liard. On March 17th, 17 youth delivered 300 muffins, baked by Constable McGuffin of the RCMP and Fire Chief Evelyn Wilson, throughout Fort Liard. Every single Elder in the hamlet received a delivery of the home baked goodies!
Every good deed posted to the Hamlet of Fort Liard Facebook page, or posted in the comments of posts for the project on RCMP social media account (Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the Northwest Territories / Gendarmerie royale du Canada dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest on Twitter and Facebook) enters the person in draws for prizes donated by the Northern Store and the Liard Valley General Store. There are also "Help an Elder" entry boxes at the Echo Dene School, Hamlet Office and RCMP detachment.