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Our Community Involvement

Since our inception in October 2005, Riverside Spa has committed to improving the lives of people in our local and global communities. In 2017, we focused our support on two amazing organizations: CAUSE Canada and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. In 2018, we have chosen to continue our partnership with these organizations.

CAUSE Canada:

In 2009, in conjunction with CAUSE Canada’s child sponsorship program (CAUSE Kids) Riverside Spa built a two- classroom building adjacent to the Kabala Baptist Primary School. Due to substantially increased enrollment, the school previously had no space for the 600 students in its grade one and two classes and was temporarily using a community member’s house. The new building provides much-needed classroom space, where teachers can teach and students can learn.

In 2011, Riverside Spa re-built the Primary School in the rural village of Senekedugu, which was originally established in 1994 with two teachers and only 30 students in grade one. The old school was no longer considered safe for the 200 students that are now in attendance.

Both buildings stand as a reminder of the importance of education and Riverside Spa’s commitment to developing the potential of the world’s youth.

In 2012, Riverside Spa partnered with CAUSE Canada to build three birthing huts in two districts of Sierra Leone, endeavoring to address the principle causes of maternal and child mortality before and after birth. The 2010 World Health Organization World Health Statistics report that Sierra Leone’s maternal mortality is the world’s highest. Furthermore, Sierra Leone also has one of the highest under-5 mortality rates, with 24% of newborns experiencing low birth-weights.

To combat these staggering statistics, birthing huts built by Riverside Spa provide safe, hygienic and socially familiar environments for a countless number of women to rest and wait for their deliveries. These women also receive life- saving support, education and at least 24 hours of supervised care after giving birth from local midwives and traditional birthing attendants. Additionally, older children and companions are also welcome to stay in birthing huts, providing invaluable reassurance and support to women and babies at risk.

In 2013/14, in the interest of “bridging the gap” between our previous areas of involvement, Riverside Spa was very pleased to support CAUSE Canada’s “API, PLUMP BABIES” Infant Nutrition Program. The goal of this life-saving initiative was to provide rural communities with nutritional monitoring services for infants, refer acutely malnourished babies to feeding rehabilitation centers and to train mothers on proper nutrition. Using materials developed by UNICEF, Mother’s Groups in over 1,429 villages in the district of Moyamba were instructed on the benefits of exclusive breast-feeding for the first 6 months of a child’s life and appropriate weaning foods thereafter. Mother’s Groups, with support from CAUSE Canada, produced take-home weaning food with a high protein mix of seeds and beans grown by the community. They also became activists for vitamin-A supplementation, de-worming practices, sanitation, malaria prevention, community dialogue and other healthy behaviours.

In 2015, in response to the devastating Ebola crisis, Riverside Spa’s involvement with CAUSE Canada was focused on the Sierra Leone School Rehabilitation and Nutrition Project. As the Ebola crisis decreased in strength and severity, this program sought to meet post-Ebola recovery needs in the areas of education and nutrition for students. In preparation for the re-opening of seven CAUSE Kids Schools, the project aimed to help the schools meet the strict pre-opening requirements set out by the Government of Sierra Leone, such as risk assessment for disease, maintenance and repairs, furniture, latrines and wells. Once schools were deemed safe to re-open, this initiative assisted in re-starting the CAUSE Kids Nutrition Program, providing one hot meal per day to all students as a way to encourage attendance and to offset financial costs for families in feeding their children.

In 2016/17, Riverside Spa supported CAUSE Canada’s Self-Directed Learning and Peer Literacy Program. Educational opportunities in the rural regions of Sierra Leone are inadequate, especially for girls. The CAUSE Kids Peer Literacy Program will reduce barriers to education by training 100 top performing high school girls to tutor younger students (2600 girls and 2400 boys) with the goal of improving their reading and writing skills. These high school girls will receive a variety of educational supports themselves, including access to computer classes on weekends, and become empowered leaders, serving as role models for younger students. In addition, 10 Integrated Learning Centers will be set up in participating schools and will include 20 tablets or laptops, featuring innovative Raspberry Pi technology and powered by solar charges. These centers will be open seven days a week, facilitating increased access to computer-based, self-directed learning, allowing students to increase their academic achievement despite large class sizes and (in many cases) inadequately trained teachers.

The Evolution of CAUSE Kids:

In 2018, Riverside Spa is pleased to support CAUSE Canada’s efforts to help the CAUSE Kids program move towards providing quality education that helps children achieve effective and relevant outcomes. Founded over ten years ago, CAUSE Kids has overseen the construction of 17 schools and significantly increased children’s access to primary education. While this has been beneficial to the communities involved, high student drop-out rates and low levels of literacy (in spite of school attendance) suggest that efforts need to be refocused. For example, while approximately 75% of girls start school in sub-Saharan Africa, only about 8% finish. Contrary to popular reasoning, these girls do not drop out because they become pregnant or get married, but because they fall behind in school, at which point they are often subjected to child marriage and motherhood. CAUSE Canada has identified that the overall quality of education needs to be improved, to keep children in school, build their literacy and numeracy skills, and equip them to become economically and socially empowered. This project will benefit more than 2500 children, 85 women involved with community Mother’s Clubs and 100 teachers. The following tasks will be undertaken: conduct a baseline survey to understand current learning outcomes of the CAUSE Kids program, meet with various community members including Mother’s Clubs, teachers, students and in-country CAUSE staff to better understand program participation, areas of success and needed improvement, identify key learning outcomes for children and indicators of success, provide professional development to CAUSE Kids staff to help them support children and schools, and the development of a sustainable plan of action to help ensure that children are participating in quality education moving forward.

For more information about CAUSE Canada’s work, please visit:
www.cause.ca/projects/current

Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation

In 2018, Riverside Spa is proud to host our 10th Annual Day of Guilt Free Pampering in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. On Wednesday, December 5 th , 2018, Riverside Spa will donate 100% of revenue from all services performed to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. We would like to thank everyone who supported our event over the past 9 years to assist the more than 75, 000 children and families helped each year by the hospital.

The Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is the official fundraising body for the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. All funds raised support excellence in child health and family-centered care, allowing for investment in the finest child health programs, specialized life-saving equipment and advanced pediatric research and education.

In 2017, proceeds from our annual Day of Guilt Free Pampering were directed to patient and family centered care. Every year, tens of thousands of families suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar territory – surrounded by medical language, complicated equipment and uncertainty. Their child’s health crisis can be stressful, intimidating and often overwhelming. Thanks to donors in the community, Alberta Children’s Hospital does more than care for a child – it plays an important role in caring for the whole family. Community support makes it possible for the hospital to offer special programs and services that empower and support families and lessen the stress and anxiety that can accompany hospitalization.

For more information about the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation please visit: www.childrenshospital.ab.ca

Donation Requests

Although we are unable to grant your donation request at this time, we wish you much success with your efforts. Moving forward, our intention is to continue to build upon our existing partnerships with CAUSE Canada and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information about our current community participation, please contact Shanna Laychuk at 403.270.7500.