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Access For All: La Crete FCSS Bridges the Gap for Residents

La Crete Support Services | La Crete, AB

Mary Driedger

Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) promote and enhance the well-being of Albertan families and communities. These organizations receive funding from the Government of Alberta to support preventative social service programs in municipalities and Métis Settlements.

For La Crete Support Services Director Mary Driedger, and her team, daily operations are different than those in other towns and cities throughout the province.

“Our community has very specific challenges in terms of our remote location,” said Driedger. “Because of our demographic, location, and the language most commonly spoken here, needs for support services are unique.”

Driedger has been involved with La Crete Support Services for 21 years. She says their biggest focus is providing a much-needed bridge between their community members and the services offered by various levels of government.

“Most of our community members’ first language is Plautdietsch [Mennonite Low German] and many do not have the knowledge of English needed to fill out government documents,” said Driedger. “This makes it difficult to access government support services and programs our community members need.”

For example, many local seniors need to travel long distances to receive certain medical services. With the language barrier and online paperwork requirements, it can be difficult for them to receive reimbursement for their travel expenses. This is where the support services team steps in to help.

“Many people in our community, including seniors, need extra support when accessing online services and that is a big part of what we do,” said Driedger.

The Support Services team also helps fill out forms, applications and programs like Employment Insurance, Child Tax Benefit, Birth Registries and Passport Canada. They also assist by making calls and faxes on behalf of clients who need help navigating relationships between government agencies.

As government programs and the access to services have changed, the La Crete Support Services has kept up to meet the needs of their community members. There are now four full-time and two part-time employees, and they also help operate the preschool and the custodial service.

The preschool runs four classes per week accommodating a total of 48 children. This in combination with overseeing other programs means the employees and volunteers at La Crete Support Services have a very full schedule.

“We ensure all the follow up is done and our clients are doing all their reporting and getting the necessary documents. It is incredibly time intensive for us, but it always makes a difference,” said Driedger.

Without the efforts of the La Crete Support Services team, community members needing assistance would need to travel a long way. If not for them, it is likely some would just fall through the cracks. Thankfully, most community members know where to find the team at La Crete Support Services when they need them most.

Dylanna and Geneva, La Crete Support Services

“We get referrals from different government agencies, and there’s a certain amount of word-of-mouth referrals, but most people here know who we are and how we can help them,” said Driedger.

Serving the community is the heart of what they do at La Crete Community Services.

Ensuring everyone in the community can access the resources and support they need—despite barriers in location, language and internet access—is what drives Driedger and her team to keep showing up and taking the time to help each person who walks through the door.

“We provide a crucial service for many people. It helps them and their families and improves everyone’s wellbeing,” said Driedger.

La Crete Support Services can be found at 10105 94th Avenue in La Crete from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm (closed for lunch hour). You can call them at

(780) 928-3967 or email

By Kelly Pippin | Photography Submitted

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