WEYBURN – Weyburn’s Family Place Early Years Family Resource Centre held a grand opening at their new location on McLelland Street on Friday morning.
Officials who cut the ribbon at the grand opening included Family Place executive director Dawn Gutzke; Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan, Crown Investments Corporation Minister; Mayor Marcel Roy; Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division board chair Bruno Tuchscherer, along with the Family Place staff.
“Our big day has finally arrived,” announced Gutzke to kick off the ceremonies, held on the front steps of the new facility, with staff, Family Place board members, school officials and families gathered on the front lawn.
“We all have heard the phrase that it takes a village to raise a child,” she said. “Families come in all shapes and sizes. Every family has its ups and down; every family crosses bridges both big and small, and every family has big moments to celebrate together, and travels down different pathways in life. Every family needs a village.”
The Family Place has existed to help families through all of their challenges, difficulties and development, she added, as they too have had their ups and downs, and are growing.
“Today is a very special day and we need to thank our village,” said Gutzke.
"This is an exciting day as we celebrate the much-anticipated grand opening of the Weyburn Early Years Family Resource Centre," Duncan said, noting that family resource centres began as a pilot program 10 years ago, offering families with small children a central place to access programs and services.
“This is something the Family Place has been doing for decades,” he said. “A couple years ago, when I first became Education Minister, ministry officials came to me and said Weyburn matched the criteria for a family resources centre, and I said to them, I think I know just the place.”
Duncan thanked the board and staff of Holy Family for taking on this new partnership, and thanked the community, “who for decades has supported the Family Place and lifted it up, and have helped them to be and remain the heart of the community. I’ve seen first hand the immeasurable impacts on families and this community, for which I’m forever grateful.”
In his remarks, Mayor Marcel Roy said, “Family Place has been very unique to Weyburn, and we should all be very proud how this has become kind of a template for other communities in the province. We as a city will continue to give you continued support for this place, and we as a community will continue to give you support, because this is such an important part of the community for growing families.”
“This is a momentous occasion for our community. It’s a testament to our commitment to the support and growth of our youngest members, and a reflection of the power of collaboration,” said Tuchscherer. “It’s a space where families can come together to live and grow, and it’s where families can access tools to help them to thrive. It’s a testament to what we can achieve when we come together with a shared purpose, in a collaborative team effort.”
He noted that the Weyburn Early Years Family Resource Centre was developed through a community planning table with many organizations including Holy Family RCSSD as the accountable partner and The Family Place who oversees the day-to-day operations. The 13 agencies involved as stakeholders include the Family Place, Southeast Cornerstone School Division, the City of Weyburn, the Ministries of Health and Social Services, Mental Health, Settlement Workers in Schools and Regional KidsFirst.
“Family: it’s one word, yet has so much meaning. The family is everything. You grow up in a family, then one day you’re raising your own family. It’s the biggest, most exciting and most important job we will ever have to do in our life,” said Gutzke, pointing out it’s okay to fail once in a while and to not always have all the answers. “This is exactly why the Family Place exists … We are a safe place where all families can be loved, welcomed and supported. All they have to do is walk through these front doors, and play and grow and learn with us.”
"The Family Place Weyburn Early Years Resource Centre is extremely excited to grow and expand our services to continue to meet the ever-changing needs of our community as it, too, grows," Gutzke added. "All of us involved in this new venture for Weyburn and area have grown into one big family and are proud to effectively serve our community together.”
The Family Place is still seeking sponsorships to complete the funding for the new facility, with $190,000 raised so far towards their goal of $600,000. This amount is separate from the funds provided for the operations of the centre, including the grant from the province for the Family Resource Centre programs.
Early Years Family Resource Centres support families with children under the age of six by offering free programming, services, parental education, access to professionals and information, all under one roof.
From October 2022 to March 2023, The Family Place Weyburn Early Years Family Resource Centre served over 2,200 adults and children, had 120 visiting professionals offer their expertise to families and had a social media following of over 3,400 people.
In 2022-23, $273,655 in funding was provided to the Holy Family RCSSD for the Weyburn Early Years Family Resource Centre through the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
There are currently 15 fully operational Early Years Family Resource Centres in the province. This past spring, the governments of Saskatchewan and Canada announced $1.3 million in startup funding for the development of six new Early Years Family Resource Centres to bring the total number of Early Years Family Resource Centres to 21.