SERVING THE COMMUNITY - Joanne Arifin

SERVING THE COMMUNITY - Joanne Arifin

Action Group a multi-faceted service for Lacombe and area

Community organization has a 35-year history in the City and beyond

For more than 35 years, Action Group has been providing services to Lacombe and beyond.

Action Group is a not-for-profit group based in Lacombe that offers support to individuals with developmental disabilities. It provides a number of services to both adults and children in Central Alberta including employment services and residential services.

Action Group was formed in 1976 by a group of parents in Lacombe, some of whom had children with developmental disabilities, who decided to build a group home in the community for their children. Since then, the organization has expanded to offer other services as well and now operates throughout Central Alberta.

Deb Martin, executive director for Action Group, has been with the organization since the very beginning.

When she joined, operating that one group home was the extent of Action Group’s services.

Martin said that there are a great many things she enjoys about working with Action Group, but one of her favourite aspects of the job is seeing the clients develop over the years.

“We have a number of individuals who have been here since they were children,” said Martin. “(I enjoy seeing) them grow and develop and become successful adults and be happy in the community.”

Finding out what is necessary for an individual to be successful and providing them with those skill sets is another thing Martin enjoys about her job, she said.

“It’s just like your own kids,” said Martin. “You want to see them grow up and be successful. And I’ve been able to see that with so many individuals and that’s very rewarding.”

In fact, giving individuals the tools they need to be successful is at its most basic what Action Group does.

Martin said Action Group works with varied disabilities, but tries to focus instead on what can be done to make individuals successful in the community.

Today, Action Group manages about 20 residential homes (and is building two more to open the beginning of April) and has an operating budget of over $12 million.

Martin said the organization evolved over time, expanding to meet the needs of its clients and their families.

Martin said that after a while Action Group began looking into employment supports to offer all facets of service rather than just residential.

This full-faced service model also led to expansion of other services as well. Action Group started with residential and then moved into home support, employment and outreach services.

Now, the organization offers two types of employment services. Those are the programs for those with development disabilities and programs for those without.

The program serving individuals with developmental disabilities is two-fold.

Martin said Action Group does employment prep with its clients and then finds a placement and then works on stabilization and making sure that job is a good fit for the individual.

Sometimes finding a good fit will require a change in jobs, working with the client so that they perform better at work or working with the employer so they are aware of any special needs the client might have, said Martin.

She said that Action Group works with a number of employers in all kinds of industries within Lacombe and Red Deer.

Action Group also has an employment centre that caters to Albertans without disabilities. Martin said the centre works both with employers to find potential employees and with potential employees to find employment.

She added that between 20,000 and 30,000 individuals might come through the employment office in one year.

Another big part of what Action Group does is community access services, connecting people to the community. One of the ways this is done is through a learning circle program in Lacombe and Red Deer, said Martin.

Martin said the goal behind community is to connect individuals to the community so that they are able to do things independently.

She added that Action Group’s programs have been quite successful in forming those connections.

“A lot of the individuals (in our programs) have more connections with the community than the majority of the population.”

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

Most Read