Our history

Fifty years of service

The Society for the Involvement of Good Neighbours (SIGN) is celebrating 50 years of service to the Yorkton community this year.

In 1968, Father Paul St. Pierre, Rev. Jack Jones, Rev. William Shank and the Rev. Roland Wood felt there was a need for an organization to reach the community in a way that was beyond what was possible by individual churches.

SIGN first opened its offices on May 1, 1969. To quote from one of the first SIGN newsletters that year, “SIGN hopes to produce the product called Community Unity - a community in which people care about people. So we promote co-operation between churches, service organizations and other agencies throughout the community.”

Some of the services which were originally considered included an Information and drop-in centre, psychological consultant services, a youth hostel, homemakers program and a radio program.


Early Funding

Yorkton churches, as well as some national religious organizations were very involved in the funding for SIGN in the early years. Since 1969, funding for SIGN programs has come from various sources including the Ministry of Social Services, Ministry of Education Early Learning, Ministry of Justice, Saskatchewan Health Authority, SGI, City of Yorkton, area service clubs and business and personal donations.

The first board

The first board of directors consisted of the following, seen in the photo above in this order in the back row from the left, then the front row from the left: Father Len Ratushniak, Bryan Smith, Mike Keaschuk, Al Porter, Rev. Ray Glen; Ernie Quine, Father Paul St. Pierre (Managing Director), Kathy Derworiz (Admin Assistant), Rev. Jack Jones, Rev. Roland Wood.

Early programs

SIGN initiated and pioneered many programs throughout the years.


SIGN Daycare was begun by Phyllis Davidge, spouse of Elton Davidge, the first Executive Director of SIGN. Phyllis was an inspiring woman who was totally dedicated to providing quality care for children. Phyllis was instrumental in beginning the first licensed daycare in Yorkton with a parent operated board. Staff members were Mary Protz, Lil Shanks, Debbie Davis, Joan Adams and Diane Giesbrecht. Among the early board members were Cliff Schebywolok and Cec Shiskin.

Homemaker/Home Nursing Service

SIGN initiated the first comprehensive homecare service in Yorkton in the 1970s. Emma Schappert was a pioneer in the homemaking field. Emma, the founding coordinator for the SIGN Homemaking Program, was largely responsible for the success of the program. In the early years, four services were offered: Home Maintenance, Home Nursing, Homemaker and Meals on Wheels. In 1984, with the development of District Homecare Boards across the province, Homemaker and Meals on Wheels services were transferred to the District Homecare Board. In 1983, the local Rotary Club (under president John Dowie) donated a new car to the Meals on Wheels/Senior Mobility Programs. Among those involved in the early years were Olga Bymak in Home Nursing, Clint Dalshaug with the Homemaker Advisory Board, and Henry Blommaert with Meals on Wheels. Henry was an important part of senior programming at SIGN in the 1970s.

Senior Mobility Program

In the late 1970s it was determined that Yorkton seniors required an individualized transportation service which went beyond what was being offered by the local bus and taxi services. The SIGN Senior Mobility Service was initiated under the guidance of the Senior’s Advisory Committee. Mildred Baldwin played a pivotal role in securing financial support for the service.

Adolescent Group Home

In October 1978, the SIGN Adolescent Group Home was opened. The home was licensed for five adolescents when it opened. Group home parents were Bertha and Victor Mehling. The home remains open today at its Darlington Street location. Supervision is now provided by staff rather than by group home parents.

Social Integration Group Home

This home opened in 1977 as a residential facility for persons with long term mental illnesses. Initially, seven residents were housed in the facility. The facility closed in 1991, and in its place, the Independent Apartment Living program was initiated. The early staff member was Emma Bunzenmeyer.

Independent Apartment Living

SIGN pioneered a creative new approach in living arrangements for people with long term mental illnesses. When SIGN moved to the 29 Livingstone location, there were two bachelor apartments on the premises. This created an opportunity to set up long term mental health clients in a supported independent setting. This was a very new and innovative concept in the 1970s. Joanne Parchman and Liz Vossen were instrumental in setting this up.

And more

In addition to the above notable programs, the following projects were also undertaken by SIGN in earlier years:

  • Native craft operation designed to help the marketing of native craft;
  • Drop-in Centre for outpatients of Mental Health;
  • Radio talk show called SIGN Listens, in which local clergy answered questions and offered advice to callers;
  • Preschool program which served children requiring a specific school readiness program;
  • General counseling program which operated under the auspices of the Saskatchewan Psychological Association;
  • Program which provided volunteers for the delivery of meals in the Meals on Wheels Program;
  • Seniors Drop-in Centre (one of, if not the first, in Saskatchewan);
  • Central information and referral service which maintained a directory of all non-profit and service groups in the community;
  • Secretarial service provided to non-profit groups and to assist those lacking in literacy skills to complete various forms.

Executive Directors

The following have served as Executive Director of SIGN:

  • Father Paul St. Pierre, May 1, 1969
  • J. Elton Davidge, 1971 - 1980
  • Clay Serby, 1980 - 1991
  • Wink Howland, 1991 - 1994
  • Tom Seeley, 1995 - 2009
  • Richard Sevigny, 2009 - 2011
  • Andrew Sedley, 2011 - Present


The following locations have been home to SIGN:

  • Third Avenue North, 1969 - 1970
  • 41 Broadway Street West, 1970 -1978
  • 29 Livingstone Street, 1978 - 1991
  • 83 North Street (former Angus Spice School), 1991 - Present
  • 345 Broadway Street West (former Corona Motor Hotel), 2005 - Present

Operating budgets

Over the years, SIGN has raised and spent the following amounts on programs that benefit our communities:

  • 1970 - $12,940
  • 1997/98 - $1,008,590
  • 2003/04 - $1,531,581
  • 2010/11 - $3,238,620
  • 2013/14 - $4,346,135 
  • 2017/18 - $5,401,864

Over the past 50 years, SIGN has founded or operated a large number and variety of programs to meet the needs of the community.



Counselling Services

Homemaker Service

Information and Referral Service

SIGN Listens (CJGX phone-in talk program)

Advocated for the development of kindergarten in Yorkton


Thrift shop

Leather Craft Project

Drop-in Lounge


Day Care Centre

Christmas Toys & Gifts


Senior Citizen’s Lounge

Community Consultations

Human Relations Training

Social Action (Crosswalk petition)

Renting space to other agencies


Assisted with the creation of the Parkland Legal Assistance Society


Assisting victims of the apartments fire

Meals on Wheels

Consumer Help Office


Good Neighbour of the month

Senior Citizens Good Neighbour Club


Social Integration Group Home


Adolescent Group Home

Odd Job Squad

Yorkton House Dusters


Young Canada Works Project

Support for local Alcoholism Society


PECIP begins

Support for Mental Health Association


Senior Mobility Program

Early Childhood Enrichment

Independent Living Project 


Support for Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Community Restitution Program


Parent Aide family support program


Practicum Student Placement

Trustee Services


Advocacy Services

Family Violence and Sexual Assault Counselling


Placements for Assessment and Evaluation


 J. Elton Davidge Memorial Fund


Vocational Employment Program


Yorkton Nursery School Co-op moved in

Immigrant Women of Saskatchewan moved in

Big Brothers & Sisters of Canada moved in

Personal Growth Workshops


Personal Development/Family Life sessions


Problem Gambling Counselling

Pre-employment Program for single parents

Employment Skills Program


Preschool Playland

Parents Support Program


SIGN Women’s Series


Youth Outreach Project

Development Work on Community Kitchens

Youth Service Canada

The Workline

Opportunities Fund


Parent Education


Career Symposium

Circle Time Program

Acquired Brain Injury Program

Pre-employment Daycare

Work Links

Youth in Care


Literacy Project

KidsFirst Program

Career Circuit

Early Childhood Program


Emergency Stabilization Unit

Families & Schools Together

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Separation & Divorce Seminars


Parent Support - Langenburg


Early Childhood Families & Schools Together

A Christmas Carol


Travelodge donated to SIGN

Pre Employment Program


Caring Closet


Before & After School Program at MC Knoll and Yorkdale


Assisted flood victims by providing housing at SIGN on Broadway


Life Skills Program

Family Preservation Program


SIGN Early Learning Centre


St. Paul’s School Before & After School Program


Triple P Program


Kamsack Family Resource Centre


Family Support expansion - Fort Qu’Appelle area

Triple P expansion - Fort Qu’Appelle area


HIV Outreach Program


Housing Support Program

Walk-In Counselling Program