Border City residents showed their support in the form of toys for children who receive help through Lloydminster Sexual Assualt Services.

The droves of items from residents will be used to comfort kids in our community through the LSAS Project Little Bear who may be experiencing sexual violence or abuse. Shelves are now stocked with donations in Lily’s Toy Room inside the facility.

Community Coordinator Carly Pollard says the most impactful take away from the event was not on the donations but the awareness gained.

“When we are talking about the conversation that is developed through this, that is a really big piece of this. For people to know that we are here, that we’re present, that we’re open arms to our community. When we talk about the feedback from the community, a lot of people didn’t know that this was a place to access services.”

Pollard believes the inaugural event, which started in November, was overwhelmingly successful even for finishing up right before the holidays.

“The special part about Project Little Bear showed that, because of the holiday season, anything was everything and it didn’t matter the size of donations. We got at least one of everything off our wish list.”

The initiative came to fruition through Lloydminster resident Paul Laberge’s drive to continue giving back to the community.

Laberge has been vocal about sharing his father’s story, who experienced sexual abuse as a kid. After Paul’s father took his own life in 2018, Paul has started speaking out on the effects of poor mental health and advocating for more support and services for mental health in the community.

The partnership with LSAS came off the heel’s of LaBerge’s walk from North Battleford to Lloydminster to raise awareness and funds for mental health.

“We are collecting these donations to offer extra support to those who come in here. When you’re accessing services, starting a healing journey, or you’re at a different point within your healing process, the items we are collecting help with that,” says Pollard.

Project Little Bear will continue to run annually in October, which is Child Abuse Awareness Month.