How ADP came to be 

by Andrew McCutcheon

Even the most dyed-in-the-wool Kerby Centre members or volunteers might not know everything our organization does under the banner of Unison Alberta. 

It’s part of the reason we’re spending every week of this, our 50th anniversary, trying to answer the question — what is Kerby Centre? 

And it’s impossible to answer that question without one of our lesser-known but supremely important services: the Adult Day Program, also known as ADP. 

ADP is a program where older adults with higher support needs can be referred by Alberta Health Services to come spend a day under the care of some fantastic folks here at the Centre. 

They get the chance to partake in fun recreational activities, and have a meal cooked by our excellent in-house Café, all the while being cared for and having their health monitored by trained professionals. 

Not only does this mean older adults with higher support needs have the chance to socialize and enjoy the company of others, it provides a well-needed respite day to their full-time caregivers. 

It’s an important service that Kerby Centre is contracted by AHS to provide, but the origins of the program go back, way back to the origins of Kerby Centre as an institution. 

The quest to establish a day program for adults at Kerby Centre started extremely early in our history. 

According to archival issues of the Kerby News, circa September of 1987: “Efforts started by the Kerby Centre Nearly 10 years ago to establish an adult day program, and carried on ever since.” 

The plan was to construct a facility attached to Kerby Centre which would act as the home for the day program. This issue of the paper states that “construction of the facility … is expected to start before the end of the year.” 

As often is the case with construction plans and large projects, those expectations would not come to pass without an unfortunate handful of delays and setbacks. 

The next update we’d hear about the project in the Kerby News was in March of 1988, when it was announced that an anonymous donation of $5,000 would go towards construction costs, meaning that fundraising was ongoing into 1988. 

Later in the Sept. 1988 issue — despite news that construction had already begun — the front-page headline reads: “Day Care Project Needs Donations.” 

“Despite the thousands of dollars raised by Members of Kerby Centre to launch the innovative project and money provided by the Province of Alberta to begin building, funds are still needed to guarantee the success of the Adult Day Care facilities for which Kerby has worked for many years.” 

It seems that the building was in the process of construction, but additional funds were required to help finish and furnish the project, so the call was made to Kerby Centre members: please help this program reach the finish line! 

And the Kerby Community rose to the occasion. We’ve always said our community is one of the most giving, generous and committed and what happened next only confirms that it’s always been true. 

The November 1988 issue of the Kerby News, just two months later, revealed the incredible response to the call for donations. 

“Already credited with raising more than $100,000 in their eight-year campaign… an appeal by Kerby Centre Board of Directors for further needed donations drew a quick response from the membership.” 

In less than a month after the call went out, 1,600 Kerby members donated more than $40,000 towards the project — which would be close to $100,000 adjusted for inflation. 

The front page of the November 1988 issue: “The quick response of Kerby Members to the appeal for funds is seen as an indication of the great potential of such a program.” 

“After all, nobody is closer to the problems of the elderly than the members of Kerby.” 

Later, after the full completion of the two-storey addition to the Centre, the final puzzle piece slipped into place in September 1989, when then-MLA for Calgary Bow, Bonnie Laing, presented a cheque for $81,833 in matching funds from a Provincial Facility Enhancement Program. Laing even would go on to say after a tour that she was quite impressed with the facilities. 

Operations began that same year and have continued ever since, allowing older adults to experience all that Kerby Centre has to offer while providing much-needed respite for their caregivers. 

And it would have never come to pass without the timeless, generous nature of our incredible Kerby Community. 

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