LABRADOR WEST, N.L.
Dozens of young people waited eagerly at the Labrador West Child Care centre on Oct. 12 for a special visit.
The young people, along with staff, volunteers, and members of the board of directors of Labrador West Child Care incorporated were assembled to hear some good news from the provincial government.
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Al Hawkins and Labrador West MHA Graham Letto were there to make a funding announcement of approximately $196,000 for the centre.
The centre has received a lot of support from the provincial government as they moved to a new facility last December.
Hawkins and Letto got a big round of applause when those in attendance heard some of the money would be used for outdoor play equipment and buying extra supplies for the classrooms and crafts.
The special guests told everyone they want the young people in Labrador West to have the best support possible and learning environment from the time they enter a place like the Labrador West Child Care centre until they leave school.
During the brief ceremony, Hawkins and Letto fielded questions from the daycare children, often with great insight such as asking if they could have a say in what went in the outdoor play space, and questions about the work they do.
Letto and Hawkins were also wearing the red and white Ronald McDonald socks (it was Ronald McDonald Day), but they only had one pair between them causing a few comments and giggles from the audience.
On a more serious side, remarks from Danielle Gignac, chair of the Labrador West Child Inc. pointed out their thanks to the government, but also to the board, volunteers, local businesses and especially the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) who played a major role in helping make the new space a reality.
“We are pleased with this facility and what it provides to the young people who use it,” she said, “and we appreciate the hard work and support from everybody who was a part of making this happen.
Letto made special mention of Bernie Mullen, centre administrator. He noted her determination to have the new centre be the best possible, and to work countless hours with government, government agencies, the board of directors, volunteers and many others.
Mullen thanked the many people who were involved in the monumental task of having the centre moved from the basement of a local church to the facility it is located in now.
Following the ceremony Mullen told The Aurora, “I knew we had to get the children out of a windowless basement to a bright airy place, with a stimulating environment.”
It was a project that extended in the range of eight months.
“It was non-stop meetings with so many people,” she said. “I can’t thank the board and their chair, and there were many very late night meetings. The meetings were also with community partners, governments, IOC.
“There were hundreds of hours of meetings, some on holidays even, but finally the new centre opened Dec. 19 last year.”
Looking at the centre now, the move and the funding they have received means they were able to create 36 additional child care spaces. They now have 93 children at the centre.
The centre operates Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., accommodating young people from three to 13-years-old.
The centre currently has 12 staff members.