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Waypoints raise $65,000 at Dinner Theatre Fundraiser

Thank you so much to Outlaw Films for producing a fun video for The Awesome 80s Prom!

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Waypoints Reopens Unity House and the Compass

Restoration activities have already commenced at Unity House, the Wood Buffalo Region's only Emergency Women's Shelter, and The Compass, a 78-unit affordable housing apartment building in Timberlea. "ServiceMaster, our cleaning and restoration company, has told us they will be able to turn all three, (including a duplex used for programs) of our buildings back over to us by June 30th," said Michele Taylor, Waypoints' Executive Director. "We have some smoke damage in some of our buildings, fridges need to be replaced, roof insulation needs to be replaced and there is a lot of cleaning being done, including floors, walls, all surfaces, ventilation systems and all contents. It is a big job and some of our donated items will have to be replaced," noted Taylor.

Unity House will reopen on July 4th, including their 24-7 domestic violence crisis line, and 24-7 sexual assault and abuse crisis line. The Compass will be fully operational by July 1st. "We were very lucky to have sustained as little damage as we did, and our thoughts are with all of the community members who lost their homes," added Taylor.

For more information contact Michelle Taylor, Executive Director at or call her cell on 780-881-8099


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Important Update from Waypoints (formerly Fort McMurray Family Crisis Society)

Waypoints ceased operations of all its programs and services and closed its doors by 4:00 PM on May 3rd in response to a mandatory evacuation of the downtown and shortly after Timberlea. Those involved ensuring clients at Unity House and Second Stage Housing at the Compass were moved to a safe location and the Housing First clients were able to get transportation to a reception centre. Staff were contacted, notified of the situation and advised to fuel up their vehicles as soon as possible. For Waypoints, along with the rest of the community of Fort McMurray, it was the start of what would become a very different future from what we had been expecting to live.

Fast forward to May 26th and the Waypoints leadership team of Executive Director and Managers have been meeting virtually and through text groups to plan communications, ensure financial obligations are met, insurance claims are started, and prepare for restarting operation. “After making sure that our clients and staff were safe and our buildings were as secure as we could make them, we focussed on communications internally, with our board and funders, as well as with social social profit coordination efforts.” said Michelle Taylor, Executive Director. “With approval from our funders, we continued to pay all but out casual call-in staff throughout this period. Knowing that their income was secure during this time was incredibly important to the well-being of our staff and we thank our funders for seeing how important continued pay would be to the ability to restart operations at the first opportunity and to retaining our staff.” said Taylor.

Currently all three Waypoints buildings are standing and awaiting assessment for smoke and water damage from Waypoints’ insurance adjusters on June 6th. “After the walkthrough, we hope to have a good idea of timelines to get Unity House, the Compass and the Opportunities for Change Centre back open and to relaunch our programs and services for the community. We are tentatively planning to start basic operations by July 4th. This would include the leadership and administration teams working out of the first floor of Unity House.” said Taylor. “As soon as we have tentative dates for reopening Unity House, our two crisis lines and the Compass, we will release them on our website and through social media.” added Taylor. “The staff can’t wait to get back to work!”

Waypoints operates a 36-bad emergency women’s shelter, an Opportunities for Change centre, domestic violence outreach programs and services, sexual assault programs and services, as affordable housing apartment building, Housing First program and Second Stage Housing for women escaping domestic violence. They also operate two crisis lines for the Community.

For more information contact Michelle Taylor, Executive Director at or call her cell on 780-881-8099


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press release in pdf format

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FORT MCMURRAY – February 9, 2016

Dinner Theatre a Hit in Fort McMurray!

Every February Waypoints, (formerly the Family Crisis Society) holds their annual fundraiser to support the operations of its women’s shelter and ten other programs that contribute to the fight against family violence, sexual assault & homelessness. From Chef Michael’s Coast to Coast Kitchen Party to Luv-a-polooza with the Beatles tribute one year and the Rat Pack the next, Waypoints has had a lot of success with their events. But this year was something different.

“We wanted to create a ‘must see’ event for Fort McMurray. Something different, a unique experience that people would be talking about long after the event. This year, we achieved that with ‘Fanny and Manny Tie the Knot, a Delicious Comedy Dinner Theatre’. The idea came from ‘Tony and Tina’s Wedding – Dinner Theatre in Las Vegas’ and grew into purchasing a similar script and partnering with a local theatre company with a passion for the work we do in the community. This company is Theatre; Just Because, helmed by Michelle Thorne and Danna-Rae Evasiuk,” said Michele Taylor, Waypoints’ Executive Director.

From that point, the Waypoints’ team led by Event Coordinator, Jenna Longaphie, along with Theatre; Just Because, went to work to create a night of comedy showcasing our local talent in an immersive experience that would be fun for everyone involved. The Suncor Energey Centre for the Performing Arts proved to be the perfect venue for a dinner theatre and Ristorante Cosa Nostra came on board to put the “delicious” in the dinner.

Both nights sold out weeks ahead of the event. “Silent auction items are still being picked up, but we believe we have made $52,000 for shelter operations.” said Taylor. “In a time of such ecomonic stress, to see this level of support for the women’s shelter is really impressive. This is just one more reason to love this community,” said Board President, Cliff Dimm. “We are excited to continue our partnership with Theatre; Just Because and make a February dinner theatre our signature annual event. Be sure to get your tickets early next year, they are sure to sell out again!,” says Taylor.

For more information please contact Jenna Longaphie at or 587-537-8903 ext 9.

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Community Votes Waypoints as $10K Donation Recipient

Those who visited Syncrude’s booth also learned more about our community investment initiatives, the Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch, and received baby bison droppings (chocolate covered raisins).

The big red bison may have starred at the local Trade Show, but Waypoints stole the show when the community voted it the recipient of a $10,000 donation from Syncrude.

From April 24 to 26 close to 2,000 Fort McMurray Spring Show and Market visitors stopped by Syncrude’s booth to vote for one of four deserving community groups , with Waypoints coming out on top.

“We are grateful to receive this donation. In the last six months we’ve expanded our Second Stage Housing for women and children escaping domestic violence, from four to 13 apartments with an on-site child development centre,” says Michele Taylor, FMFCS Executive Director, who notes the organization assists more than 300 families annually through various programs. “This donation is equivalent to providing a family with seven months of rent subsidy in this Second Stage.”

All four local groups were selected from a long list of organizations where Syncrude employees volunteer. Waypoints, Justin Slade Youth Foundation, Some Other Solutions and the Fort McMurray Swim Club were all in the running.

“To recognize their efforts, Syncrude will make donations to the three remaining non-profits,” says Tara Abraham, Syncrude’s Community Investment Advisor. “We would like to thank each organization for their essential contributions to the community. Another big thank-you goes to the thousands of community members who took the time to vote.”

In 2014, Syncrude contributed more than $6 million from its Community Investment Program to support the communities where our employees work and live.

FORT MCMURRAY - February 18, 2014

Luv-A-Polooza Event was Totally Fab!

The Valentine’s Day fundraising gala hosted by Waypoints was a hit, raising more than $60,000 in net profit to support programming and services for women and children escaping family violence.

Rick and Cathy Kirschner, dressed in their finest ‘flower power’ outfits in keeping with the 60s theme, were the MCs for the evening held at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre, where staff served up a delicious dinner.

Young dancers from Generation Dance delighted the audience with their performances, and the hilarity of the answers during The Newlywed Game kept the audience laughing. Barb and Larry Henstridge, who will have been married 29 years in April, won the game. Organizers turned to the crowd to play judge when it came to deciding the winners by applause of the costume contest.

Members of the Fort McMurray Fire Department Honour Guard were on hand to escort the ladies to their tables as well as sell roses and chocolate boxes to further help with fund-raising efforts. People were also putting pen to paper trying to out bid each other for their favourite buys at the romance-inspired silent auction.

There were a lot of guests singing and dancing all night thanks to The Fab Fourever Beatles tribute band that thoroughly entertained the crowd. “My favorite part of the evening was when the whole room rose up and danced to Twist and Shout to take part in One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. ” said Michele Taylor, FMFCS executive director.

“It was a beautiful and fun event. All the feedback from our guests was enthusiastically positive,” said Taylor. “The food, the games, the band, everything worked out even better than we planned. The evening would not have been the success it was without the generosity of our sponsors and donors. The staff and volunteers also deserve a big thank-you for their efforts in making the event such a success.” Taylor added the event will be back next year so circle Feb. 14, 2015 on those calendars.

For more information contact:

Michele Taylor, FMFCS Executive Director
780-743-4691, ext. 227

Event in pictures...


Clcik here for pictures from other FMFCS events...

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Construction to start this year on emergency shelter

By AIMÉE HARPER, Fort McMurray Today
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 5:36:59 MST PM

Shovels will be in the ground early for the new emergency shelter, Waypoints announced Wednesday.

The shelter, which is part of the FMFCS’s Stop the Hurting, Start the Healing construction project, is due to begin construction sometime in 2014.

“The exciting news is we’re about a year ahead of schedule,” says Michele Taylor, the executive director of the organization.

FMFCS takes in women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, providing them with a safe place to live.

This emergency shelter, which will have 45 bedrooms, will replace the current facility, Unity House, which has 32 beds in nine bedrooms. Due to a lack of space, 229 people were turned away or redirected in 2012-2013. Taylor says they don’t turn them out on the streets, but with this improved facility more women will be able to use their resources.

“We can try to find room for them in one of the other shelters in town but it’s not a women and children or domestic violence shelter so it’s not ideal. Sometimes we have to put them up in hotels or motels. Again that’s not ideal,” Taylor says.

The new emergency shelter will also allow residents to stay for longer — 30 days instead of 21 — “to make it a little easier for people to get on their feet,” she says.

It will include a youth activity room, family play room, and smudge/meditation room to accommodate the First Nation women and children who make up almost a third of those using the shelter.

Acting Deputy Mayor Guy Boutilier represented the municipality and said FMFCS is a worthwhile cause that council is proud to support.

“Protecting those who potentially are vulnerable, protecting young children. That is society’s responsibility,” Boutilier says.

“It’s a (safety) net to help get folks on the road to ultimately a better quality of life and so today, the municipality on behalf of all of council, the almost $2 million that the municipality IS contributing is very important.”

So far FMFCS has raised $30 million for the Stop Hurting, Start Healing project, which also includes a second stage housing shelter and an affordable housing facility, but still have $5 million to go before they reach the total they need.

“We’re launching Suite Sponsorships, which is our naming rights campaign and we’re hoping to get about 45 sponsors to come on for naming rights and then we’ll reach our goal and complete our projects.”

All three facilities are expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Those interested in sponsoring FMFCS are told to contact Tim O’Rourke, the director of communications and fund development, at 780-750-5617.

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Photo: Michele Taylor, executive director of FMFCS. Aimée Harper/Today staff.

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Holiday Tree of Hope raffle winner

Doreen Wells was the lucky winner of a fully decorated Christmas Tree

The $3,500 Holiday Tree of Hope Raffle, delightfully decorated in a rustic theme, which included over $2,700 worth of accessories such as an iPad Air along with some cooking-themed items, was sold at $20 each on November 30 and December 1 at Dunvegan Gardens.

The Christmas tree was donated by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) communications department with $2,140 raised towards operating costs for Waypoints' Unity House, an Emergency Women’s and Children’s Shelter.

Doreen Wells of Fort McMurray was the lucky winner of the top prize as her name was drawn on December 1 at 5 pm at Dunvegan Gardens. Thank you RMWB for your generous support to the FMFCS as well as Dunvegan Gardens for letting us display and sell raffle tickets inside your location.



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A community free of domestic violence and abuse, sexual assault and abuse and homelessness.


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To lead in improving the fundamental safety and health of individuals, families and communities.

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