MONCTON – The business community in Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview has raised $372,500 for the Atlantic Wellness Community Centre, which will use the money to provide free access to mental health services for youth 12-to-21 years old.
Area businesses far surpassed their $250,000 goal at the third edition of the Greater Moncton Gives Back event Tuesday evening in Moncton.
The focus on youth mental health comes as Atlantic Wellness saw a significant increase in demand for its services in recent years. But funding hurdles meant they weren’t going to able to continue to sustainably operate to meet this demand.
The funds raised Tuesday allows Atlantic Wellness to keep their doors open. The centre is actively engaged in long-term planning to continue providing these services for the coming years.
“This funding will save lives,” said Andrew LeBlanc, executive director of Atlantic Wellness, in a press release. “It is our goal to help our youth and their families when they need it most. This funding will enable us to provide close to 5,000 hours of therapy and services to youth who are hurting and in need.”
Suicide is one of the top causes of death for youth in Canada, and 3.2 million of those aged 12-to-19 years old in the country are at risk of developing depression, the release said.
The fundraising campaign was led by honorary co-chairs of Greater Moncton Gives Back, former Premier and Medavie CEO Bernard Lord and his wife Diane. BrainWorks Razor’s founding partners David Hawkins, Lorrie Bell-Hawkins and Brad Lamb-LeBlanc, and social media manager Jessica Lamb-LeBlanc were the event co-chairs.
“We were absolutely blown away by the remarkable support from the business community. From large employers to small businesses – the generosity of the region was nothing short of inspiring,” said Brad Lamb-LeBlanc in the release. “From the seven restaurants who donated all of the amazing food to all of the event sponsors who brought the evening to life – it was the best Greater Moncton Gives Back yet.”
Major donations of the night included $15,000 from RBC Foundation, $90,000 from the Lockhart Foundation and $150,000 from Medavie and the Medavie Foundation.
Greater Moncton Gives Back began in 2016 to help save Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Moncton. Last year, it supported Moncton Headstart, which was also in critical need of funding.