WEYBURN – Holy Family RCSSD #140 and The Family Place jointly announced the development of the Weyburn Early Years Family Resource Centre.
This community centre focuses on all families with young children to provide free, flexible programming that builds relationships between caregivers and children. The four pillars of Early Years Family Resources Centres are early learning, parenting education, family wellness and support, and information and referrals.
“The Family Place is extremely excited for this next chapter of growing our organization to continue our mission: To improve the quality of life for children and families,” said Dawn Gutzke, Executive Director, The Family Place.
“This partnership will help grow and compliment existing programming and services of The Family Place. This growth offers us the opportunity for more training, building networks and offering more supports to families to help raise healthy children.”
She added in an interview that this announcement was “perfect timing” for the Family Place, as they are preparing to renovate and expand their new facility home over the next year.
The resource centre programming will begin right away at their current location on Fourth Street, said Gutzke, and the addition and renovations to their new location will begin in mid to late summer, with a view to moving there in a year’s time. The new location is the former Dance Zone building on McLelland Street just off Fifth Avenue North.
“The Family Place will remain the Family Place. This is going to help us to grow with more opportunities for training of staff, and building staff with our programs and a community partnership,” said Gutzke, noting Holy Family is the accountable partner for the Education Ministry.
This is one of three resource centres announced in Saskatchewan, with the other two in Lloydminster and Swift Current. The total allocation for these centres is $645,000 in start-up funding, with $215,000 going to each centre. The school divisions in each community will be responsible for leading a community planning team that will develop the local centres.
Gutzke noted this funding will help the Family Place with the renovations needed to get their new facility ready for moving in next year.
“It’s going to be amazing, and it’s perfect timing for us as this will help us with some of the things we weren’t going to be able to do otherwise,” she added.
“It’s a united partnership with Holy Family and we’re really excited to partner with them. Holy Family is really supportive of our current programming,” said Gutzke.
“Holy Family is delighted to be the accountable partner in a shared community service in Weyburn. This partnership will welcome all families with children from the prenatal stage to age five to a warm, welcoming community setting that supports early childhood growth and development in southeast Saskatchewan,” said Gwen Keith, Director, Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division.
“Holy Family looks forward to working with community partners to make this service a reality.”
Terry Jordens, superintendent of student services and assessments for Holy Family, said the signing of agreements with the Family Place will take place very shortly, and the school division will be inviting community partners to join with the community planning board to have input to the resource centre.
The centre will focus on providing parenting programs, family wellness as well as providing any referrals a family might need for services or assistance, such as speech language therapy, said Jordens.
“We’re just really excited for this partnership. We know they have a great reputation in the community, and it’s going to benefit young families in Weyburn as we’re able to enhance what programs can be offered,” added Jordens.
"When Saskatchewan families succeed, the entire province benefits," Education Minister and Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan said. "Early Years Family Resource Centres offer families with young children up to five a variety of early learning resources, services and supports to improve developmental needs and school readiness. These centres have attracted thousands of families from across the province and the government remains committed to expanding this important resource."
There are currently 12 Family Resource Centres in Saskatchewan, and once these three new centres are developed in Lloydminster, Swift Current, and Weyburn, Saskatchewan will have a total of 15 centres.