The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) recently announced funding for social projects across the Kootenay Region,including several here in the Columbia Valley, many of them early childhood education and day care initiatives.
The Trust gave out more than $1 million in funding through the fall intake of its Social Grants program, and announced the 28 successful applicant projects on Tuesday, December 6th.
Among the successful local groups were the Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society in Windermere, the Invermere-based Windermere Valley Child Care Society, the valley’s Family Dynamix Association, and theHospice Society of the Columbia Valley.
“We are committed to improving the social well-being of Basin residents, and our grant program works with the social sector that brings about these positive changes. It’s really quite remarkable the work that these groupst ake on and how it contributes to the health of all of our communities,” said CBT social initiatives manager Liz Gillis in a press release accompanying the announcement.
The Trust will give $63,700 to the Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society to help establish its pilot Entry toEarly Childhood Education program. The 15-week program will help 12 students prepare for their EarlyChildhood Educator Assistant certificate, and will combine provincial Child Care Occupational Standards with Akisqnuk Frist Nation values, beliefs, traditions and teachings.
“This funding support is making it possible for individuals interested in early childhood education and related fields of study to step onto a career path that can enhance their lives and the lives of children and families within the Columbia River Valley,” said Rural Communities Early Childhood Institute lead instructor and ownerKathy Bonell in the release.
“Students who have registered in the program are as excited as we are about this incredible opportunity,” addedLittle Badgers Early Learning Program general manager Carrie Rickards. The Little Badgers program is operated by Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society.
The Family Dynamix Association will be given $49,400 to examine the need for child care in the Columbia Valleyand create a sustainable business plan to access funding and increase child care capacity.
The Windermere Valley Child Care Society will get $30,000 to replace aging and deteriorating playground equipment to create an outdoor space for students who attend the society’s day care centre.
The Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley will get $12,700 to help provide trauma and suicide bereavement training workshops and help establish bereavement support groups.
“We’re deeply grateful to the CBT. Without them, we would not be able to do our bereavement programs. Theyhave been funding us from the start,” Hospice Society executive director Maria Kliavkoff told The Echo, notingthat she will also be giving workshops in trauma and suicide bereavement in Nelson, as well as for local volunteers here in the Columbia Valley.
The society’s bereavement support groups will start again this January, added Ms. Kliavkoff.
The CBT has given out a total of more than $5 million through the social grants program since it started in2012.
For more information about the program, visit www.ourtrust.org/socialgrants.