It’s a good day in the neighbourhood when more free services become available for kids.
The Early Years Centre of Carrier Sekani Family Services held a grand opening Oct. 24 to introduce an array of new services. Held at the CSFS home location, the exciting day was accompanied by snacks, kids games and a ribbon cutting which included mayor Gerry Thiessen and elder Mini Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation. Each family that attended also got a free book to take home for each child to commemorate the occasion.
“These groups and sponsorships are so important to the community,” said Mayor Gerry Thiessen just before cutting the ribbon to officially open the new Early Years Centre. “When you see our students excel on a national level like Nathan Nunn, it’s so great and it all starts right here.”
The CSFS has helped both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families for more than 10 years as a place to find and access all of the early-years services offered in the District of Vanderhoof. The new Early Years Centre will help to provide even more opportunities for families with children aged 0-6, all of which will enhance the current services already offered, said Dawne Persson, the early childhood development team leader.
“We’re a one stop shop,” said Ms. Persson. “And with these added programs we’re reaching those families that are not able to access our current services because not everyone can afford things like preschool.”
The new Getting Ready for Kindergarten program is geared for children going into kindergarten the following year and will run,
Tuesdays at NeighbourLink, Wednesday at W.L. McLeod and Thursdays at Saik’uz, all from 9:00 am to 11:30 am. The new Gym Time Playgroup will run every Friday from 3:30-4:45 in Sinkut View School gym.
The new Lending Library will allow parents to borrow toys and will be available five days a week, 8:30 – 4:30 at the CSFS building across from the Credit Union in Vanderhoof.
“We have a whole binder parents and children can look through where they can choose a toy and take it home,” said Ms. Persson. “We’re also planning on expanding the lending library to have a separate location in the Glad Tidings Church basement sometime in the new year.”
Some existing and continued services and referrals offered by CSFS include developmental screenings, access to local childcare and preschools, speech therapy, occupational therapy and access to Nechako Community Services.
Tanya Lobelle, owner of lots of tots daycare, loves the idea of the new services.
“We have child resource and referral but as a daycare owner I feel disconnected. It’s been tough for people to find daycare so I’m hoping this will be an avenue where people can find me,” said Ms. Lobelle at the grand opening.
For more information visit www.CSFS.org or visit the Carrier Sekani Family Services 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday.