Kerby Centre is a not-for-profit, multi-service organization committed to enhancing the ability of older adults 55+ to live healthy, productive lives with a focus on their mental, physical, social and emotional well-being. We spoke with CEO Larry Mathieson, to find out more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Kerby Centre is a not-for-profit, multi-service organization committed to enhancing the ability of older adults 55+ to live healthy, productive lives with a focus on their mental, physical, social and emotional well-being.
What problem does it aim to solve?
For nearly 50 years, Kerby Centre has been a place where seniors made friends, built community, learned, exercised, and sought resources. A place where “whole health” is the foundation of service and where aging is honoured.
When did you start/join it?
I joined as CEO in January of 2020.
What made you want to get involved?
Kerby Centre is a well-respected and established organization that had unique challenges ahead of it. I was excited to be part of guiding that journey.
What was the situation like when you started?
In my 10th week on the job, we were forced to close the centre due to the pandemic. What I, and our board, thought my focus would be changed completely. We had to turn our programs inside-out. Every service, program, and support we have offered for decades inside our facility had to be offered online, by phone, or through going to seniors’ homes.
How has it changed since?
In 2021 we were awarded a contract to operate Veiner Centre and Strathcona Centre in Medicine Hat. This has been an incredible experience so far. We hired all of our staff for those Centres in Medicine Hat and the community has been very supportive of our work.
What more needs to be done?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have introduced new online programs, social outreach, food security, and engagement programs. Through phone outreach, food delivery, and programming on Zoom, we have connected with thousands of isolated seniors.
Our challenge now is to continue to return to our in-person programs, but also making sustainable the online programs which have also grown in demand.
How can our readers help?
Volunteering and donating are vital to keeping our services operating. But even more important is that we continue to connect with older adults and show them the amazing opportunities we have to get engaged, socialize, and try something new. If you are over 55, I encourage you to see what we have to offer. If you are under 55, I’m sure we can help your parents or grandparents as well.
Do you have any events coming up?
We have a wide variety of online and in-person programs running throughout the year. Our annual golf tournament is coming up on August 18 and our Seniors Expo will return in October.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Easter Seals Alberta – When I was the CEO there I was always moved by how Camp Horizon could make such a difference for kids with developmental or physical disabilities.