Seventeen foothills community programs will receive a share of $280,000 from Okotoks Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) this year.

The budget expenditure was approved unanimously by Okotoks town council at their meeting a few weeks ago.

Town of Okotoks Community Wellness Manager Debbie Posey explains that FCSS is an agreement between the province and each municipality aimed at providing preventative social services in the community. She says that FCSS funding is geared towards supporting local organizations that meet the unique needs of each community.

Posey says funding applications are carefully reviewed by the FCSS advisory committee. That process includes discussion, as well as a screening tool that helps members determine whether a program meets the mandate and also whether outcomes are clearly stated and measureable.

She points out that the FCSS advisory committee includes two youth members of the community as well.

"They are quite engaged and they really are very passionate about funding agencies that have an impact in the community," Posey explains. "And they bring that really wonderful youth perspective from the schools, and the high schools in particular, about what the needs of youth are, and what they're seeing in the community."

Some of the groups receiving a share of the funding this year include Big Brothers/Big Sisters for Okotoks mentoring, Wildrose Community Connections for Dad's Central, Literacy for Life for community family literacy projects and Rowan House Society for the Branches Preventative Education and Awareness Program.

Posey says there were three new applicants that also received FCSS funding this year -- Calgary Catholic Immigration Society's Foothills Community Immigrant Services Volunteer Program, Citizens on Patrol Okotoks and Okotoks Meals on Wheels.

"I think we have wonderful agencies and I wish we could fully fund them all," she says. "I think we did the best with what we had this year and we're all really pleased with our decision."

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