We are very thankful to our Leadership, Board of Directors, community, funding and donors for the ability to continue to work safely from our homes, while supporting our young moms and children. As you may have seen in the previous posts, all of our Child Development Programs (CDP) and entire Youville Centre staff are working on many great initiatives to continue to engage and support each mom and child.
Behind the scenes there is much work and discussion as we learn to navigate this new way of connecting.
Our Child Development Program Manager, Diana, has numerous virtual meetings with staff, community partners and the municipality to continue to advocate for the issues that face the childcare sector including planning for our safe return to providing direct services. It is a learning curve, for all of us, as we learn to find a routine with the new normal of the work – life balance.
Each week, we continue to meet virtually as a team. These meetings are vital to not only sharing updates and ensuring communication but also for creating opportunities for staff engagement and mental health awareness.
Although the primary focus of our meetings are discussing ongoing initiatives to support our young clients as well as our own professional learning, we aim to make time for some fun and connections. Our recent “Guess Who” Baby Photo game was a great way to lead into the weekend:
Our CDP department supports not only our current students but our community as well. When there are spaces available in the childcare, we are able to extend this support to our alumni and community members.
One of our current community members, who is also a Youville Centre alumnae and an essential worker continuing to serve a vulnerable population as a Personal Support Worker has been able to remain in touch with our CDP team: receiving weekly activity ideas to keep her busy toddler engaged at home as well as sharing virtual resources and songs / stories shared by his Educators on a web based platform.
Our CDP Manager was also able to recently assist one of our community clients complete her field placement requirements as she works towards completing her Child and Youth Worker diploma. Meagan and Myriam have been enjoying the weekly activities and videos shared by the CDP team:
All of this is possible with the help of many: Kelsea, our Assistant CDP Manager, has a vital role of supporting our CDP Manager and acting as a liaison for both staff and the Leadership Team. Kelsea has been navigating the challenges of working remotely while continuing to raise her busy 16 month old daughter. We are also very excited to share that Kelsea was able to announce the exciting news that she is expecting in the Fall!
Jennie is the friendly face you meet at our front desk reception. Currently, Jennie is joining our CDP team on the quest to continue to engage in professional learning and ways to engage our young children. She is using her time working from home to complete online professional training, such as Brain Story Certification, Trauma-Informed Care, Infant Mental Health Promotion and Conscious Discipline. Jennie has also begun to investigate what will be needed to ensure we return to a safe and healthy environment. She has been researching best practices, OPH recommendations and guidelines. Although our front desk procedures may require some adaptations and modifications upon return, you can rest assured Jennie’s welcoming smile will continue.
Finally anyone will tell you the kitchen is the HEART, Severine who is greatly missing providing nutritious meals for our young moms and children has continued to provide sample menu plans and recipe ideas that can be adapted based on what may be currently available in your pantry. Severine also remains active, through online resources and training, in her determination to ensure that food safety is paramount when navigating our return to physical operations. She also created two videos for the clients and families of Youville with her husband, TJ. The songs performed are favorites at snack and lunch time in the Centre, sung by babies and early childhood educators on their way to the dining room. Even when social distancing, we can celebrate and connect at meal times, while keeping fun Youville traditions alive, online!
On behalf of our entire CDP Team, we are thankful for our continued ability to provide resources and support while working remotely. We are very much looking forward to returning and seeing all our little friends.
Diana, Kelsea, Jennie & Severine