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e4c Early Learning Rededication of Lila Lee – Speech by Michelle Spaulding

September 18, 2017

Good Afternoon and Welcome!

It is so wonderful to see so many of our e4c friends, partners, collaborators, colleagues, former parents/children today. My name is Michelle Spaulding and I have been with e4c, working in the Clareview community since 1999. I have been fortunate and blessed with the experience of being in various roles such as family support, leadership and now Community Development. In past 25 years the Clareview Head Start provided programming out of a tenant centre, community schools, and portables and even in the Overlander school gym.

The Lila Lee foundation funded the building of Clareview Head Start and we finally moved into our permanent home in 2002. At this time we had 2 Early Head Start and two Head Start programs. Along with providing programming for children and families, there has been the vision for the Lila Lee building to become a community hub, a place where anyone from the community could come and feel welcomed, find a sense of belonging and connection.

For the most part over the years we have done a fantastic job of building relationships with the community and establishing a very warm, welcoming environment, connecting the community to resources and supports. Staff, Partners and families often refer to the people they meet within the hallways of Lila Lee are like family. Now, that we have moved back into the community we are excited to announce the vision of Lila Lee becoming a community hub come to fruition. How does that happen? By consulting with the community, program participants and through parent advisory committees.

What are our next steps? We listen and respond to what the NE Clareview community is saying. Then what? We need support from volunteers, our program participants, e4c staff and leadership, community residents, local schools and businesses as well as partners and collaborations. It takes all of us demonstrating the values of e4c, compassion, connection, courage and commitment. Today we have some of our partners present who have engaged in conversation, whom also align with our e4c values and mission which is Changing Lives is…growing communities. We have collaborated and formed partnerships to see the development of the Community Hub.

Now, I would have the honour and privilege to make mention of the following partners who have been providing support and services for the past 5 to 20 years+:

AHS-20+ years – provide health screenings for Head Start Children-dental, height, weight and vision, parent education sessions, referrals-staff in-services

CASA-20+ years – provide on-going consultation and support to our staff and families to address children’s mental health-staff in-services

Occupational Therapy-completes assessments in the area of fine and gross motor-sets goals for children’s to strengthen -those areas-staff in-services

Bannerman Community League

Bannerman School

I would also like to make mention and say thank you to our new partners who are also very passionate and collaborative to provide supports and services to the Clareview Community Hub.

The Nyarkenyia Development Foundation of Alberta-Lado Luala ED and team-provides after school programming for children ages 5 to 17-tutoring/homework/sports program-Thursdays 5 to 8-Saturdays 10 to 3

Catholic Social Services-Parenting in two Cultures-Parent Education-Tuesdays

e4c Empower U-Jamie Clements-Financial Literacy-Thursday nights

African Centre-ED-Tesfaye Ayalew, Juliette Auger-Parent Education-Child Development programs

WECAN & IFSSA-Islamic Family Support Services Association-Amina Shaikh-program that falls under the umbrella of food security-idea is to purchase produce for $10 and or halal meat for $15 when there is more money at the beginning of the month-basket then comes in the 3rd Friday of the month when the food cupboard is getting lower-e4c is the first halal depot in Edmonton, 62 baskets for September’s order-open to anyone in community-no income criteria

This is just the start of a new beginning. We are continuing in conversations with Red Road Healing and Norwood Parent Link to provide programming for the Indigenous community. I am going to close with some statements from the Communities United Imitative which e4c has partnered with other agencies. If all of us work together-neighbours, community organizations and local partners-amazing things can happen. By sharing our time, talents and efforts we can build communities where diversity is celebrated, neighbours care for one another and families live healthy, safe and financially secure lives.

I look forward to continued conversations.

Thank you!

Once again, welcome to the grand re-opening of Lila Lee.