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Donation moves Be Brave Ranch closer to reality
The Be Brave Ranch, a facility for the treatment and healing of survivors of child sexual abuse, is one giant step closer to reality with the announcement of a $600,000 contribution from the Yachimec Auto Group.
Little Warriors is working to raise $3.4 million to establish the ranch just outside Edmonton. The partnership with the Yachimec group will bring the tally to $1.1 million to date, so there is still considerable work to do.
“Now we are appealing to the public to get involved,” said Glori Meldrum, founder and chair of Little Warriors. “We’re spending $400 million to build a museum. I’m not saying that’s not important, but shouldn’t we look after the vulnerable first? As a province, we’re really wealthy. The least we should do for these little kids is provide a safe place.”
The Be Brave Ranch will be the first facility of its kind in Canada. The 30-acre site will offer 30-day programs and outpatient care, with staff and volunteers committed to healing the mind, body and spirit of the child, Meldrum says. Little Warriors is looking to communities and associations to help raise the $75,000 cost of creating a culturally-relevant program for Aboriginal children at the ranch, one that will include Aboriginal traditionalists performing special ceremonies, in addition to therapists, psychiatrists and other healers.
Child sexual abuse in the Aboriginal community is a legacy of the residential schools, said Lewis Cardinal, who serves as a board member for Little Warriors.
“Negative behaviour is taught. The problem is significant among Aboriginals as well as the mainstream.”
Both Cardinal and Meldrum were themselves victims of child sex abuse, and say they know first-hand the value of healing. “We have to be brave enough to talk about it,” said Cardinal. “I had nobody to talk to. I couldn’t talk to my own parents. The threat and fear of retaliation was too great.”
He added, “The legacy of the residential schools will transfer generationally unless something is done to stop it, and that’s counseling and healing.”
That is the goal of Little Warriors in general. The national charitable organization was founded in Edmonton four years ago, with its focus on education about and prevention of child sexual abuse. They have taken their training program across Canada, teaching hundreds of people to recognize the signs and symptoms of child sex abuse, and how sex offenders groom their kids. “For every adult we train, it protects 10 kids,” said Meldrum.
“Child sex abuse is a pandemic in our country. People need to wake up. We have to get these kids some help. It’s the least we can do as Canadians,” she said.
The contribution from the Yachimec Auto Group is significant, said Cardinal. “They know the value of the ranch. We don’t see government funding, so it’s important to see companies jumping in to help out.”
Bart Yachimec, of the Yachimec Auto Group, gives Meldrum a lot of credit for the work she has done through Little Warriors. “This crime has been hidden in the closet too long. When we’re all gone, the Be Brave Ranch is something that will be everlasting, and we’re proud to be part of it.”
Photo caption: Bart Yachimec and Glori Meldrum display the $600,000 cheque from the Yachimec Auto Group. With them are Mya Gerhadt (third from left) and Shaelyn Hopkins, two of the young models featured in the “What are you going to do?” advertising campaign recently launched by Little Warriors.
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