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Let’s Walk Together concert raising funds to support Riverview Enhanced Living

From left, Riverview Enhanced Living Society program director Rebecca Hill, LaHave House resident Mitch Doucette and Joanne Wentzell, CEO of the Riverview Enhanced Living Society, encourage everyone to get their tickets for the April 13 concert before they are all gone.
From left, Riverview Enhanced Living Society program director Rebecca Hill, LaHave House resident Mitch Doucette and Joanne Wentzell, CEO of the Riverview Enhanced Living Society, encourage everyone to get their tickets for the April 13 concert before they are all gone. - Vernon Oickle

Let’s Walk Together, a fundraising concert on April 13 at the Best Western Plus Bridgewater, featuring Nova Scotian entertainer Dave Gunning, is being held in support of Riverview Enhanced Living.

According to the organization’s website, Riverview Enhanced Living has been a leader in Bridgewater in caring for adults with special needs since 1976.

“Adults with special needs in Nova Scotia require safe, engaging, and caring communities like Riverview,” the site says.

These are some of the ways the organization creates enhanced living solutions for adults with special needs:

  • Professional and engaging educational programs through its L.I.T.E.S. program regardless of physical or cognitive abilities.
  • Healthy and delicious meals meet the client’s individual nutritional requirements.
  • Various forms of living options from apartments and group homes to full-time nursing care.
  • Supported living connects clients with support in areas including: life skills, health, employment, financial, leisure and social skills.
  • Individualized work and life skills programs engage clients through meaningful involvement within the community.
  •  Promotion of physical activity through development of fine and gross motor skills.
  • Engaging home atmosphere provides clients an inclusive and caring environment.
  • Natural settings at each of the properties promotes recreational opportunities and relaxation for clients and visitors.

Joanne Wentzell, CEO of the Riverview Enhanced Living Society, explains that while they offer a complete and well-rounded program for their residents they do face financial challenges when it comes to providing extracurricular activities outside the facilities.

She says that’s why they were excited earlier this year when Gary Lohnes, a Lunenburg County based events coordinator, approached the society with an idea to hold an event to raise funds to provide such activities for the clients.

Wentzell and Rebecca Hill, program director with the society, determined right away that any funds raised through the event would be used to provide a three-day camping trip experience for residents later this year at Camp Mush-a-Mush.

“This is a treat for many of our clients, as some never have this opportunity,” Wentzell says. “It is very important to get our residents out in the community so they can enjoy these experiences and engage with other people.”

Hill explains the overnight camping excursion that will take place from June 4 to 6, allows their clients to spend a few days of the summer in a fun, natural environment where they can enjoy the outdoors and socialize with others.

“It’s just a fun time for them,” Hill says while pointing out there will be campfires, a dance, hotdog roasts, games and many recreational activities.

Mitch Doucette from Yarmouth has been a resident of LaHave House located on the Leary Fraser Road in Dayspring near Bridgewater for the past five years and he says he is really looking forward to the camping trip.

“I like spending time outdoors and socializing with everyone,” he says. “It gives us a chance to have fun and to be independent. I’m really looking forward to it.”

In total, the Riverview Enhanced Living Society has 64 residents at LaHave House and another 35 who reside in apartments throughout the town of Bridgewater. All the residents will have an opportunity to take part in the camping trip because of money raised through this concert.

As of March 22, Wentzell says about 70 per cent of the concert tickets had been sold, so she encouraged those still looking for tickets to get them as soon possible before they are all gone.

“We have been really thrilled with how well the tickets have been selling,” she says adding that she believes it has generated a large response because the funds are for a good cause and because of the quality of the entertainment.

Dave Gunning is best defined as a master craftsman. Over the course of 23 years and 11 earlier albums, the Nova Scotian folk singer/songwriter has diligently sharpened his skills, developing into a poetic storyteller and emotionally convincing singer with few equals.

“The fruits of those labours are now vividly on display in his latest collection of songs, Up Against The Sky,” his website says.

“The relaxed and intimate feel of the record reflects its method of creation. I focused a lot on tones and the vibe, rather than strategic parts on this one. Many of these tunes were sung and played at the same time, and that prevented me from being able to go back and edit, forcing a little more honesty.”

Gunning has earned a shelf full of music industry honours. That tally currently stands at eight East Coast Music Awards and two Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus a 2012 Juno Award nomination in the Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year category for his album, a tribute to John Allan Cameron, a compelling homage to another of Gunning’s Maritime musical heroes.

His songwriting skill has also been internationally recognized, with tunes scoring victories and high placings in major international songwriting competitions. As a fervent hockey fan, he was also thrilled to win the CBC’s hotly-contested Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest in 2014 with “A Game Goin’ On”, a co-write with David Francey.

Lohnes, the event organizer encourages people to get their tickets now to avoid disappointment. The concert would not be possible without the sponsorship partners including Kinley’s Drug Store, Royal Bank of Canada, The Chronicle Herald, Eckler’s Consultants and CKBW radio station.

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