Family Centre White Oaks had a full house full of smiling families during their grand opening. The centre, connected to White Oaks Public School, welcomed families and children of that area to play and learn about their various programs. Some of the services include homework help, parenting classes, and even a program that connects senior citizens with London’s youth.
The program, Savour the Memories, was created to build students’ literacy skills,preparing for the Grade 10 literacy test, and seniors’ social skills. As the seniors teach the younger generation how to cook, they learn how to blog and use devices such as iPads.
“There’s a lot of seniors in the community who have no family that are close by,” said Nancy Needham, South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre Executive Director and Community Development Co-ordinator, “they have no opportunity to connect, and it’s very uncomfortable for them to figure out where do they start.” She added family centres will connect people of all ages who have similar ideas.
Mother of seven,Mariam Moharraem Zebian,has already taken parenting classes for those with children up to six years old, and drop-in classes at the centre. She is impressed with Family Centre White Oaks, and felt it would be good for her children. “All of the kids, they know each other, and they play with each other. Lots of toys, lots of activities there.”
London Mayor Matt Brown recognized that there are many children and families living in the White Oaks area, so it made sense to build an entirely new centre there. Family Centre White Oaks is the third of the four family centres set to be built by the end of 2015.
“What you want to do is you want to create a hub, so you can walk through one door and access so many important services for families,” he explained, “We know that early year development is so important for a child’s trajectory as they grow into an adult. Some say the early years last a lifetime, and this is going to help us achieve exactly that.”