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Maggie’s Place surpasses a milestone of community service

AMHERST – Maggie’s Place celebrated its 20th anniversary this past year by partying like it was 1994.

Maggie’s Place Family Resource Centres in Amherst and Truro celebrated their 20th anniversary during 2014-15. The organization held its annual meeting in Amherst on Friday with (from left) co-chair (Cumberland) Linda Harrison, executive director Carolyn d’Entremont (Cumberland), executive director (Colchester) Linda Legere and co-chair (Colchester) Lana Taylor giving presentations.

The organization held several events throughout the year to commemorate its two decades of service to families and children in the community.

“It was certainly a busy year of community engagement at many levels,” Maggie’s Place Cumberland executive director Carolyn d’Entremont said following the organization’s annual general meeting in Amherst. “All of this partnership and collaboration is key to supporting families as we work together to reach our joint outcomes of building and supporting healthy, strong families within a strong and diverse community.”

The past year saw more than 60 programs and 2,000 families assisted at both the Cumberland and Colchester centres. This represents a 40 per cent increase in participation from last year.

Much of the increase was due to an increase in mandate in Cumberland of offering programs for youth, the increase in outreach programming and the fact both centres have more space for programming.

In Truro, core programs including the Full Bellies Prenatal Nutrition Program continued along with the popular Parent and Tot Playgroups, Roots of Empathy, Kids in the Kitchen and Eye Spy.

There were also injury prevention programs like car seat installations and first aid while new additions included Let’s Get Moving while the NS Hodgepodge moved from the developmental to the delivery stage.

Another new addition was infant massage and the development of the Truro centre’s backyard play area and the creation of a vegetable garden.

The YMCA was welcomed as a new tenant in Truro, occupying the second floor of the centre.

Core programming in Cumberland included the expansion of the Pregnancy and Beyond pre and post-natal program to include groups in Amherst, Springhill, Pugwash, Parrsboro and Oxford while Once Upon A Time, Baby Friendly Drop-In, Friday Fun Times, Pop Up, Kids in the Kitchen, Transition to School, Women of Wonder and Coffee and Conversation remained popular.

Youth programs were continued with partnerships with the Cumberland YMCA, Amherst Police, the Town of Amherst and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

To mark 20 years, a number of events were held include Mousercise, which was the very first program offered at Maggie’s Place Cumberland in 1994.

The celebrations also included a Scotty and the Stars concert, while the Amherst office continued to work with CAN-U on the joint family literacy program Together We Can. It also partnered to host Family Literacy Day and the Kids Zone at the Highland Fling.

Its collaboration earned Maggie’s Place a 2014 Nova Scotia Family Literacy Achievement Award.

In Truro, the organization held its 10th Stroller-A-Thon and its sixth Touch-A-Truck campaigin. It participated in a Drive One 4UR Community with Ford and benefitted from Shoppers Drug Mart’s Tree of Life fundraiser.

It also received funds from the 100 Women Who Care event in Truro, while the Amherst centre was recently chosen to receive similar funding from the 100 Women Who Care Cumberland group.

Board co-chairs Linda Harrison and Jana Taylor said while financial statements for both centres are watched closely, the core funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada does not cover core programs and infrastructure.

The dollar value of this funding has not changed since Maggie’s Place was founded. While demands for programs and services continue to increase, Maggie’s Place often finds itself financially challenged to respond.

Still, both Harrison and Taylor said they appreciate the public health funding because it’s critical to the organization’s survival.

In Amherst, there was continued community support including from the Cumberland Car Club, Teazers Pub & Eatery’s Easter Jam and Scotiabank as well as a $2,000 donation from the Amherst Shore Kool Aid Kids.

Board chairwomen Linda Harrison

The annual meeting also saw the election of the board of directors for 2015-16.

Cumberland parent reps include Krystal Smith, Lisa Allen and Stephanie Stewart with Effie Weatherbee, Nichole Collicott, Kathy Moffatt and Linda Harrison elected as Cumberland community reps.

d’Entremont is an ex-officio on the Cumberland board while Linda Legere, as CEO of Colchester, is on that county’s board.

Parent reps for Colchester include Shauna Mowatt-Densmore and Andrew Boone while Lana Taylor, Lynda Marsh, Blair Carter and Christina Millar are community reps.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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