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Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta awards grant to Fort Macleod Kids First

kids first

Community Foundation vice-president Geri Hecker announces the $50,000 grant in the new family centre.

trish hoskin

Kids First family supports program facilitator Trish Hoskin accepts the cheque from Community Foundation vice-president Geri Hecker. Taking part in the ceremony are Danica Paskal and Caden Vandervalk.

The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta marked its 50th anniversary with a gift to Kids First.
The foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to Fort Macleod Kids First for the new $1.7-million family centre being built at W.A. Day school.
Fort Macleod council learned of the donation at its Jan. 25 meeting at the library.
“In business terms, we are ‘angel investors’ for the common good,” Community Foundation president Dennis Hatt said in a news release.
The 3,200 sq. ft. family centre designed by FWBA Architects of Lethbridge will have multi purpose community rooms a teaching kitchen and meeting spaces.
“Kids First has done an admirable job of serving the community with limited resources and, to date, no real home base,” Hatt added. “We are very pleased to help them with this gift, and even more pleased to know that, with the matching funds, it could be quadrupled in size.
Hatt was referring to the expectation the $50,000 grant will trigger a series of matching funds from other sources that could add another $250,000 to Kids First’s fund-raising.
Kids First volunteer Niesje Vaden Dool said in the news release the Community Foundation’s grant is critical.
“For the first time, we have a tangible home to show people, and a permanent place for people to attend most of our programs,” Vanden Dool said. “That alone is a huge success.”
Vanden Dool added the new family centre will allow Kids First to reach more people in the region.
“Our families come in all shapes and sizes, and we’ve got programming that is already reaching thousands of people,” Vanden Dool said. “We can now reach thousands more.”
Kids First operates more than 15 programs that include parent engagement, parent education, and food sustainability.
Kids First has also partnered with University of Calgary researchers studying how added supports will impact first-time parents.
Kids First also reaches out to parents through informal discussions at a skating event Wednesday mornings at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
“Our staff group is always thinking outside the box to find new families to join our programs,” Vanden Dool said. “They, and our volunteers, have been doing this for more than a decade and it is gratifying to see all that hard work manifest itself in this new facility.”
The family centre is expected to be completed by September 2016 in conjunction with the modernization of W.A. Day school.