A new mural, painted largely by residents of Strathmore, was unveiled at the Strathmore Municipal Library and Happy Gang building, Sept. 13. 

The mural was created by participants of the Skills for Success program, which aims to help people develop social and employability skills. 

“For the past six weeks, our Skills for Success group has been working on this mural. They were involved in interviewing the community to find out the stories that the Strathmore community wanted to be told on the mural,” said Wendy Smith, program manager for Rocky View and Wheatland Employment Services. “They interviewed the Happy Gang and a few other longtime Strathmore members and found out that really, Strathmore was about heart … it was about love and passion for the community. We took that design, and we were able to transfer it into this lovely mural.”

Though participants of this particular Skills for Success group designed the project, past participants, members of the community, and even random passersby were invited to participate in creating the mural. 

Participants from Skills for Success Calgary programs were also invited to participate, and upon the project completion, any who pitched in were asked to sign their names on the wall.

“One of the beauties of working with Strathmore is people in Strathmore are very proud of their community. They want to be a part of these exciting events,” said Smith. “When we ask for something in Strathmore, it is given. It is given with people’s full hearts.”

Skills for Success is a 12-week program that teaches people softer skills, using art as the venue for teaching. 

The focus is on skills which people will need to become employed. Participants identify that they have a need to develop a skill or set of skills, be it problem solving, teamwork, communication, etc. and will learn those through an art project. 

The program concludes for each group of participants with the development of a mural. In Strathmore, including this latest project, five of these types of murals have thus far been developed around town. 

“We are trying to help those participants get ready to find employment … anybody who is looking for a job, they are welcome to join us on the other side of our office, or they are welcome to get involved in our art program too,” said Smith. “The impact is huge. For people who have participated in an art program with us, they get to drive by and see how they contributed to the beautification of Strathmore, that their art made an impact, they are part of the community.”

Prospect Human Services is able to be accessed at the Strathmore Centre, or online (www.prospectnow.ca).

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 21, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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