Our Family Support Services staff members provide information and resources to families working to raise healthy, happy children. Many families we serve are coping with issues associated with poverty, isolation and lack of extended family or other supports. Engaging with our Family Support staff members gives parents an opportunity to talk and work through issues.
We offer parenting classes, Health-for-Two (pre-natal care), collective kitchen opportunities, women’s lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays, advocacy services and referral information to enhance resiliency and social supports in families and community.
Family Support Services staff delivering these services work closely with Early Childhood Development Program staff to support families. Often families are able to receive diapers, formula, and baby layettes when they are in financial crisis or distress.
Food security and the availability of nutritious food is an ongoing difficulty for many of Edmonton’s most vulnerable citizens. Even when provided with food, parents who are living in poverty are often unknowledgeable regarding how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals to support their family. These programs aim to address these crucial issues in order to ensure that parents living in poverty are better equipped to support their families and help to ensure that their children can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Many families live in poverty and have overall poor health due to poor nutrition. Families on a fixed, limited income often use their food allowance to pay rent and utilities. Our Collective Kitchen program engages parents in cooking classes. They are provided with food items to cook, taught to prepare healthy meals, and form healthy social bonds with others to enhance their livelihood.
Parenting Plus Drop-in Group
Our Parenting Plus Drop-In group meets every Monday through the spring, fall, and winter. The group offers a positive discipline curriculum, guest speakers that address parenting issues, opportunities for arts and crafts, and once a month a Collective Kitchen/Cooking Class. Every second month the group goes on an outing to help increase experience and knowledge around community resources.
Family Camps at Moonlight Bay Centre
Since 1929, Bissell Centre’s Moonlight Bay Centre (MBC) has provided an opportunity for children and parents living in poverty to engage in positive recreational activities to enhance their quality of life emotionally, spiritually, socially, and physically. MBC is equipped with cabins, a commercial kitchen and dining hall, recreation hall, wash house, children’s playground, fire pits, and green space for outdoor recreation.
Our MBC Family Camp is a four day retreat that allows low-income parents and their children, who typically live in communities with high rates of domestic violence, gang activity, and drug use, the ability to engage in recreational activities that offer a positive and reflective experience that they would not have in their difficult daily lives.
Bissell Centre provides transportation to the camp, food for the meals, lodging, and materials needed for activities. Swimming, canoeing, volleyball, arts and crafts, and campfires are coordinated and led by the staff from our Child and Family Services Program.