It was good news for seniors of Pictou County on Monday morning as Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte announced $3.4 million in funding over four years from the New Horizons Program to go toward the Mentoring Plus program.
Schulte was happy to announce the latest news from the New Horizons initiative in Pictou County at Glasgow Square. The initiative between Dalhousie University Centre for Continuing Education and the towns of New Glasgow, Kentville and Truro will see the mentorship program that had smaller projects in the county last year take flight this year with the federal funding.
“When seniors are respected and valued and included in the social fabric in our communities, their health and well being can flourish, and in turn, they can enrich the lives of all Canadians,” said Schulte. “That’s why we’ve made it our mission to promote social inclusions as we’re doing through our New Horizons for Seniors program and increase opportunities for seniors to be empowered active members of their communities.”
She added that the pan Canadian projects have engaged and connected more than 47,000 seniors, in turn, reducing social isolation for an aging population.
Central Nova MP Sean Fraser spoke, noting that he has already spoken to some of the students who have seen the benefits of this program.
“It’s a great way to engage our seniors living in our community but also have young people benefit from their many years of experience,” he said. “We found a program that does very good things and scaled it up, and this is one of the first projects I’ve seen through this new scaled up fund and I can’t wait to see the impact it has on our community.”
New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks noted, “Our retirees are bringing their lived experiences to students who are just beginning to explore the opportunities that lie ahead; the benefits to both groups are without question,” she said.
To take on a new co-ordinator position for the program in New Glasgow, Geralyn MacDonald who had been involved in the project from the beginning in Pictou County, will be overseeing the program for Pictou County as well as conferring with representatives from the two other towns to engage youth and seniors. MacDonald shared that mentoring is only the first step for many people.
Beginning with the Mentoring Plus program such as was held last year at North Nova Education Centre with students and local mentors, it is easy to see the benefits for everyone, she said.
Mentoring plus co-ordinators are currently being sought for Truro and Kentville with MacDonald securing this and the assistant director title under the Dalhousie Centre for Continuing Education who have been working on the project for some time.
“We do have a framework of how the project will progress,” said MacDonald. “So the three municipalities now have this paid person working with Dalhousie on this collective impact plan.”
Deb Schulte, minister of Seniors, announces a new Mentoring Plus program between New Glasgow, Truro and Kentville with Dalhousie Centre for Continuing Education. Schulte announced $3.4 million in funding for the program over four years. (Brimicombe photo)