Family Centre Provides Free Programs for Young Children

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Photo Cavan Monaghan Township

Incorporated in 2001, the Old Millbrook School Family Centre is a community based, non-profit agency dedicated to the care, nurturing, and well-being of local children and their families.

From Stay ‘n’ Play programs for youngsters and their caregivers, to drop in gym and music programs, the organization provides a variety of free programming designed to stimulate children and give caregivers the opportunity to get together and support each other. Most programs are held at the Old Millbrook School, located at 1 Dufferin Street in Millbrook.

The organization operates with a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of parents, teachers and other local residents who oversee and take an active role in the Centre’s operations.  Funds generated from memberships, private and corporate sources, government grants, fund raising activities, and volunteer hours sustain its activities.

In its fourth year of operation, the Music & Movement program operates at Centennial Place in the main lounge area where residents provide an audience for the antics of the young participants.  A joint venture between Centennial Place and The Old Millbrook School Family Centre, the program is delivered by retired school teachers and includes songs, dances, instruments and fun that will get both young and old moving to the music and enjoying each other’s smiling faces.

The Drop-in Gym program at the Old School also gets the children on their feet on the second Thursday of each month.  Participants use gym equipment such as balls, balance boards, tunnels, and plasma cars to get moving and have some fun in this popular program.

Changes in the provincial Early Years Child program funding has left the organizers concerned about their future, but they are working closely with the City of Peterborough and Peterborough Family Resource Centre to ensure that they access some provincial funding to keep the Family Centre open but have not had confirmation yet.

To operate, the organization raises $6,000 per year with the balance coming from the province, through a variety of fundraising events.  Even this amount can be a challenge as their clients are often squeezed for time and money at this stage in their lives.  Organizers are committed to keeping the free programs operating for Cavan Monaghan’s youngest residents and their families, and expect to have more participation from residents of the new developments as they come on stream.   They believe the centre’s importance will grow as it provides a warm welcome to new young families and provides a connection as they engage with their new community and discover all it has to offer.

The organization is always looking for volunteers to help with ongoing programs or at special events such as Christmas in the Village and the Millbrook Zucchini Festival.   For more information about the Family Centre, contact Sarah Higginson at higginson_sarah@yahoo.ca or visit www.millbrookfamilycentre.com. KG

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