Disponible/available in: Français (French)
By Amy MacDonald, Christie Lake Kids, Director, City Programs
We are family.
One of the unique things Christie Lake Kids (CLK) does at the end of each program session is we ask families and the children we serve for feedback. We always hear that we’re considered an extension of their family. There is no higher praise. It’s the best compliment and it means so much to our entire team.
Let me explain where we fit. Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) provides families with homes and serves a diverse population of varying languages, ethnicities and cultures. We proudly partner with OCH to identify and register children and youth from OCH communities to receive free access to skill-building programs.
At CLK, we believe children and youth can reach their greatest potential by learning life lessons through activities they enjoy doing including art, recreation, music, cooking, sports, camp and more.
Many children stay with us year after year until they graduate from high school. We are not a drop-in service, and we do not charge any fees to participate in our programs. We do follow up with parents and guardians if kids don’t show up for our program though! This “active pursuit” is one way we build lasting and meaningful connections with the families we serve.
We recently extended our reach to serve the community of 1365 Bank Street. It’s a great location because the kids participating live in the same building! Our CLK program supervisor, Rachael Manyonga, and our dedicated volunteers have created some great momentum. We first accessed this space last fall and as with every new program, the kids and families didn’t quite know what to expect.
We did so much and had so much fun! We delivered robust programming that on the outside looked like art, multi-sport, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), cooking and soccer. All the while we worked on building skills like listening, taking turns, supporting one another, problem solving and focused on wellness. The kids flourished and many parents told us at our year-end party that they could see a difference in their child before and after the CLK programs.
Our partnership with OCH is truly special. CLK goes into areas and serves families who need us most and we work very closely with OCH to be in the right place, at the right time serving kids who need someone to believe in them. Together we believe.
We look forward to the Fall when our CLK City programs resume. We’ll be in Strathcona Heights, 1365 Bank, Russell Heights, Caldwell, Van Lang and Overbrook. And we have new programs that we cannot wait to roll out. Until then, have a safe, fun summer.