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Envision celebrating 20 years in Estevan

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The Envision Counselling and Support Centre believes that it has grown and evolved as the community has grown over the last 20 years, allowing it to meet community needs.

Envision was founded on April 1, 1994, as the Violence Intervention Program. Since its inception, the organization has added programs, services, staff members and volunteers. One of their best-known initiatives, their 24-hour abuse support line, was born in 1996.

They even changed their name to the Envision Counselling and Support Centre, back in 2008.

"I think the name change really helped Envision in its growth, because as we expanded our programs, and incorporated new programs that weren't specifically about abused women and children, it allowed people to understand we're a counselling centre in its purest form," said Envision executive director Patt Lenover-Adams.

When Envision was formed in 1994, they had 10 volunteer board members and three employees. Now they're up to 72 people directly affiliated with the organization, including staff, volunteers and board members.

Initially there was one funding source; now they have three. Support also comes from local service groups and individuals.

"We've kept the all the interpersonal violence and abuse programs – the original programs that have been with us for the whole 20 years," said outreach coordinator Sheena Wock.

Programs also exist for family intervention, in-home supports, volunteers and children exposed to violence. Those programs often intertwine.

"There can be a family in which the parents are coming for couples' counseling, the child is in therapy with our child therapist, and they're also involved in the in-home program," said Lenover-Adams.

Their community outreach program supports all of the counselling and volunteer programs, too.

Envision started seeing men in the last couple of years, thanks to the family intervention program. Males who were abused physically, emotionally or sexually as children can speak one-on-one with a counsellor.

"The rationale or the need came out of the economic boom in the southeast," said Lenover-Adams. "There wasn't the programming for men, except if they were abusers."

Envision will provide services to over 1,000 people in an average year. Thanks to the outreach program, they reach so many more residents than just those who receive counselling.   

Estevan and Weyburn have always been home to offices, but in 2012, they expanded to Carlyle, where they have two counsellors.

"Their case loads are full right now, and they're seeing a lot of family related issues," said Lenover-Adams. "They also see abused women, they're seeing a lot of teen and step-family issues."

Envision has also garnered a lot of provincial and national recognitions, Wock said.

"We've received different awards," said Wock. "People think that in Saskatchewan, there isn't much going on there, but we've really stood out in the country. We have great partnerships on a local level and a provincial level and a national level."

Lenover-Adams said Envision will have some sort of an event this year to mark the organization's 20th anniversary, but details have yet to be finalized.

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