For 25 years the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre has been a thriving force, offering programs and collaborating with other agencies in the region.
The region is lucky to have the CDC, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said.
“I always brag about all the good work that goes on there,” Barnett told the Tribune, noting she also encouraged executive director Nancy Gale to sit on the Provincial Child Care Council. “It’s the first time someone from rural B.C. has been on it.”
Each year the centre receives provincial gaming funds which cover programs such as horse riding in the summer, swimming in the winter, youth outreach year-round and the Yuletide Dinner and Christmas Wish Breakfast in December.
“We receive $88,000 dollars a year from gaming and have for a number of years,” said Gale.
“It would be tough without it.”
The CDC has a reputation of being innovative, Gale and Barnett said.
“We have an interesting funding model that talks about community connections, with regular benefactors who through small contributions can support us,” Gale said.
The CDC is also a contractor for the Ministry of Child and Family Development, with a $1.3 million contract.
In May 2015, the CDC officially opened an autism centre on site, which was the first of eight spokes of the Pacific Autism Family Centre based in Vancouver.
On average the autism centre is used by 60 children a year, Gale said.
This year the CDC will offer three certificate training sessions through the Pacific Autism Centre for staff and others who work with children that have autism.
Instead of costing thousands of dollars for each per person, it will be about $250 each, thanks to high speed Internet and not having to travel to Vancouver to take the training.
CDC board member Chad Matthies is involved with fundraising and economic development and said the CDC is the charity of choice for the upcoming Williams Lake Beer Club’s beer tasting event on Feb. 18.
“It sold out in 25 minutes,” he said, noting they had 425 tickets that were $75 each. “There are lots of volunteers because it is such a great event. The energy and vibe is just amazing and the craft breweries love coming here because it is so well run.”
Gale said fundraising will go toward paying down some debts and to revamp their 15-year-old outdoor playground by lifting up the rubber-based tiles and repairing them, as well as replacing a large piece of equipment.
“It is used heavily by children living nearby in apartments who don’t have a green space.”
Barnett said she wanted to recognize the CDC for its good work, its amazing board, staff and parents.
“Good stories need to be told,” she added.