Portage la Prairie families received a helping hand as the United Way in Central Plains granted $10,000 to the Family Resource Centre's (FRC) Afterschool Recreation Program. The initiative, currently at Fort La Reine School and École Arthur Meighen, aims to ease the childcare burden on working parents from 3:20-5:30 p.m.

Melissa Morrison, Executive Director for FRC, highlighted the program's potential to open up childcare spaces by catering to families' needs. The grant, provided through a United Way Community Action Grant, reflects the organization's commitment to impactful local projects.

"Right now in our city, we have families who are paying for summers, paying for before and after-school care, and really they just need care from that 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. range. Our hope is that we're able to continue offering after school programs in schools that that will help alleviate."

Jen Kendell from the Community Advisory Committee expressed satisfaction in filling a crucial gap for Portage families. Preston Meier, who also sits on the committee, sees the program as a positive step in addressing employment and childcare challenges. 

Kathryn Dalton, a Community Engagement Coordinator for United Way, emphasized the pivotal role played by the Community Advisory Committee.

"Our local advisory committee has been instrumental in making all these funding decisions," Dalton explains. "Megan and I, here in the office, we really do a lot of the fundraising and community outreach, volunteerism. But the Advisory Committee is the one reviewing all those funding applications, and they're the ones who decided that this was a worthwhile cause and we fully support that decision."

The Executive Director for FRC conveyed gratitude for United Way.

"We're so grateful for the United Way, and we're proud to be one of their partner agencies," Morrison shares. "They help us significantly with our funding and allow us to focus on building programs, resources and connecting with families rather than fundraising. United Way, here in town, they're out in community, and we really hope that people will donate directly to them both now and in the future as they are going to be the fundraising go-to for a lot of nonprofits in our community." 

The additional $10,000 ensures the program continues through this school year, with potential expansion to other schools in the future.