Tuesday, September 25, 2018

At the St. Paul’s Pow Wow: Talking with the Community about the Indigenous Child and Family Centre

Poster for St. Paul's Pow Wow

On Saturday, September 22, staff and directors from Anishnabeg Outreach attended St. Paul’s 15th Annual Pow Wow at Waterloo Park.

We enjoyed traditional drumming and dancing throughout the sunny afternoon and also had the pleasure of speaking with many community members. We were glad to invite young children and their family members to visit our Indigenous Child and Family Centre when it opens later this fall.

Poster promoting child and family centre

We are also grateful that so many individuals offered to donate to the centre and volunteered to help renovate the soon-to-be-opened space.

Poster seeking volunteers

The Anishnabeg Outreach Child and Family Centre will open late October or early November at 236 Woodhaven Road, near Courtland Avenue and Fairway Road in Kitchener.  

The child and family centre will be open to all children 0-6 years and their families for learning and fun in a culturally-dynamic environment. Once the centre opens, families will be welcome to drop in Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

Chart of Indigenous Child and Family Centre hours

The centre is 10 minutes from GRT bus stops:

• Wilson/Fairlawn (2593) on Route 7 Southbound
• Wilson/Woodhaven (2597) on Route 7 Northbound
• Vanier/Siebert (2731/2379) on Route 8

Map of bus stops near the Indigenous Child and Family Centre

We are eager to see you at the Indigenous Child and Family Centre! Check back here for more information about our opening events!

To donate or volunteer to help build Waterloo Region’s first Indigenous Child and Family Centre, email stephen@aocan.org. Thank you!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Family Centre is coming soon!!

Our centre is part of a network of Early Childhood and Family Centres across Ontario. The AO Early Years and Family Centre is part of a proposed innovative hub for Indigenous lead and supported programming that serves First People, as well as the general public living in the Waterloo Region. 
We have partnered with Waterloo Region to deliver our services and we are funded by the province’s Journey Together reconciliation initiative. Learning from the YMCA and other early years partners we are intending to reproduce common best practices while delivering life long learning opportunities and social space for families with a special emphasis on supporting those first few years of life.  We will be focused on providing Indigenous lead and developed programs associated with traditional and land-based wisdoms and skills.  We will be relying on the ongoing guidance of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers to deliver these programs. 

Based on an asset model we are aiming our programming toward building spirit and fostering inclusive community. We are committed to engaging parents, caregivers, families and children to help develop meaningful, and lasting connections.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Soon you can Meet the Child and Family Centre Team

You will soon be able to meet the facilitators of AO's Child and Family Centre!

They will be warm, friendly, fun early childhood educators who can't wait to meet you and spend time with you and your children!

Photo of some members of the AO team: Employment Counsellor Heather Majaury, Family Centre Supervisor Ellie Murphy, and former student Cynthia
The facilitators will join the AO Team, including Employment Counsellor Heather Majaury (left) 
and Family Centre Supervisor Ellie Murphy (centre). Also picture: former student, Cynthia.
We are looking to hire two Indigenous individuals who are passionate about families, community, and Indigenous ways of learning, living, and being. They will plan and facilitate high-quality play and learning experiences that are inclusive and reflective of the diversity within and amongst First Peoples in Waterloo.

The facilitators will join Supervisor Ellie Murphy in creating an amazing place for local Indigenous families to gather, connect, celebrate, and learn together.

Ellie and Executive Director Stephen Jackson will be interviewing candidates in the coming weeks.

Then, the Child and Family Centre staff team will spend time with Elders to deepen their knowledge and ideas for exciting new programs for Indigenous children and family members.

We can’t wait to introduce the facilitators to you!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Waterloo region’s first Indigenous Child and Family Centre

We’re excited to be building Waterloo region’s first Indigenous Child and Family Centre, from the ground up!

We began early in 2018, preparing a proposal for an innovative, Indigenous-led and Indigenous-supported Child and Family Centre. Executive Director Stephen Jackson presented the proposal to the region in March, and we were awarded funding in March.

Just last month, we launched a new website for the wraparound services that we offer Indigenous people and the general public in Waterloo. The Child and Family Centre page will evolve throughout our journey.

Blocks, playhouse, and other toys purchased for the Child and Family Centre

Our collection of toys will keep growing, too!

Meanwhile, we continue our search for the inviting, safe, accessible space that will be home to the AO Child and Family Centre. 
House with family members

Our journey has been supported by the Region of Waterloo and YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo, with whom we continue to collaborate. Recently, we started to build the friendly team that will get to play, learn, and build spirit with children and their family members. Ellie Murphy began as Supervisor in early July, and two facilitators will be hired later this month. The team will be guided by Elders and Knowledge Keepers to create spaces, programs, and services that celebrate Indigenous culture and support healing, wellness, and empowerment.

Our whiteboard is growing as we map out the tasks to be accomplished before launching our child and family centre in late summer or early fall.  

We’ll share the exciting steps in our journey and turn to you for input along the way . . . check this blog regularly or visit our social media pages for updates!

If you’d like to contribute to our journey or learn more about visiting the child and family centre once it is open, please call 519-742-0300 and ask to speak with Ellie or Stephen. 

At the St. Paul’s Pow Wow: Talking with the Community about the Indigenous Child and Family Centre

On Saturday, September 22, staff and directors from Anishnabeg Outreach attended St. Paul’s 15th Annual Pow Wow at Waterloo Park. ...