The Tri-Cities Early Childhood Development and Middle Childhood Matters Committees continue to collaborate to help move this Children's Charter of Rights forward in our community. Each month we will spotlight community partners making a difference in children's lives by adopting the Tri-Cities Children's Charter of Rights in their regular work. You can also find resources that will help you adopt the Charter of Rights in your personal and work life.
SPOTLIGHTING RIGHTS CHAMPIONS
The Right to be Respected
The Right to Have a Voice
Westcoast Family Centres Society - Strengthening relationships between children and families
United Way of the Lower Mainland - Acts of Local Love to address children’s rights
Community Snapshot - Moving forward with kids in mind
Westcoast Family Centres Society strengthens relationships between children and families and between families and their communities. We began providing services in 1984 and became known for our work in providing Intensive Parenting Programs to the Vancouver and Fraser Region communities. Having a voice and creating avenues where respect is at the forefront of family interactions is instilled in our programs and services.
Our Family Support Worker team works with vulnerable families to reduce barriers. This includes working with a parent and the entire family to advocate on their behalf in situations where they may not have the opportunities afforded to do this for themselves. We will either step in or coach a parent to self-advocate in various ways, such as at the public school level for extra support needs, at the community level or with pediatricians. Respecting children’s voices is an important part of this process. Where we can, we will assist children to advocate on their own behalf. We also provide communication skills training and coaching within the family whereby a child would be able to transfer skills acquired by parents into their everyday lives.
Within our Child and Youth Care Worker team, we assist 6 to 18 year olds that have extra support needs with life skills such as developing social skills in the community. For example, we will take a child out to an organized activity and provide extra support for engaging in play with other children. We also coach teenagers to interact with staff at a front desk or a cashier in order to get what they need.
Our programs for our younger kids includes Mother Goose and You Make the Difference, where we help parents to observe and listen to their children and respond to them based on their needs. We teach parents how to allow their children to take the lead. We have been running Strong Kids as well, which is a fabulous social skills program for 6 to 12 year olds that teaches kids the skills they need to identify feelings, build friendships, communicate effectively and understand another person’s perspective.
With over 100 employees today, we take pride in being able to afford children their rights through our various programs and our collaboration with other organizations within our community.
The United Way of the Lower Mainland is happy to have partnered with the Tri-Cities’ early years and middle years’ communities to create the Tri-Cities Children’s Charter and Action Plan. We plan to work with communities through our investments, community partnerships and move towards igniting acts of Local Love to address the prioritized rights.
Right to be Respected
United Way of the Lower Mainland upholds the values that everyone (especially children) has the right to be heard and respected when it comes to making their community feel like home. Diversity strengthens our communities. We encourage Schools Out Programs and our community partners to engage children to capture their opinions, their lived experience and to participate in shaping how programs and communities support them.
Right to Learn
United Way Schools Out Programs and its Community Schools Partnerships puts children at the centre to ensure that children have the capacity and opportunity to learn in a supportive environment. Schools Out Programs support children’s rights to have access to quality programs and opportunities that address their developmental needs in safe spaces.
Right to Have Peace and Safety
United Way and its partners identified a crucial gap in supports and services for kids ages 6 to 12 during hours between 3 and 6 pm. Kids who are vulnerable and isolated are at increased risk of bullying, suicide, crime and gang violence. United Way’s School’s Out Programs and Community School Partnerships ensure that children (ages 6 to 12) are safe and protected in the critical after school hours, while participating in activities that support them to reach their full potential.
Right to Have Space for Recreation and Play
Through our Avenues of Change Coquitlam River and #Hi Neighbour program, spaces like Wellington Park have become a place where children enjoy gathering, have a sense of ownership, and participate in the ongoing maintenance to keep this park a safe haven. The United Way recognizes that not all support can happen within the hours of a program. In the coming months, we will continue to inspire acts of Local Love and mobilize residents from a place-based approach to respond to local issues and engage with the community they call home.
Tri-Cities YMCA Child Care Resource & Referral (CCRR)
Among the various services offered to families and child care providers, YMCA CCRR is currently offering assistance to families and agencies with the new Affordable Child Care Benefit that replaced the previous Child Care Subsidy.
Step-by-Step Child Development Society
Step By Step Child Development Society is a non-profit organization offering a variety of programs and services, including a free family resource program and out of school care. The programs are offered to children from 0 to 12 years of age and their families, with a special interest in children who have special needs.
School District 43
Smiling Creek Elementary is SD43’s newest community school, working in partnership with the City of Coquitlam and other partners. The Smiling Creek Activity Centre at the school provides recreation programming during evenings and weekends. As stated on SD43’s website, “Community Schools create centres with diverse and enhanced opportunities, where students, staff, families, residents, agencies and businesses work together to support student learning, building stronger families and communities.”
Beyond the Bell
Beyond the Bell is an after school program running in Port Coquitlam schools. The goal of this program is to offer age-appropriate, easily accessible recreation activities in a caring environment.
Place Maillardville Community Centre
Avenues of Change #HiNeighbour Program
The #HiNeighbour program helps kids thrive by providing an avenue that helps them connect with others in their neighbourhood via community projects and gatherings led by volunteers. The program currently serves Coquitlam River and Burke Mountain residents and is part of the United Way Avenues of Change initiative.
Visit your local library to find out more about the programs they offer that promote the well-being of children and families.
We are fortunate in the Tri-Cities to have parks, nature, recreation and leisure programs with a lot of thought for children and families. Check out the services and programs that keep children a top priority:
Other Community Organizations
Visit Tri-Cities Early Childhood Development Committee’s website to view a calendar of events along with resources and a list of community organizations providing services and programs for you and your kids.
Check out all our Rights in Action newsletters:
How you can adopt the Rights
Find resources such as the Charter of Rights in Farsi, Chinese and Korean, PDFs to promote the Rights, and external links about child rights.