Ottawa native and Great Big Sea founder Sean McCann is set to perform at Festival Hall in Pembroke on April 1 in support of the Robbie Dean Centre.
The Robbie Dean Centre is a not-for-profit organization that provides free mental health services such as grief, anxiety, depression, anger management counselling, and much more.
The centre receives no government funding and entirely relies on fundraisers and donations to meet its budget of $600,000 for this year.
“We worked with over 705 individuals and that translated into 4720 appointments in a one-year period,” says founder and executive director Monique Yashinskie of the centre’s impact in 2021.
Monique says the two-hour event April 1 will include stories shared by McCann and his partner Andrea Aragon of their own past traumas. McCann has been public in struggles with being sexually abused and coping through alcohol.
Yashinskie says in partnering with McCann they believe they have found a way to break down barriers.
“When someone like Sean McCann, who is a famous person, can go out and hit the stage and openly share their story, we’re all hoping that these types of things normalize mental health.”
Speaking to CTV News Ottawa, McCann says organizations such as the Robbie Dean Centre are vital in filling the cracks the health care system leaves across Canada.
“In a world where the hashtag ‘mental health’ spreads out and is very broad,” says McCann. “I love working with smaller groups that are able to do specific things very well.”
“They need funding to continue this and we wanted to support them,” says the performer, who has become famous for his sea shanties. “And the best way we’ve learned how to do it is sharing our story, and by getting people together to sing together.”
Yashinskie says with fundraisers such as these, the phrase ‘every dollar counts’ holds truer than most other places. An intake assessment for new clients at the Robbie Dean Centre costs less than a fast food order.
“Every $15 to $20 that is raised helps a person take that very first step in getting help, and sometimes that’s the hardest step to take,” explains Yashinskie.
“Some people say, ‘I can only give $100’. Well, your $100 could potentially help five people.”
Tickets for the fundraiser cost $31 and can be found here. Twenty-five dollars from every ticket will go directly to the Robbie Dean Centre.
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