ECHO Society needs board members


The ECHO Society cooks meals with the Collective Kitchen in Whitecourt.

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A local non-profit society that supports people with disabilities is looking for new faces to join its board of directors.

The ECHO Society (Empowering Citizens for Health and Opportunity) has been operating in the Whitecourt and Mayerthorpe areas since 1998.

Currently, the society has 27 clients in Whitecourt and Mayerthorpe.

Louise Meier, society executive director, said there have been many positive changes over the past year and new board members are needed to continue the momentum.

“I pride our organization in being very forward thinking. We are willing to do the best things for the organization and our people,” she said.

There are three vacant spots on the board. Meier said the board positions are for a one-year term.

“The one-year term gives people the opportunity to have that brush of familiarity of it but not feel like they are locked in for a long time, especially if it’s not working for them,” she said.

The board sets policy, assist with fundraising and donations and governs the society but doesn’t get involved in the day-to-day operations, said Meier.

“When we look for board members we want to have those people who have a passion to help,” she said.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a board member can contact the society for an application to be submitted before the annual general meeting on Oct. 29. Everyone, whether they want to be a board member or not, is invited to the AGM. Meier calls the meetings a good time with a high attendance.

“We had 48 people at the last one,” said Meier.

For more information email echosoc@telusplanet.net, call 780-778-2660 or visit http://echosociety.ca/.

 

New building

The ECHO Society celebrated one year of owning its own building in Whitecourt. Meier said the dream of owning a building was a goal for 10 years and it was realized in August 2019.

“The timing was right, the finances were right,” she said about purchasing the building which is located on 50 Avenue.
The building has a lot more space including a conference room and six offices. It also has retail space for rent. Meier said they currently have one of their spaces available for rent.
“We have a very well-functioning kitchen where Collective Kitchen comes in and does a class with clients. That has been a real bonus for us,” she said.

Collective Kitchen is a program that organizes group cooking, meal planning and recipes.

The building also has provided the society with the room for its own gym, which was especially important when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.

With no gyms open, the society started to build a gym for their clients.

“The H in ECHO stands for health,” said Meier, adding the clients and staff have ramped up healthy living and eating.
Anyone involved with the society – whether it is a board member, client, staff or volunteer – have been participating in a walking challenge. Collectively they have walked across Canada, Spain, the UK and various other countries.

“We really encourage people to look after their health and get out and exercise,” said Meier.

PANDEMIC

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECHO Society has been open as its considered an essential service. The society has implemented strict protocols to ensure the safety of clients and staff.

Meier said the society implemented the health protocols even before there was a case in Alberta.

MAYERTHORPE STORE

The second-hand store operated in Mayerthorpe was closed for several weeks at the onset of the pandemic. ECHOS Thirft Store reopened its doors May 11.

Meier said they received a landslide of donations coming in the door, and a landslide of purchases going out the door.

“Lots of people have lost their jobs or their incomes have been cut, so the availability of second-hand items they don’t have to pay full retail price is important,” said Meier.



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ECHO Society needs board members

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