For four decades Burnaby Family Life has been an active part of building a better community. Over the years, we’ve worked with other like minded groups and individuals to try to maximize the benefit we collectively offer our community. By coordinating our efforts through the Burnaby Interagency Council, its Planning Committee and the neighbourhood networks of interagency groups in North Burnaby, Metrotown and East Burnaby, we’ve managed to improve services, increase opportunities for marginalized families and establish a more effective and coordinated response for families in need.
Every year our challenge grows, most notably in recent years because of threats to our social safety net and reductions in funding that result in the loss of community-based services, the weakening of our partner organizations and an increase in the devastating social symptoms of a failure to invest in our community: poverty, untreated mental health and addictions, family violence and homelessness.
But even though our challenges grow every year, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that we are able to continue contributing to this community because of the sponsors, donors and volunteers that make it possible for us to meet these challenges head-on… and succeed.
Through our partnerships and with the help of those people and organizations who contribute so much to us, Burnaby Family Life has been a participant and leader in some of this community’s most significant community building initiatives.
Many refugees have spent long periods idle in refugee camps, have been traumatized by war or torture or come from very rural areas in other lands. Traditional settlement services are not equipped to meet their extensive needs. The Step Ahead pilot project, now in its third year of development, is a unique service developed by a consortium of five agencies (Burnaby Family Life, ISSofBC, MOSAIC, SUCCESS and DIVERSEcity) that seeks to address circumstances such as post traumatic stress, loss of loved ones, lack of literacy, lack of cultural understanding, lack of knowledge related to fundamental expectations regarding the way of life in Canadian society, lack of knowledge about what and how to access community based services, lack of affordable opportunities for children and multilingual outreach and practical supports.
Through the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Associations of BC (AMSSA), Burnaby Family Life engages with local businesses and organizations to help make them safe places for people who are new to Canada and may speak little or no English. With a its motto “Respect for All” and a program built on public outreach and education, Safe Harbour is a natural fit for Burnaby Family Life and we’re proud to be a part of this initiative.
For four years, Burnaby Family Life has been participating in the Burnaby Intercultural Planning Table (BIPT) to enhance community interagency collaboration and coordinate the pursuit of funding and the sharing of best practices. Creating engagement opportunities for the whole community, our participation in BIPT creates better sources of information and resources, increases awareness of existing information and resources and helps to identify and resolve gaps in services for people who are new to Canada. For more information on BIPT please visit their website at www.bipt.ca/
Burnaby Family Life completed its service as the host agency responsible for managing this three-year project from the Federal Government to research and co-ordinate services for children aged six and under. This project resulted in the creation of the 2009-2012 Burnaby Early Childhood Development Community Strategic Action Plan. In addition, the project developed an array of family-friendly communication products designed to raise awareness about the importance of attachment and bonding between young children and their caregivers. I want to extend my thanks to the dozens of community partners that helped make this project a success.
Once again, Burnaby Family Life is proud to be the host agency for the Fraser North CAPC Coalition comprising ten major service agencies from Vancouver to Mission. As the host agency, we provide financial management, report to the Public Health Agency of Canada and engage the services of a contracted Coordinator/Evaluator to oversee the programs. Goals of the program include helping parents and caregivers to increase their knowledge and use of effective parenting skills, use of community resources and to improve the level of support available to families in their community.
African Homework Club
Funded by the United Way, the program supports children’s education and integration into the Canadian school system by focusing on homework help, study skills and self-esteem using traditional African approaches. The program is for elementary school-aged children of African immigrants and ran three times each week during the school year. 25 participants, representing 11 different cultural backgrounds and 12 different languages were served. 13 were female and 12 were male. 28% of the participants arrived in Canada within the last three years.
Violence is Never Acceptable Community Co-ordinating Committee
Burnaby Family Life fully supports the mandate of VINA to increase community co-ordination by all service providers to improve services for families experiencing violence and abuse.