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Hope Bridges Society will use the sum of $28,577 in donations from casinos from Expressions the Dance Gallery to help people connect through the arts.

On January 18, Hope Bridges Society received the donation from Expressions the Dance Gallery. The dance studio is a local non-profit whose parent organization raised money through fundraisers and casinos.

Due to changes related to dance studios through the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission, the dance studio no longer qualified for non-profit status and decided to donate the funds to another local non-profit. Only non-profits are eligible for charitable gaming licenses in Alberta.

“We were told we had to donate our money from the casino, so then we went out to our membership and asked for ideas of who they would like to donate to, of course I suggested Hope Bridges and it came back from a couple other people too,” Becky Habing of Strathmore Parents Association of Expressions explained.

They submitted their application to the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission for approval and then returned to their membership for a vote, and the members chose Hope Bridges Society as the recipient of the funds.

“I am just happy to give back to the people who have a disability, I’ve grown close to one of the my mom’s (workers) Ryan and he’s part of my family now,” said Katrina Roes, a student at Expressions the Dance Gallery.

Roes also said she was happy that the funds stayed in the community.

Her mom Lori explained that they attend Hope Bridges programs like Sing Your High Note, and drumming circles.

“They see Ryan every day. He’s somebody that my kids know and they love and it’s just nice to be able to add to his programming,” said Lori.

“We feel really honoured and supported by your organization, and determined to be excellent stewards of the money,” said Sheila Konschuh, chairperson for Hope Bridges Society.

“We feel so excited and so honoured and fortunate to be receiving this donation,” she said.

It’s still to early to determine exactly how the funds will be used, but Konschuh said the funds will be dedicated to many activities that help people connect through the arts, including the Upcycing art programs, Sing Your High Note, and other community programming.