Love Your Family
I have great admiration for Winston Churchill and many of his expressions. His quotation regarding family may be one of his most renowned: “There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues… are created, strengthened and maintained.” – Winston Churchill
Saskatchewan will celebrate Family Day next Monday. Like Winston Churchill, I am firmly convinced of the importance of family in our society. I was fortunate to grow up in a strong, loving home with extended family nearby. Debbie and I lived in a number of communities as we raised our children, and appreciated the support of our church and the schools our children attended and the gracious neighbours in these communities. Now we take an active role in the lives of our grandchildren as well; spending time with them, attending hockey games, school functions and occasional weekend sleepovers.
As rewarding as these family experiences can be, raising a family is not without challenges. Those challenges may change from generation to generation, but families have always been stronger when they have good supports.
Our government also realizes the importance of family, and continues to provide family support programs. The 2017-20 bilateral agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan helps to ensure that Saskatchewan children get the best start in life. The agreement allocates just over $41 million, over three years, for early learning and child care investments.
A new Family Resource Centre will be opening in Moose Jaw later this spring. The Centre is one of seven announced for communities across the province this past year, bringing the total number of provincially-supported Family Resource Centres to ten. Family Resource Centres offer prevention-oriented programming for parents and young children, providing families with no-cost, positive early learning experiences and opportunities to improve parenting skills.
Since 2007, the Saskatchewan government has allocated funding for 7,116 new licensed child care spaces. To further increase availability and provide parents with more options, the Government of Saskatchewan is encouraging residents to consider operating a licensed child care business in their own home. Supports such as training and workshops, and grant money to help with start-up and food costs, are available to caregivers establishing a licensed home-based child care business.
There are many opportunities around Moose Jaw to do something special to celebrate Family Day. The library will have special Family Fun activities and the Kinsmen Sportsplex pool will have extended hours all week. YARA Centre has free family turf drop-in from noon to 3:00 pm. Wakamow Valley trails are beautiful in all seasons. On February 15, Wakamow Valley will be hosting Winterfest, with wagon rides, crafts and all sorts of family fun. The Scotties Curling Championship will be going on. Our provincial parks provide a lot of winter fun, including free fishing weekend and special winter activities at Buffalo Pound this Saturday afternoon.
I believe investing in our families makes our community more vibrant; and the world a better place. In the wise words of Mother Teresa, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”