The Family Resource Centre in Portage la Prairie has grown its staff over the last year, and as a result, is able to add more programs to its itinerary.
Program coordinator Peter Thiessen says it's good to not have to cut other programming to make way for the new.
"September is when we go back to our regular fall programming, which will carry on through May," explains Thiessen. "September to May is really our busy-year season. We have a lot of programs that we're bringing back that are popular every year, so ones like Book Buddies, Wiggle, Giggle and Munch, Mindful Munchkins, and Toddler Shenanigans. But we're also having some totally new ones. That includes Musical Mornings. That will be twice in September, and is really for children six months and older until about age three."
He notes it's all about music, including making music, singing, playing music together, and just exploring musical experiences.
"We also are partnering with the Regional Library and Fort la Reine Museum to host two walking story times in September and another one in October," continues Thiessen. "That will be at the Fort la Reine Museum two Saturdays in September, where we will go and read stories, do a craft together, and get a look at the amazing site that they have. The other new ones include Our Neighbourhood. We're still working out the details of that one."
Thiessen says Our Neighbourhood will run once a month and involves exploring different parts of our community.
"There is also another program called Grand Pals," adds Thiessen. "This one is in partnership with Dufferin Villa. It will allow families of preschoolers to bring their children to meet with some of the seniors who are living there and see what's happening and what's going on."
Thiessen notes that they haven't been required to cancel or remove other programs, seeing as they've grown their staff over the year.
"By adding more staff as well as running programs in different locations, that allows us to keep expanding," says Thiessen. "In fact, we were also running multiple sessions of some of the more popular programs. For example, some of our toddler programs -- we'll have them at 9:00 a.m. and then another session at 11:00 a.m. Thankfully, we aren't needing to cut back two programs. I'm going to restart that session, but we find a way to work around it so that we're able to offer as many things as we can."
He explains when he started with the centre in April 2020 and on until February 2021, there were three staff in full-time capacity.
"Then occasionally, someone would come in on a more casual basis," notes Thiessen. "Last winter, we added another staff position. That fall, we added an administrative position just to keep up with the demands of running so many different programs. We have another part-time staff member. One person who had helped us out casually is now helping us on a part-time basis, as well. So, we're up to seven regular staff members."
He says the best way to register for their programs is online at frcportage.ca.
"You go to the calendar tab, you can see what is coming up as well as register on the website, itself," adds Thiessen."