Community outreach program benefits B.C. families

Little Badgers Early Learning Program plans to re-open with a tier system for essential workers and others, starting July 2

The desire to continue teaching and reinforce Ktunaxa culture for children and their families during the COVID-19 crisis has inspired staff at Little Badgers Early Learning Program (LBELP) to create an outreach program through the Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Centre Society (EJLCCS).

The LBELP, located on the Akisqnuk First Nation lands, caters to children from 18 months old up to five years old, as well as offering an after-school program up to the age of 12.

“I had to lay off all the teachers until we reopen,” said Carrie Rickards, general manager of the EJLCCS, while praising a new initiative her team has orchestrated.

After being laid off from work as an early childhood educator at LBELP when daycares across the province were shuttered in mid-March, Evelyn Walker used her time off to design and distribute activities to families with the support of the EJLCCS.

“Teacher Evy started talking about putting together the kits with her free time,” Rickards said. “We have funding through Aboriginal Head Start (program) on the reserves, so that’s helped to keep the kids interested and learning.”

Walker, who is known to the children in her classroom as “Teacher Evy,” has created an instructional YouTube channel for families to watch, while assembling early years learning activities aimed at improving developmental skills.

“When COVID hit, Evy came up with the idea and she started doing kits for all of our families,” said Rickards. “The first one was a bird feeder, so the kids could assemble bird feeders with their families and paint them. Then she put a laminated sheet in there with English and Ktunaxa languages, so (families) could tally certain birds when they’re out for a walk.”

With a total of four early years activity kits successfully hand-delivered to Columbia Valley families from LBELP, popularity for the outreach program has continued to grow on a provincial scale.

The BC Aboriginal Child Care Society has begun circulating the activity kits provincially.

In addition to being a good cause with roots at a non-profit organization, delivering activity kits to families from the community is serving as a wellness check to ensure everyone is safe, happy and healthy.

“We’ve decided to start making kits for anybody who wants to buy them and keep kids learning throughout this uncertain time. It’s grown (in popularity) a lot,” Rickards said. “We would like to start doing more kits, and have them in stock because we don’t know how long (COVID-19) is here to stay. We just want to be here to support our families.”

Debra Fisher, the Columbia Valley Métis Association (CVMA) president and EJLCCS board member, has raised awareness about the activity kits to the chartered Métis communities in the East Kootenay region.

“I mentioned it at a meeting and there were three people (who) jumped on it right away,” Fisher told the Pioneer, adding the initiative will be shared with the Métis Nation of BC when the first batch of kits has been assembled.

The proceeds from any of the purchased early learning activity kits will be utilized as part of a fundraising initiative to help the Akisqnuk First Nation community improve the playground infrastructure and nature area for children attending the LBELP.

To purchase a kit for your children, please contact Little.Badger.Windermere@gmail.com or phone them at 250-342-6331.

Education

Just Posted

Invermere gets new CAO

Invermere found his new CAO after a long period of research.

Radium council discusses short term rentals

RHS council are elaborating the second draft plan for STR

Beautification process begins in Canal Flats downtown

Canal Flats wants to improve the esthetic of the town

More consultation on LWRL to come this fall

Invermere council meeting discussed about the Athlamer neighbourhood plan

Local advocates for CBT climate change priority

Tracy Flynn ask the local government for action on climate change

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Most Read