Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Cen­tre finds new home

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY [email protected]

The pro­gram man­ager of the Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Cen­tre in Happy Val­leyGoose Bay is de­lighted that the cen­tre has found a new home in the com­mu­nity.

The cen­tre closed its doors at 38 Gren­fell Street in Septem­ber when mould was dis­cov­ered in the build­ing.

The move to the new lo­ca­tion (49 B and C Gren­fell Street) in Oc­to­ber means the cen­tre can of­fer many of the pro­grams it had pre­vi­ously of­fered.

The cen­tre serves Indige­nous chil­dren (Innu, Metis and Inuit fam­i­lies) from birth to six years. The chil­dren at­tend the pro­grams along with their par­ent or care­giver, Goudie said.

The cen­tre also of­fers a school readi­ness pro­gram for the chil­dren who will be start­ing Kinder­garten the fol­low­ing year, Goudie said.

Un­like the other pro­grams, the chil­dren at­tend the school readi­ness pro­gram on their own.

A drop-in pro­gram is also held ev­ery Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

“Any per­son who does not have a reg­is­tered spot in our pro­grams can al­ways uti­lize the drop-in pro­gram which re­quires no reg­is­tra­tion,” Goudie ex­plained.

Goudie added the cen­tre also of­fers a dad’s pro­gram which en­cour­ages fa­thers to get in­volved with their chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We have an Inuit cul­tural worker on staff and she has an Inuit cul­tural pro­gram which in­cludes drum danc­ing and Inuit songs. She holds three Inuit fam­ily nights a year. She also of­fers an Inuk­ti­tut course to par­ents,” Goudie said.

The cen­tre also dis­trib­utes Baby Boxes through its Healthy Baby Club.

While staff and fam­i­lies will miss the gym at the cen­tre’s pre­vi­ous lo­ca­tion, Goudie said, slid­ing, snow­shoe­ing and other out­door ac­tiv­i­ties are planned for the chil­dren.

Great pro­gram, says par­ent

Perry and Kayla Leth­bridge’s daugh­ter Te­gan at­tended the Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Cen­tre from age three months to just shy of her fifth birth­day.

Te­gan par­tic­i­pated in free play, learn­ing and shar­ing cir­cles, healthy snacks, gym time, craft time and read­ing time.

“At a very young age Te­gan be­gan to re­fer to the Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Cen­tre as her school and her favourite day of the week was the day she got to at­tend school,” said her mom, via a Face­book Mes­sen­ger in­ter­view.

Te­gan be­gan the cen­tre’s school readi­ness pro­gram in Septem­ber, 2017.

“While she still con­tin­ued to at­tend reg­u­lar pro­gram­ming with her won­der­ful care­giver, she at­tended the cen­tre ev­ery Tues­day and ev­ery sec­ond Mon­day for the school readi­ness pro­gram,” Leth­bridge said.

Leth­bridge re­called her daugh­ter’s ex­cite­ment and ner­vous­ness on the first day while they both stood out­side wait­ing for the bus to pick her up.

“By the end of her first day, all ner­vous­ness was gone and she couldn’t wait to go back the fol­low­ing week.”

Dur­ing the course of the year, Leth­bridge said, her daugh­ter was im­mersed in a rou­tine sim­i­lar to the school en­vi­ron­ment and was pro­vided with many won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ences.

“By the end of the year Te­gan had learned to play the Inuit Drum, some songs in Inuk­ti­tut and could count to 10 in Inuk­ti­tut.”

She also got to go snow­shoe­ing, visit to the li­brary and play Inuit Drums at the lo­cal high school.

The pro­gram, which helped Te­gan prepar for Kinder­garten, ended with a grad­u­a­tion/cel­e­bra­tion for the chil­dren where they proudly showed their par­ents, grand­par­ents and care­givers the drum­ming and Inuk­ti­tut songs that they learned through­out the year, Leth­bridge said.

“Te­gan will have many ed­u­ca­tors along the way but we will for­ever re­mem­ber and will be for­ever grate­ful that her learn­ing jour­ney started with the Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Cen­tre and their ex­cep­tional staff,” Leth­bridge said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the cen­tre phone (709) 896-4398.


Avery El­liott (left) and Te­gan Leth­bridge prac­tic­ing their drum­ming dur­ing the Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Cen­tre’s pro­gram­ming in the Spring of 2018.


Anna Goudie is the man­ager of the Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Cen­tre pro­gram in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay.

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