Since the Penticton Family Hub opened its doors late last year, it has helped families deal with issues ranging from home eviction to health problems and where to go for relationship counseling.
Open to all Penticton families, the hub at Queen’s Park Elementary School, plans to offer even more in the new year.
“It’s a one stop shop that is easily accessible for parents,” said Queen’s Park principal Rob Zoppi. “These hubs are not a new idea they exist in Alberta and other places in BC. They are just really starting to take off in the South Okanagan.”
It was Zoppi and others on a community development steering committee including the RCMP and representatives from the city and Ministry of Children and Family Development who got the ball rolling.
Among their concerns were the difficulty families have in accessing services at different facilities in the city.
“From my experience it can be overwhelming for parents because there are often several different processes and agencies they need to talk to, so they just give up,” he said.
At the new hub, supported by School District 67, Success by 6 and other community agencies, families deal with facilitator Leah Spanier, a mix of Walmart greeter and triage nurse, said Zoppi.
Spanier helps with support in areas like childcare, parenting, health, literacy, early intervention, nutrition and more.
“I am finding out what their issues are from questions about basic parenting to where to get assistance if they have been evicted and then referring them to services that can help,” she said. “Basically providing a bridge between what they are dealing with and the services available.”
Information nights are also offered. A most recent one informed parents on how to deal with lice infestation.
On Jan. 22 there will be a Mother Goose night from 6 to 7 p.m., focused on early literacy. Down the road the hub will offer a session on bullying at the elementary school level.
The hub held in a large room at Queen’s Park at 330 Power Street is open from 1 to 3 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday evenings.
It can also be reached at (250) 770-7680.
The Oliver Family Hub opened its doors in October and offers similar services.
A hub is also being planned in Summerland, said Spanier.
“Local professionals are keen for families to thrive and we want to empower them to do that,” she said.