Southern Alberta families will be gaining more $25-per-day Early Learning and Child Care Centres.
Three new and 10 existing facilities are being considered for funding, the province’s children’s services minister reported Thursday.
Danielle Larivee, speaking to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, said her next goal is to have 100 centres in operation later this year. A $45-million grant from the federal government will underwrite the costs of expanding the pilot project launched last year.
British Columbia’s government is about to launch a subsidized system as well, she said — years after Quebec introduced a universal child-care program, allowing women to rejoin its workforce.
While some opposition politicians still believe a woman’s place is in the home, Larivee said today’s reality is that families need two incomes to pay their bills and offer their children a good start in life.
Finding good-quality daycare can be difficult, the minister said. With so many unlicensed daycares still operating, her department officials don’t know how many spaces are currently available — or how many more are needed.
But when centres meet licensing requirements, she added, the families they serve may qualify for the same financial assistance as those with children in the province’s initial 22 ELCC centres.
Larivee said the first of those in Lethbridge, the Opokaa’sin centre on Stafford Drive North, is among those that open long hours to accommodate parents whose jobs start early or run late. For low-income families, she added, the $25 fee may be waived.
Local youth take a stand
Youth gathered at the Galt Museum Feb. 21 to share a united message — “ I Stand Against — Mental Health Stigmas.”
The “I Stand Against” (ISA) campaign started five years ago by the Boys and Girls Club of Lethbridge. Initially, it was a simple social media campaign but has grown into a much larger event.
Three years ago they decided to incorporate various agencies throughout the city and transformed ISA into a youth service fair which tackles a new issue annually.
Past topics include LGBTQ+ and racial and cultural discrimination.
On Wednesday night, they tackled the theme for Mental Health Stigmas and drew a crowd in the hundreds. Youth had the opportunity to speak with representatives from local organizations, hear from their peers and participate in various forms of therapy, such as art therapy, yoga and pet therapy.
“Mental health stigmas create a very big barrier in youth and all members of our community,” said Adam Saley, youth services director, Boys and Girls Club of Lethbridge & District.
“I think a lot of youth are scared to talk about these issues just because of what they see as stigmas portrayed in the media of how mental health looks,” said Saley.
While a mental health disorder or illness may be portrayed in a certain light, it doesn’t mean that’s the way it affects everyone.
In fact, many people have misconceptions on mental health that are completely false.
5th on 5th campaign launched
A local youth organization kicked off its annual fundraising campaign on Thursday.
5th on 5th Youth Services launched its 22nd annual Investing in Youth campaign during a media event at Heritage Hall. The theme for the event is “Building Bright Futures,” referring to the programming available to support young people in fulfilling their goals for accessing meaningful employment.
“Our main funding is through the Government of Canada,” said Trevor Brown, executive director for 5th on 5th Youth Services. “And we need to be able to offset the costs of the programs to keep all our programs for free to youth.”
The goal of this year’s campaign is to raise $30,000. To date, the Investing in Youth campaign has raised more than $700,000 for projects supporting young people.
The four major 5th on 5th Youth Services programs include: Forward Life Impact, which works with individuals with different barriers to employment; Work Experience, which connects individuals with a trade or area of interest in their vicinity; the Reach Up program, which works with individuals who have self-disclosed disabilities; and Career Focus, which helps young people connect to an employer in their field of study.
An Olympic experience
Sarah Orban just returned from her first Olympics.
The next time she goes to the Games, she hopes to compete for a medal.
The 22-year-old University of Lethbridge student athlete was in South Korea last week to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang as a spectator. But the trip was also part of her involvement with Training Ground, a Canadian Olympic Committee and RBC initiative to bring undiscovered athletes into Canada’s Olympic talent pool.
Orban was at the Games for five days and was able to attend slopestyle snowboarding, figure skating, moguls, curling and hockey with representatives from CBC and RBC.
“We woke up at six in the morning, we were out of the hotel by eight o’clock and we didn’t get back until 12:30 at night,” she told The Herald after her 11-hour flight home earlier last week.
“They were full days. Going into it, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it was going to amazing and a super cool experience. But it’s still kind of hard to digest what it’s actually going to be like. It was kind of surreal. It’s amazing how many people you see from different countries coming to support the athletes.”
Orban shared the experience and travelled with four other RBC Training Ground winners from across Canada. In addition to the events, they took traditional Korean cooking classes, and had dinner with three RBC Olympians, including figure skater Patrick Chan and Mikael Kingsbury, who won gold in men’s moguls.
New paramedic service coming
Lethbridge will soon have three new community paramedics on patrol in the city, but they will not be contracted through the City of Lethbridge.
Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne announced Feb. 20 the expansion of the existing community paramedic program for the first time outside of the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Lethbridge is slated to receive the service by May.
“The program actually started in Calgary in 2012 and then in Edmonton in 2014,” explained Dale Weiss, executive director of north sector EMS operations for Alberta Health Services, whose role includes overseeing the community paramedic program.
“This is about expanding to the rest of the province, especially around an approach to continuing care. In Lethbridge, we are going to have three community paramedic units. Those are one paramedic each in an SUV. That SUV is equipped with advanced care and assessment tools that a paramedic would use to assess somebody in their home.”
The community paramedics would respond to a request for medical intervention in a non-life-threatening situation where a senior, or someone with chronic illness, could not leave his or her home easily to seek out treatment for such things as minor wounds, infections or for precautionary assessment.
“It has worked extremely well for the patients,” said Weiss. “Especially those senior populations that have difficulties getting out and gaining access, at times, to the health-care system.”
The community paramedics would be requested by other seniors’ care and long-term support service providers such as homecare workers, and would work closely with a physician to make a correct determination on course of care.