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2nd annual art fundraiser supports Robbie Dean Counselling Centre

Written by Patricia Leboeuf 

Pembroke Fire Department firefighter Riley Poirier presented Robbie Dean Counselling Centre Founder Monique Yashinskie and fundraiser organizer Jay Baker with a $1,500 cheque at the start of the Aug. 21 Art in the Valley event.

The Grey Gables Inn underwent a captivating transformation on August 21, hosting the 2nd Art in the Valley fundraiser in support of the Robbie Dean Counselling Centre (RDCC).

Sponsored by Pro-tec 5, the event treated attendees to a meticulously curated collection of original artwork. The pieces were available for both purchase and commission, showcasing the artistic prowess of 14 local talents. Elevating the ambiance was live music, delectable appetizers and a well-stocked bar.

The event featured a silent auction highlighting original artworks generously donated by the participating artists with all proceeds going to the centre to support mental health in the community. The evening raised about $3,000.

“It’s a nice elegant evening where everybody can come and talk about art,” said head organizer Jay Baker.

An artist himself, Baker had discovered the therapeutic potential of art while navigating his own mental health challenges. His inspiration for the fundraiser stemmed from his desire to forge connections within the community and extend a helping hand to those facing similar battles.

The original iteration of the event was held at the Nook Creperie last year and was such a success that a bigger venue was required to accommodate the artists and patrons.

And while the art and cuisine were a big part the event’s focus, the charitable angle was also a draw; the City of Pembroke Fire Department made a $1,500 donation before the doors officially opened.

“That was unexpected, so we are very happy about that,” said Baker.

Over the past year, the RDCC has hosted numerous fundraising activities to raise $100,000 in honour of the centre’s 10th anniversary. Organizers estimate they’d reached nearly 90 per cent of their goal before even tallying the evening’s proceeds.

Donations are the lifeblood of the RDCC, an entity reliant on community support due to its lack of government funding.

“When people come to the Robbie Dean Centre, the first thing we do is an intake, basically a period of time where we can figure out how to best help them… and the cost of that intake is approximately $30,” said Monique Yashinskie, RDCC founder. “So every penny we raise tonight is going to help towards the intake, that very first step, that very first moment of courage that it takes for somebody to be vulnerable and share their story for maybe the very first time.”

The art gala also serves as a vehicle for raising awareness about the RDCC and the crucial role mental health services play. Demand for these services has surged alongside the centre’s usage.

“Every event that I go to, usually one of two things happen: either people will tell me about how the Robbie Dean Centre has helped them, or they actually seek out … how they can reach out to the centre,” said Baker.

For a list of the upcoming RDCC fundraising events, please visit www.rdccevents.com.

Read the full article HERE

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