Milk River, Alberta – When a community comes together to work towards a common goal, great things can happen. The Milk River Community School Enhancement Society (MRCSES) is an excellent example of that.
The group includes parents and community members from the Milk River area who wanted to see local kids have access to a new gym space – one that was larger than what the provincial government originally approved as part of their elementary school’s expansion.
The area’s elementary school is being expanded to amalgamate the elementary and high schools, and the MRCSES has been working hard to fundraise for an upgrade to the proposed gym project.
Thanks to local cattle farmer Bob Wills, who nominated the MRCSES for a $2,500 Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities (CFGC) grant, the group received a boost to their fundraising efforts. Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities is a program offered by Bayer Crop Science to strengthen rural communities through local non-profit organizations that do much-needed work in their communities.
Bob says the nomination process for the CFGC grant was straightforward and he was happy to learn the MRCSES was selected to receive the grant. He believes other farmers should nominate local non-profits that are important to them.
“Anytime you can increase awareness and help out causes that are truly local and affect your community on a daily level, it’s time well spent,” he says. “It enriches your part of the world. Communities are important to farmers, so it’s an opportunity to give back.”
Randi Welsh, chairperson at the MRCSES, says it was exciting to find out the non-profit was selected for the CFGC grant and the group was touched by the community’s interest in the gym project.
“It was nice that it was a community member who nominated us,” she says. “We have a lot of community members, including farmers, who have kids attending the school or had kids who went to the school in the past. It’s important for our youth now and for kids in the future.”
According to Randi, around 300 kindergartens to grade 12 students will use the gym once it’s completed and the space will also be used by the community throughout the year for other functions, dinners, and fundraisers.
Building a larger gym means there will be room for spectators to attend school events, and the space will be big enough to split into two areas for multipurpose use. A larger gym will also allow the school to hold tournaments, bringing in people from other areas and potentially benefiting local businesses.