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Fort Macleod Kids First shares story with town council

Baby and Me program

Jocelyn Bieniewski an her daughter Hannah taking part in the Baby and Me program offered at Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre.

One of the duties of a new town council is to become more familiar with the community’s organizations.
Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre director Trish Hoskin appeared as a delegation at the Nov. 14 council meeting.
“I just wanted to come and introduce myself and our organization to you,” Hoskin said.
Hoskin, who just completed a four-year term on council, provided a brief history of Kids First.
The organization was established about 17 years ago as a school breakfast program.
Volunteers who realized many children in Fort Macleod were going to school hungry, which contributes to behavioural and learning problems, created a universal breakfast program.
Hoskin explained that opening the breakfast program to all children removed any stigma that might be associated with accepting the free food.
Kids First, which was formally established under that name in 2009, continued to evolve and grow over the years.
Just over a year ago Kids First opened a new family centre built adjacent to W.A. Day school.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful community facility,” Hoskin said. “It’s given us a chance to raise our profile in the community.”
Hoskin told council Kids First, which is a Parent Link Centre, operates under four pillars:
• Early childhood education.
• Supporting families.
• Information and referrals.
• Food security.
Kids First now offers 39 programs and employs 5.5 full-time equivalent staff members.
Programs include Stay ‘N Play, Wiggles and Giggles, Parent Cafe, Baby ‘N Me, Dadurday, Me and My Food, and Under 8 Play and Skate.
Kids First offers support for families through its First Nations Outreach, Every Parents Group, Triple P Parenting, Ages and Stages Developmental Checkups, Stories from Around the World, Skate and Helmet Lending, Recreation/Arts Subsidy, School Breakfast, Taste Buds, Now We’re Cookin’, Thrifty Kitchen, Good Food Box, Community Play Date, Back to School Connect, Blackfoot Fair and Secret Santa programs.
Kids First has been invited to present at conferences to share its success story.
“We’re doing something that other communities aren’t doing, and we’re very proud of that,” Hoskin said.
Hoskin extended an invitation to council members to visit the family centre.
“I do want to see you out,” Hoskin said. “I would love to show you around our building.”

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