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Fort Macleod praised for caring about children

Johnny Rains performed Saturday at the Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre fund-raiser.

Johnny Rains performed Saturday at the Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre fund-raiser.

A fund-raiser Saturday night at the community hall was music to the ears of supporters of Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre.
Kids First earned strong praise from a well-known neuroscientist for its efforts to build a family centre at W.A. Day school.
“It’s clear to me that this is a community that cares about its children,” Dr. Robbin Gibb from the University of Lethbridge said.
Kids First is raising $2-million to build the new family centre as part of the modernization of W.A. Day school that is under way.
The family centre will allow Kids First to unite all its programs under one roof and provide space for a community kitchen, meeting room, offices and gross motor room.
“This is a community in Alberta that has really made children its first choice and I think that’s very exciting because you do not see that in all the communities across southern Alberta,” Dr. Gibb said.
Dr. Gibb said that after the Second World War the World Health Organization commissioned research into why so many teenagers were becoming problematic in England.
“These children did not have healthy family relationships because of the disruption of the war,” Dr. Gibb said. “When they didn’t have their family their mothers, their fathers near them they didn’t have the kind of structure that children need to develop a healthy, sturdy brain.”
“Because of that they resorted to crime and other kinds of activities that were disruptive to society as a way to make their way through life.”
Further research supported those findings and the need for positive experiences and support for young children to foster brain development
“We know the critical period of developing a brain is very early in life,” Dr. Gibb said. “It doesn’t mean that it stops just there. There is another period of opportunity in adolescence when the brain is open for business again as its starting to rewire again to become adult.”
The most important years are from birth to age five when the family centre will provide healthy, positive programming for families.
“I think it’s really exciting to understand that we can have a very positive impact on our children from a very early age,” Dr. Gibb said. “That impact can sustain their development through their teenage years. It will show through their success in school, it will show in their success in life.”
The family centre will help parents have that positive impact.
Raymond is seeing an influx of families with young children attracted to the town by the town’s parent centre.
That same thing could happen in Fort Macleod when the family centre opens.
“You may have a lot of people moving to Fort Macleod just so they can have that association,” Dr. Gibb said.
The family centre will benefit Fort Macleod as a whole by helping to create children who do well in school, stay out of trouble, have better physical health and are more creative.
“Supporting families and children in the community is the best investment you can ever have,” Dr. Gibb said.
About 80 people turned out for the evening of music at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall and others who had other obligations came by to make donations.
Performers on Saturday night included Juno Award nominee John Wort Hannam, Maureen Chambers, Will Big Bull, Armond Duck Chief and the Johnny Rains Band.
Raffle prizes included a construction trailer, Lethbridge Hurricanes tickets, Cirque de Soleil tickets, golf package, wine basket and golf bag.
“We’re very excited to build a structure together that is going to support the work we do for our children and families in our community,” said W.A. Day school principal Richard Feller, who was master of ceremonies on Saturday.
Feller said the partnership between Kids First and Livingstone Range School Division speaks to the trust that people have in each other, and their dedication to the community.

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