Support Mental Illness Lives Everyday Society (SMILES) has partnered with the Millet Healthy Community Initiative for the Distancing Diamond Project.
In 2019 the Millet Healthy Community Initiative became successful applicants for funding from Alberta Health Services. Part of the Millet Healthy Community Initiative’s goal is to create environments that support healthy choices in Millet.
The Distancing Diamond Project is the organization’s first initiative.
The Distancing Diamonds will create a community gathering space that allows for proper social distancing. The diamond shaped concrete area features four park benches place two meters apart from one another.
“The benches commemorate this challenging time and symbolize the resiliency of Albertans,” says head of SMILES, Rita-Anne Fuss.
Through the Distancing Diamond projects SMILES and Millet Healthy Community Initiative are trying to create awareness for mental health. The objective is to help people feel comfortable talking about mental health, give residents a place to relax and relieve stress and to show that the Millet community supports mental health.
Part of the Distancing Diamonds Project is incorporating artwork from Millet residents. Forty-eight submissions were received for the artwork contest, and additional prizes are yet to be awarded for the winning poster entries.
The posters will be displayed at the Distant Diamond and will be changed three times a year.
“The artwork is about what brings the artist joy and promotes their health and mental wellbeing, thus inspiring hope for all who see it,” says Fuss. “Once the pandemic ends the space may be utilized for coming together as a community to socialize.”
Visitors of the Distant Diamond will be able to enjoy flowers planted in a self-watering planter by Millet in Bloom during the spring and summer months. There is also a ledge around the planter to place plates or cups on for when the pandemic is over and picnics can safely resume.
Wetaskiwin Ready Mix and Custom Concrete of Wetaskiwin assisted in the creation of the installation as well assistance with the art work posters by WannaSign, Wetaskiwin.
SMILES states their long-term goal is to complete 15 Distancing Diamonds in nine campsites across Wetaskiwin County and six different park and recreations areas of Millet. Businesses across Alberta can sponsor Distancing Diamonds to be built in their communities.
“Social connection is crucial for well-being, and our community encourages adhering to provincial recommendations while providing safe, accessible spaces to connect,” says Fuss.
More information on SMILES and the Distancing Diamond Project can be found on the SMILES Facebook page.