You and a guest are invited to the private home of

W. Brett Wilson

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the exclusive come-and-go

Garden Party

RSVP now

Tuesday,
June 21st, 2016

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Festivities start around 5:47pm
and will probably run past your normal bedtime.

We anticipate quickly reaching Garden Capacity again this year. We’d like to make the garden more comfortable for our guests. We will be cutting off RSVP’s at a lower capacity and running a waitlist.
RSVP ASAP by email to RSVP@PrairieMerchant.ca

If you have any questions, contact my "Wrangler Extraordinaire"
Emily Corner at (403) 705-7708 or by email at ECorner@PrairieMerchant.ca

Remember, your invite is non-transferable and extended
to just you and a guest.
My tiny little garden and I really appreciate your understanding.

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As spring showers ease, and the warmth of summer calls the Garden Gnomes out to play, let us gather together to enjoy fabulous company, cocktails
and culinary delights.

Hitting the garden this year will be
the amazing musical talents

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Brett Kissel, John & Jacob, Sara Staples, Christian Hudson, Sam Lundell,
Jaxon Smith, Sykamore Jordan,
and Oscar Lopez

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Suggested Colour for Attire in the Garden

When the Pink Flamingos let their feathers show, let’s go ahead and follow their flow. Bright shades of pink should do the trick, or any colors of the garden that you should pick!

As the birds of the garden have always gotten it right, being in the Garden means keeping it light. (Don’t worry about any black-ties or dinner jackets.)

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Letter of Welcome

Every year I choose a different cause to celebrate – in terms of raising awareness and funds - via the Garden Party. Last year we raised just over $400K for Adolescent Mental Health, which was divided between the Canadian Mental Health Association (Calgary), Juno Foundation (Eating Disorders), Calgary Counselling Centre (Adolescent Mental Health) and Wood's Homes (Eagle Moon Lodge for Aboriginal Youth). In 2014, we raised $350K in support of three groups addressing mental health.

This year I am again focusing directly on mental health in all its forms. I have chosen a total of eight causes with more info and links below – all of which are changing the lives of people who suffer with mental illness. The programs we are supporting are: The Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary (CMHA), Juno Foundation (Eating Disorders), Calgary Counselling Centre (Adolescent Mental Health), Wood's Homes (Eagle Moon Lodge for Aboriginal Youth ), Silver Linings Foundation Calgary (Eating Disorders), Dare to Care (Adolescent Mental Health), EDSNA (Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta) and The Children’s Hospital Foundation (Mental Health Literacy).

Please see links and material below for more information on the causes.

I would ask you to prepare and share (bring if you are coming, send if you cannot join us) a meaningful (to you) charity cheque payable to “The Calgary Foundation / Mental Health” – and we will ensure that these programs benefit from 100% of your generosity. The funds allocated will not be divided equally amongst each charity – but on a discretionary basis. The split will be determined by a small board consisting of myself, my family and a representative of The Calgary Foundation. I would also ask that you keep any or all of these programs on your personal radar screen for further funding in years to come.

If you cannot attend, please consider making a Charity Cheque out to:

“The Calgary Foundation/Mental Health”
c/o Prairie Merchant Corporation
700, 933 - 17th Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2T 5R6

Collectively we are making a difference in the world.  After all – it is OUR world to change.

My best,

W. Brett Wilson

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The Marketplace

Look foward to:

Cell phone charging stations are generously provided by SOS Charging Solutions.

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Highlights of The Garden Party 2015

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#OMGP

For every time the hashtag #OMGP is used in the Garden, I will donate $10 to The United Way of Fort McMurray. My family is willing to support this cause up to $100,000 - so use social media (or have your kids help you!) as best you can.

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Charitable Focus: Adolescent Mental Health

As always, the Garden Party selects causes to support in terms of raising awareness and funds. This year, we ask that you bring a charity cheque made out to "The Calgary Foundation/Mental Health " as your admission, or to send in as support for the cause if you can't attend. The amount? Please dig deep, then a bit deeper – remember, 100% of your cheque goes to charity!

The Selected Programs

The Selected Programs Donations from this year's Garden Party will go specifically toward supporting mental health programs within eight deserving charities:

  1. CMHA – Calgary
  2. Juno Foundation
  3. Calgary Counselling Centre
  4. Wood's Homes/Aboriginal Youth
  5. Silver Linings Foundation Calgary
  6. Dare to Care
  7. EDSNA (Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta)
  8. The Children’s Hospital Foundation (Mental Health Literacy)

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Calgary Region is part of Canada’s most established national mental health organizations, the Canadian Mental Health Association. CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience and support recovery from mental illness and addiction and strives to improve public understanding of mental health issues at home, in the community and in the workplace.

One in five people experience a mental disorder in their lifetime and most of us know someone who has faced a mental health challenge or concern. CMHA – Calgary provides over 15 community-based support programs which are based on our H.O.P.E. model of service-delivery which encompasses Housing, Outreach, Peer Support and Education. Our programs build awareness and provide education, advocacy and support for individuals and families living with mental illness, addiction, or a loss by suicide. We work closely with other community organizations to bridge gaps in the mental health care system and facilitate access to important services and resources.

At Brett’s Garden Party, copies of Sick To Death of the Silence: Stories to break down the stigma of mental illness, an inspirational collection of personal stories of Calgarians with life experience of mental illness and addiction written by Brett’s business partner, John Gulak, with photography by Cole Grey, will be available for purchase.

Building the Whole Girl. Juno Foundation empowers adolescent girls and young women to achieve strong mental health and well-being.

Almost 33% girls experience eating disorders, anxiety disorders or depression. Building the whole girl takes a community. Juno Foundation is committed to building capacity in the community where professionals are trained in a comprehensive treatment model – and that funding is in place to help those families in need.

In 2015 the Foundation provided over 1300 hours of subsidy support for girls, young women and families.

Donations to Juno Foundation provide: (1) to provide funding to financially disadvantaged adolescent girls, young women and families to access counselling, therapy and therapeutic services (2) to provide specialized training of counsellors, therapists, doctors, nurses and other specialists through seminars and workshops to increase capacity in our community.

Now more than ever, Calgary and area residents need our help. In January 2016, Calgary Counselling Centre received a record of 915 requests for mental health services – the highest in our organization’s history – which we believe is a lingering effect of the catastrophic drop in oil prices in 2014 and the current economic downturn. The Centre has seen an immediate and significant increase in requests for counselling – double what we experienced during the worldwide economic downturn of 2008-2009. The need continues to grow.

Funds from this year’s Garden Party will support Calgary Counselling Centre’s comprehensive Defy Depression initiative, ensuring those who need counselling can access it, regardless of their ability to pay.

Our programs are receiving international attention for their ability to successfully meet client needs and profoundly impact people’s lives by achieving measurable, effective results. Lives change at Calgary Counselling Centre.

Wood’s Homes is a nationally accredited and recognized children’s mental health centre that provides close to 40 programs serving 20,000 vulnerable children and their families every year.

The organization offers culturally sensitive care for Aboriginal youth who receive treatment that combines evidence-based clinical practice with traditional teachings that include Elders and ceremonies. Often, non-Aboriginal youth are also drawn to Aboriginal healing practices, finding the close connection to nature to be profoundly therapeutic. With that in mind, several of these practices have been incorporated across the continuum of programs.

First Nations youth are referred to Wood’s Homes from across the country, often from remote environments where effective treatment opportunities do not exist.

Wood’s Homes employs 450 staff and works in Calgary, Lethbridge, Canmore, Strathmore, Fort McMurray and Fort Smith, N.W.T.

More than 30,000 Albertans (male and female) suffer from eating disorders, with no specialized provincial residential treatment facility for the illness. Calgary Silver Linings Foundation is the only Alberta foundation working towards the establishment of the province’s first eating disorder residential treatment centre in Southern Alberta. CSLF also offers patient and client support groups in Calgary.

Many Alberta youth suffer from severe eating disorders and building a residential treatment centre in Southern Alberta for at-risk youth is the first critical step in filling the systemic gap in services and reducing the number of repeat hospital admissions and deaths. The rate of girls between 10-19 years-old who had to be hospitalized from 2007-2013 increased by 42%. More than one-quarter of hospital emergency visits in Alberta for eating disorders include an admission to hospital for inpatient care and the average stay in hospital is 33 days. Eating disorders have the highest risk of mortality of any mental illness and residential treatment is necessary to break the cycle of hospital readmissions.

There are only a few specialized residential treatment centres in Canada and most no longer accept out-of-province patients, leaving Alberta residents the limited option of going for treatment in the U.S., often unfeasible for many. Treatment takes an average of three to six months.

Donations to CSLF will go directly towards the capital costs associated with building Alberta’s first residential treatment centre for eating disorders, including site purchase and program design.

No child should ever feel alone, afraid, or unwelcome in school or their community! Dare to Care was founded in 1999 because of a need to address the pervasive and crippling issue of bullying and the long term impact it has on one’s mental health. Unfortunately these issues continue to affect children, youth, and adults to this day.

There is a strong correlation between bullying and the development of mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and anxiety. With 50% of mental illnesses manifesting prior to age 14, it is critical that greater focus be placed on bully prevention and the early identification of mental health signs and symptoms. Dare to Care provides early education and support for all stakeholders within Gr. K -9 school communities, including students, staff, administration and parents. Dare to Care is also working to bring the program into the 110 amateur sporting organizations in this city.

“Dare to Care changed my life. That time spent learning from my friends, peers and the Dare to Care team were the best hours of my life” - student, Gr. 8

The Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA) offers professionally-facilitated support groups in Edmonton, Red Deer and starting in October 2016, Calgary. EDSNA's support groups have been independently evaluated and shown to be highly effective in building capacity, raising hope, creating connection and dispelling shame. We support both people with eating disorders and family members/loved ones. EDSNA also works to raise awareness about eating disorders by giving presentations, holding events and hosting Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Our comprehensive website connects people with the information they need to deal with this complex and often misunderstood illness.

When a child has cancer or another physical illness, friends bake casseroles and offer support. When a child has difficulties with mental health, people stop calling…and cast judgment. If we’re going to talk to one another about solving the biggest pediatric health problem in Canada, we need to be speaking the same language.

Recognizing the need for change, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is supporting three important initiatives to improve the overall understanding of pediatric mental health in our community, beginning in schools and doctors’ offices.

- Mental Health Online Resources for Educators - a free, web-based training tool which offers a variety of modules on mental health topics for teachers.

- Teaching Teens - a ground-breaking program that embeds mental health literacy into the curriculum of grade 9 and 10 students across Calgary. The program is providing training that helps students distinguish between mental health problems, distress and disorders and how to access support and resources. It incorporates mental health into everyday classroom discussion, reducing the tendency to sensationalize and ostracize those who are affected.

- Physician education - a six-month long Pediatric Psychopharmacology Mini-Fellowship is now offered to empower pediatricians and family physicians in our community to better identify and initiate mental health interventions for children with behavioral problems and common mental health disorders.

Ultimately, the goal is to raise the level of community understanding and knowledge so that mental health concerns can be prevented or addressed, well before they escalate into full-blown crises.

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Special thanks go to all of the above companies and their leaders
for their collective and tireless support of the Garden Party.