SSCOPE Inc. is injecting a little Christmas spirit into its regular Live Fridays event.
On Fri., Dec. 20 at 6 p.m., the Winnipeg non-profit will transform its Treasures Thrift Shop (1466 Arlington St.) into a coffeehouse-style venue, with music performances by The Quinton Blair Band, Craig Richardson, Randy Sonnichsen of Split Crooked and Marguerite’s Ride.
"We deal with people who have mental health difficulties, and the whole idea is to give them opportunities to get out and be social, be with others and enjoy themselves," said Bob Rempel, SSCOPE executive director.
"Music is one of the things we do regularly. In the Christmas spirit, we’re also hoping the public comes down and maybe drops a few dollars in the donation jar."
Since 1991, SSCOPE (Self-Starting Creative Opportunities for People in Employment) has provided employment for people dealing with and recovering from mental health problems.
The organization averages 50 to 60 employee members per bimonthly payroll, with those workers performing such duties as lawn mowing, fall cleanup and right now, of course, snow shoveling.
"We quote competitively, but if somebody wants to have their dollar go a little bit further, we’re also putting people to work that are on social assistance," Rempel said. "They’re trying to keep their life stable and that sort of the thing, so the money helps and also just having a job, being able to say you have a real job, and you put a real, honest day’s work into it.
"When you’re shovelling snow, you know you worked hard and it’s not only good for your fitness, but it keeps your mind clear."
Most of SSCOPE’s employee members are only part-time or casual, but the responsibility of having to work on set days or being on standby is invaluable to their mental well-being.
"It gets a routine back into their life," Rempel said.
Richardson, one of the performers at the Live Fridays event, is actually a SSCOPE employee member, which Rempel said will "bring the pride up amongst everyone else there, that someone can and is willing to (perform)."
Also, Marvin Thiessen, SSCOPE operations supervisor, will lead a special singalong, including an original, winter work-inspired tune.
"Marv’s written a song called The Snow Shovelling Blues," Rempel said. "We work for the City of Winnipeg a lot. We have almost 50 properties with them as part of a contract. It gets cold and everything else, but we keep doing our work and The Snow Shoveling Blues brings everybodytogether."
The event also serves as a preview of SSCOPE’s fifth annual Rockin’ The Bridge mental health awareness and fundraising music festival, May 23 to 24 at Tiny Treasures Thrift Shop.
For more information go to www.sscope.org