The volunteers with Carman Wellness Connections will be able to continue the non-profit's mission of providing mental health resources, and generating connections and opportunities that contribute to the creation of a community where everyone can flourish, thanks to a $300,000 investment from the Government of Manitoba.

Premier Wab Kinew made the multi-year announcement in Carman Wednesday afternoon. The grassroots group has been singled out for its volunteers helped the community heal after a local mom, her three kids and niece were murdered in February.

"One of the things that really stood out to me, attending the vigil and memorial service and talking to people in the immediate aftermath of this terrible, terrible, senseless tragedy, was the community response," said the Premier, noting these conversations helped him get a sense of the people of Carman and the region. "What really stood out to me is that people could have said, 'you know, that's someone else's family'. They could have said, 'that's not my kin. That's something that doesn't have anything to do with me'. But people in Carman stood up and responded and helped these families as if this was their own. As though these were their own kin, their own kids, their own grandkids. And as the leader of this province, that meant a lot to me to see that. That meant a lot as a testament to the character of the people of Manitoba. That in a town like Carman, people embody the values of, we're there for each other in times of need. We help people to the best of our ability, and we don't let those considerations that might prevent us from helping stand in the way. We just respond and we just step up and do the right thing."

It was through those conversations that the Premier says he kept hearing about Carman Wellness Connections and how it not only responded in the aftermath of this particular tragedy but has been working in the community for the long term. 

"It also became clear that this was largely a grassroots effort, and this was something that people had undertaken from the goodness of their hearts and from the soundness of their minds to do something to help other people living in their own neighborhoods and in their own communities. And that's really admirable," added the Premier. "But when I say it is a volunteer effort, the flip side of that means is that they've been operating without a huge amount of support, when we're talking about the financial resources. When you put those things together, a community and a family that's been rocked by tragedy, a group of helpers who are stepping up in the time of need, through the ups and downs, and a need for resources to continue this good work it's pretty obvious what needs to happen next in my mind. And so, that's why we're very honored to be here to say that our government is going to join you in this effort."

A group shot at the end of the announcement

The $300,000 announced on Wednesday will be spread out over the course of three years, and the Premier hopes the investment will be one that continues the group's work for years to come, offering a whole-picture approach of what it is that helps people to be well in the community.

"This is a model that we know is working for Carman, and the fact that it's one that's been identified by the community, by local political leaders and by the grassroots themselves, I think, to me, is the strongest testament any government could ever hear in finding an organization that's worthy of support."

Kinew also noted that Government's support for Carman Wellness Connections will be maintained in the future, beyond this three-year commitment.  

"The broader longer-term vision is this is important work, and we're going to be here with you shoulder-to-shoulder to ensure that this work can continue on because we see the goodness that it's bringing, and we see the support that it's offering, and we see the help that it's providing. And so, that, in my mind, is something that a government should definitely, definitely invest in."

The premier also announced an additional $20,000 in funding to help the community build a memorial in honour of the victims to remember their lives and stand united against violence. 

As for details of how this memorial will take shape, Kinew explained that will involve collaboration between the affected family members and the community. He noted, there's some really interesting conversations underway and hinted it will likely be something for the kids of Carman to enjoy.

"At the time (of the murders), I think that was one of the big things that we thought of - who's talking to the school kids? Who's talking to the students who are probably wondering what happened? I just really hope there's an opportunity, in memory, for these kids and this family that we lost, to help other kids in the community."