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CVCF Funds Building Connections for Valley Families project for 2021

The Comox Valley Community Foundation approved a second special grant for the Building Connections for Valley Families project, in the amount of $100,000, which will fully fund the project for the coming year.

The Building Connections for Valley Families project is entering its third year and is built upon the belief that by working together as a community, we can improve children’s health in the early years. When the project originated, 40% of children in the Comox Valley were considered vulnerable on the Early Development Instrument scale, which measures the developmental health of kindergarten children. The goal of the project is to reduce vulnerability to 25% or less by the year 2025.

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Connections project had a successful 2020 and was able to adapt to the new “virtual” reality of connecting with and learning from members of the community. The focus for 2020 was on: a) developing and implementing community-driven innovations for the North Comox Valley area; and b) collecting and analyzing data in the three remaining Comox Valley neighbourhoods (Cumberland-South Courtenay, West Courtenay, and Comox-Valley View).

“Our aim is to support families with young children in finding play and learning opportunities and in building social connections close to home,” said Joanne Schroeder, a member of the Building Connections Steering Committee. “In each of the four neighbourhoods, the process is guided by a parent and citizen advisory group, which is essential to ensuring the project and the ideas emerging are community-driven.”

“Our information gathering has involved extensive surveying and group discussions to identify current strengths of family supports and resources, additional needs identified by families, and current barriers to accessing resources and care,” she added. “As a result, proposed solutions in each of the four communities will look somewhat different and will be tailored to the specific needs identified in that community.”

The project’s focus for 2021 will be on the implementation of the proposed solutions in the North Comox Valley region, further information gathering in the three remaining neighbourhoods followed by development of specific strategies for the three areas designed to address the local information gathered.

“The Comox Valley Community Foundation is very pleased to continue its funding of this important project,” said Matt Beckett, President of this Comox Valley Community Foundation. “Building Connections addresses root causes, leads to the improved health and well-being of children, contributes to enhanced readiness for school, is parent and community driven – all of which will have a significant positive impact on our entire community in the years ahead.”

Funding for this project was made possible through Vancouver Foundation’s Robert and Florence Filberg Fund for Medical (Health) Research.

The Building Connections initiative is a project of the Comox Valley Early Years Collaborative, a network of over 40 individuals and organizations committed to improving the lives of children in the Comox Valley, whose shared vision is that all children and families are supported and thrive in the Comox Valley. For more information about the Early Years Collaborative and its work, please visit www.cveyc.ca.