BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Lacombe’s local chapter of the Knights of Columbus – Father Albert Lacombe Council #8969 – has been keeping busy within the community, supporting a number of initiatives, particularly those to do with Lacombe’s youth.
This month, they have donated to be the Big Brothers Big Sisters Landlord of the Month, by donating the cost of this month’s mortgage payment.
As well, the Knights have had a hand in various outdoor youth spots such as ME Global Athletic Park and the new skateboard park.
The Knights also contribute regularly to the Youth Unlimited Yu-Turn Centre. All of this work is ongoing, with the hope of bringing more options and enjoyment to the youth of the community.
“We see Youth Unlimited as having a lot of potential with the youth in the community,” said Ron Magas, a former deputy Knight in the local chapter.
“First of all, they give the kids a place to go in the community. There are only so many things around Lacombe for kids to do, especially in winter. Summer months are fairly busy because the kids can go outside on their bikes, or in the fields or what have you.”
Magas said that the group has supported various Yu-Turn projects and initiatives in the past, from basic operations to their recent housing project.
He said the local Knights of Columbus chapter will continue to be involved in the Yu-Turn Centre because they feel the organization provides a wide range of supports and positive influence for local youth.
“Youth Unlimited is a big group to us. Their focus and introduction into this community has given the kids around here something to feel a part of. It’s almost a bit of hope, but I’m not sure if that’s the word I want,” Magas said with a laugh.
“It’s really a place for the kids to feel comfortable. It’s a place where the kids can be themselves and that can be a hard thing to provide.”
Perhaps one of the most successful programs the local Knights of Columbus are involved in is their ongoing AAA Scholarship opportunity at Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS).
Here, the Knights have created a scholarship that focuses on students who are facing various adversities in being able to attend post-secondary education.
“Some of us face or have overcome adversity in order to attend a post-secondary school, and the scholarship is for students who are going through that. We’ve been doing that for a long time, ever since I’ve been here for sure, which is 21 years in the group,” Magas said.
He added that he feels these scholarships are particularly beneficial because they provide an opportunity for students outside of academic achievements.
He also said this is designed to help out some of the students who may fall through the cracks in terms of applying for scholarships, if they can’t take part in athletics or don’t have the high grades necessary for academic scholarships.
“In my experience, especially in the last five years, quite a few of the kids have gone onto Red Deer College. It’s so great to see them succeed in that manner, and take on the challenge of going to college or university,” Magas said.
Ray Cyr, the current deputy grand knight for the local council, said the group enjoys giving back to the community in more ways than giving out funds.
“As a council, we decide where to donate. We raise funds that get put back into the community through various projects, but there are other ways we help, too,” he said.
“Many of our members like to spend time at the community projects where we can. An example of that would be our work with Habitat for Humanity, working on the physical side of putting together those homes.”
Magas said going forward, the local chapter will likely keep a focus on the youth in the community.
“I think if we had to define our focus, we would likely go back to the youth, even with all the other parts of the community we’re involved in. They are our future and our future leaders, so we want to make sure they can do the best they can in their lives.”
The Knights meet once a month to discuss projects, fundraising efforts and the best way to distribute funds into the community.
There are approximately 70 members within the group, with a core group of steady volunteers. However, for large community projects, the Knights come together as a strong service group.
Cyr moved to the community several years ago, and said when he transferred to the Lacombe chapter of the Knights of Columbus, he was met with instant friendship and a kinship from the other members.
“The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization. When I moved here, I had instant friends. It’s all about camaraderie and fellowship. It’s a great thing to be a knight and be involved in the community,” Cyr said.
The Knights continue to do a variety of community services. To get to know the group, take time to attend a community pancake breakfast, hosted by the organization on the second Sunday of each month. The breakfasts take place at Kozy Korner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with entry by donation.
The group meets on the fourth Thursday of each month, excluding July and August.
For more information on the group’s activities or to get involved, contact Ron Magas at 403-782-5576.