Summer 2017

Child Welfare

Arijana's Message

“Historia est testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita memoriae, magistra vitae et nuntia vetustatis”

~ Latin proverb

From a very young age I learned that history is more than dates, wars, strange names and customs to memorize, but as the above Latin saying says: history is a witness to the times, the light of truth, memory and a teacher of life and the door to wisdom.

As we stand on the Eve of 150 years of our country’s birthday, there is nothing but pride to be felt. At the same time it is an opportunity to reflect on the country that so many call home.

Canada is my adopted country and in the past thirty years she taught me how to be humble yet generous, kind yet strong, loving yet firm. She has shared the vast natural beauty from coast to coast, the never ending spirit of acceptance, and commitment to make this the best place to live. It is my hope that the lessons learned, memories made and the wisdom created in the past 150 years will be the light guiding many generations of Canadians in preserving what Canada stands for.

Wherever you will be on Canada Day, wishing you a safe and happy memories, to make and cherish for years to come.

Happy Canada Day! Cheers!

Arijana

“Coldest Night of the Year” raises close to $70,000 to help the homeless in Renfrew County

By Valeria Moreno, FCSRC Volunteer

A nation-wide homelessness campaign held its first local fundraising effort in Renfrew County on February 25th, and the outcome was more positive than expected. Around $70,000 was raised during the event, far higher than the $40,000 goal set for this first effort in the county. The event allowed participants – either individually or as a part of the 42 teams that were formed – to walk 2,5 or 10 km on prescribed routes in downtown Pembroke to get a hint of what it must feel to be homeless on a cold winter´s night.

The money will go towards helping two initiatives that assist homeless people in need within the county: Safe Shelter for Youth, led by Family and Children Services of Renfrew County, and The Grind Emergency Refuge, an initiative of The Grind Pembroke to support adults.

Safe Shelter for Youth started around 2010 by providing temporary accommodation to young adults from 16 to 21 years of age. The goal of the program is to stabilize youth who are having a rough time in their lives, often with very complex problems. The Grind Emergency Refuge opened for business in December, 2016. The three-bedroom facility offers shelter for up to four nights.

“Homeless clients are under a great deal of stress, so it is critical that they be provided with a protected place to stay while community health and social agencies work with them to find solutions to their issues. Before these programs began, there were no sheltering options for the homeless in Renfrew County other than a bus ticket to Ottawa or other major urban areas”, explained David Studham, chair of the Coldest Night of the Year Steering Committee.

Plans are already underway to hold another walk-a-thon in aid of the homeless next year to help provide more sustainable funding for Safe Shelter for Youth and The Grind Emergency Refuge. While emergency sheltering is now available in Renfrew County for youth and adults, the need for transitional housing for longer periods of time is being recognized as another service gap in the county.

“We are very conscious that short-term accommodations are only part of the solution in helping homeless youth and adults. We need to assess their needs and match them with health and social services available in the community. Longer-term housing, financial stability and other supports will help our clients stabilize their lives so that eventually they can participate as full community members,  said David Studham.  For Michael Dalton, Signs of Safety Project Supervisor of Family and Children Services of Renfrew County, the success of the Coldest Night of the Year event reflects the strength of Renfrew County community members, as they were able to come together to meet and support the needs of people living in their community.  “Youth who are homeless or at risk of being homelessness are particularly vulnerable, so the contribution made by the many volunteers and participants will directly ensure that youth have the opportunity to be supported and sustained in their communities of origin.   This will mean if you are from Renfrew you will be supported in Renfrew”, said Mr. Dalton. “This is significant as we believe that risk of direct harm increases for vulnerable youth who leave Renfrew County in a homeless situation to seek support in larger cities  on our boarders”, he concluded.

Developmental Services

Summer Smiles Campaign aims to send 200 children to summer camps

By Valeria Moreno, FCSRC Volunteer

Family and Children´s Services of Renfrew County (FCSRC)  has officially started this year’s Summer Smile Campaign to fundraise for the Darlene Aikens Memorial Summer Camp Program, to ensure vulnerable kids from the county have the opportunity to enjoy a summer camp.

In 2016 the community raised nearly $30,000 to send 215 children to different camps in the area. This year the goal is to provide the same number of kids or more, the opportunity to develop skills, have fun, socialize and bond with other kids in a safe environment. The fundraising will run until mid-August and individuals, as well as business and social groups are all welcome to contribute.

“The campaign makes it possible for children and teens that otherwise won´t be able to attend a summer camp to have a week experiencing the many benefits these kinds of activities provide: self-esteem building, social interaction and health”, said Donna Sullivan, protection supervisor of ongoing services of FCSRC.

With the fundraising, kids age 8-9 will be sent to day camps, while those from 9 to 16 years old can attend overnight camps. They go to places that specialize in crafts, soccer, canoeing, swimming, equestrian activities or even leadership camps, according to their age and preferences.

“Our goal is to send all the kids that are on the referral list prepared by our social workers to camp.  Some of them have attended the camps on previous years and are looking forward to repeat the experience and reunite with friends”, said Ms. Sullivan.

To learn more about the Summer Smiles Campaign and to donate, contact Taylor MacIntosh, Camp Coordinator, at Taylor.MacIntosh@fcsrenfrew.on.ca or 613-735-6866 ext. 4021.

Ontario Early Years Centre

Preschool program help children to have a good start in Kindergarten

By Valeria Moreno, FCSRC Volunteer

Many families that are currently enrolling their children for their first formal school experience could benefit from the Pembroke´s Ontario Early Years Centre Playful Preschool Program. The free program provides a positive learning experience and prepares children for a great start in Kindergarten.  It is for children who are entering school for the first time in September.

The program offers daily routines that help children to develop social, language, self-help and problem-solving skills.  Support is provided for children to learn self-regulation to ease with the separation from their primary caregiver.  Other activities include name recognition, developing self-help skills, literacy and numeracy skills that are all incorporated into an inquiry, play based learning environment.

“We help them with basic skills like walking down the hallway in a line and using scissors, as well as preparing them to separate from their parents or caregivers for a couple of hours, which can help make the transition to kindergarten easier”, said Stacey Robinson, of the Ontario Early Year Program from Family and Children´s Services of Renfrew County.

The program consists of one session per week for six weeks. There are two Registered Early Childhood Educators in the program and the group size is limited to 10 children. Next sessions available will be schedule in July to start this fall.

To register or make inquiries contact the Ontario Early Years Center at 464 Isabella Street in Pembroke or call 613-735-7575. For more information, visit the website www.earlyyearsrenfrew.ca or check on Facebook Ontario Early Year Centre – Pembroke.

Kumon Math and Reading

Supervised Access Program

Keeping You Informed

Parents and children celebrated Family Day on the ice

By Valeria Moreno, FCSRC Volunteer

Skating, hot dogs, balloons, face painting and even a spontaneous match of hockey set the tone at the Free Ice Skating activity that took place at   Rotary Park.

About 400 hundred people arrived at Rotary Park on Monday, February 20, 2017 to enjoy some free skating and hot dogs on Family Day, organized by Family and Children´s Services of Renfrew County. The activity ran from 1 to 3 pm under a clear sky and a very nice temperature, making it perfect for the children and their parents to enjoy the outdoors together.

One of the families that arrived to the Park were the Campbell family, a couple that just moved from Calgary with their seven children. “It’s our first Family Day in Pembroke, and our first skating as well. We are enjoying this very much, this is such a lovely community”, said Crystal Campbell.

13 year old Alexya Jones also actively participated in the activities. “I like to come every year, as I enjoy skating and talking with new people”, she explained.

Debbie Gervais, executive assistant of Family and Children´s Services of Renfrew County, highlighted the luck on the weather which helped bring so many people to enjoy a little skate with their loved ones. “This is the sixth year we do this event and we are very happy to be able to give back to the community on this important holiday. Many people make this possible and I want to thank all of them, and the staff that volunteer some hours to make this happen”, she said.

The Skating Day was sponsored by Moncion Metro, who donated the hot dogs and Mc Donald’s, who provided drinks.  Volunteers of the Rotary Club were on site cooking up the hot dogs.

Mardi Gras celebration raised more than $6,000 for the I Can Play Too Fund

By Valeria Moreno, FCSRC Volunteer

About a hundred people attended the Mardi Gras gala hosted by Family & Children’s Services of Renfrew County for a second year in a row.  They were dressed in their more colourful outfits, enjoyed delicious Cajun cuisine, cocktails (specially created for the occasion) and danced with the creole music of Ottawa´s Mumbo Jumbo Voodoo Combo.

The event that took place on Saturday, February 4, 2017  at Pembroke’s Royal Canadian Legion doubled the amount of money collected last year, with more than $6,000 that will  directly benefit  the  children in need  in the County.

All money raised will go to the new I Can Play Too Fund, established to help those children that want to pursue sports, art and recreational activities such as hockey, dance and music lessons, along with other hobbies that can contribute to their social and emotional development – helping them to become healthy adults.

“We are very happy with the success of this event, as it will help us to achieve our goal: to have a holistic approach to the well-being of the children and youth that we serve, far more than the basic needs such as food and shelter”, said Arijana Haramincic, executive director of FCSRC.