EDMONTON- A ranch dedicated to helping child victims of sexual abuse is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch has been in the works for years. Little Warriors’ vision has been to build a first of its kind treatment centre for children, to help prevent, recognize and react to child sexual abuse.
“It’s so hard to talk about, when you’re a little kid, bad stuff that’s happened to you,” said Glori Meldrum, founder of Little Warriors. “These kids, they need a long-term program to get better.”
But after securing a location for the ranch in August 2012, Meldrum says Little Warriors was denied $650,000 in funding by the provincial government.
“We got a letter signed by both (Human Services) Minister Hancock and (Culture) Minister Klimchuk saying there’s no more money,” Meldrum said. “I was shocked… we always thought we were getting that amount of money.”
However, the government says the application for the grant has not been denied and it is still open. In a blog post dated August 26, 2013, Hancock said “Alberta Culture cannot make a decision on the Little Warriors request for $650,000 in funding without the requested information related to the purchase of the Be Brave Ranch property and the viability of the project.”
Hancock went on to say “while I can appreciate the intentions of Little Warriors, and indeed we share the same goals of providing the best supports for victims of child sexual abuse, government cannot shift resources from current services for victims nor can we provide new funding without evidence that Little Warriors has a viable and sustainable plan for the Be Brave Ranch.”
In the meantime, Albertans have been speaking out, pushing for a meeting between Little Warriors and the province. Last week a YouTube video made by a young sexual abuse survivor went viral.
“Videos, letters, speak out on twitter, social media… they will not stop until the government funds this facility,” Meldrum said.
And it seems as though the persistence has paid off; Little Warriors has scheduled a meeting with Hancock.
“We finally got that on Friday. So he’s coming to our office September 10th and our board will be presenting the plan and the model to him,” Meldrum said. “We’re really, really happy that we’ve gotten that meeting.”
She says it’s the first step in exciting times to come for the ranch.
“We will be making a few major announcements within the next 30 days,” she teased. “Great announcements, very exciting announcements.”
“I’m hopeful now,” she added with a smile.
Forty acres of land have been secured in rural central Alberta for the Be Brave Ranch.
With files from Jenna Bridges, Global News.