Each day children, youth and families in the South Cariboo are helped to become stronger and healthier through the work of the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre (CFEC).
The following words from Sean Watson, father of five and Canada Safeway 100 Mile House store manager, were read at the June 19 annual general meeting.
“Good afternoon everyone and please accept my sincere apologies for not being here in person. When I was asked if I would be willing to speak at your AGM as a community partner and huge supporter of CFEC I was truly honoured.
“I have been actively involved as a community partner with the CFEC in 100 Mile House since the first week landing in 100 Mile in late 2010. I have five young children of my own and my wife and I have used the family enrichment centres in all the communities we have lived in.
“All centres have been great with resources and support, but I am one of the largest cheerleaders for our Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre as the staff is the best I have ever dealt with.
“What makes them the best in my eyes, you may ask? As a community partner, first and foremost, the entire centre staff, administration and board shares the same values in wanting to provide the highest levels of support, activities and resources to the families and communities in the South Cariboo. They emulate this in everything they do within the community.
“This has been shown through community events, community resources and through getting out there and improving the lives of the children and families in the area. The support and recognition they offer to early child-care providers, ensuring there is enough after-school care for each of our areas is amazing. “Their focus on providing a resource and a caring ear to parents and families in need of help, guidance or a person just to let them know they are not alone in the challenge we call life – I believe they do all this not because it is their job, but because they care about their community and the people within that community.
“The positive attitude starts from the minute you walk through their doors and it never lets up whether it is giving information, leading Wiggles and Shakes (a personal favourite in my house), providing a resource, leading a support group, it is all real all the time and you all do an amazing job.
“As a father of five and a business person, I understand the balance between family and work has never been more challenging than what it is today, I can tell you the resource the CFEC provides to my community is priceless.
“Miss Erica [Henderson] and Miss Nicole [Arnold] were two names I started hearing every Tuesday night before I tucked my three youngest into bed, as Wednesday in 100 Mile was Tumble Time day (Now Wiggles and Shakes). On days when we could not make it, I was met by tears and three disappointed kids as they couldn’t come shake their bean bags.
“One day, I was with my four-year-old and she said, ‘Dad look there is Miss Erica’. I looked over and Erica was walking with a new mother and talking. Can you imagine a South Cariboo without this resource? I know I can’t; Erica may have been offering support, a listening ear or she may have just wanted to get out and enjoy some sunshine. But either way she is out their connecting with her community.
“Lisa [De Paoli] and Sheila [Glen] you have an amazing staff and you have done an amazing job in building a fundamental resource within your community. You should be very proud of yourselves and your team. You all make the South Cariboo a better place for families to live and children to grow.
“To the early child-care providers who may be in attendance, you all are unsung heroes and I applaud you for having the courage to make a difference one child at a time. You all are amazing individuals and it is my honour to be able to share my words with you today.
“Thank you all for that you do, and if we had a president, I vote for the CFEC for president.”