Ushered in with a well-attended grand opening ceremony this week, specialized child-care facility Hope’s Home has welcomed its first 20 youngsters.
In the middle of the centre’s busy first day of operations on Monday, director of education Mickey MacGillivray took a moment to reflect on the organization’s ambitious goals, which includes accommodating up to 90 children, many of whom are medically fragile.
“With the medical children, a lot of the parents have no place to take them when they’re going to work … because a lot of people don’t take the high-end medical children, and we do,” she said. “We have nurses on hand all of the time.”
Currently, the 17,000 square-foot facility is licenced for 44 children, meaning that the application process remains open.
“Hope’s Home is integrated, so we have children who are typically healthy, and also children who are considered medically fragile, and they might also have developmental needs,” the organization’s communications representative Stephanie Kohlruss explained.
“Our mandate is to help kids with medical needs first and foremost. They … go through an interview and assessment process to see if they fit with our mandate and mission to help medically fragile families.”
Hope’s home is based in Regina, with their recently opened Prince Albert chapter their first foray outside of their home city.
“Our goal has always been expanding throughout our province and country,” Kohlruss said, noting that an “alignment of the stars” resulted in their selecting Prince Albert as a second host city.
With community and provincial encouragement and an ideal location lined up with the old Prince Albert Family Church, at 550 First Ave. E., things came together quickly, she said.
By the end of the year they hope to add 24-hour respite care to their capacity -- a service that will begin as soon as renovations to another wing of the building are complete.
One of the 100 or so people who attended the Hope’s Home ribbon-cutting ceremony this week was Coun. Rick Orr, whose ward includes the downtown core that the child-care centre is located.
With the medical children, a lot of the parents have no place to take them when they’re going to work … because a lot of people don’t take the high-end medical children, and we do. We have nurses on hand all of the time - Hope's Home director of education Mickey MacGillivray
In December, the city’s elected officials cleared the way for the centre’s opening by approving the property’s re-zoning.
“They have brought something that has really been needed in our community,” Orr said, enthused by the project.
This includes not only the added child-care spaces, but also improvements to the local economy and downtown core, providing various important links in the community, he explained.
“They tie into our community in a way that I don’t think I ever envisioned until I went out to see them,” he said.
So far, the centre is employing eight full-time people, but by the end of the year Hope’s Home plans on creating about 20 well-paying positions.
On top of that, they will integrate a practicum program for nursing students, and will take in volunteers, which might benefit the seniors’ homes in the area.
Its location is also of benefit to the city, he said, and will help further the city’s ongoing effort at downtown revitalization.
“One of my dreams is that we can maybe come together as a community and work with our service clubs and administration and our other councillors and build something like a children’s spray park or a park on the riverbank to come and support these kids, “ he said, noting that Family Futures might tie into this initiative, as well.
Hope’s Home is a non-profit organization that allows parents and guardians to apply for government subsidies to assist with child-care costs.
With more than 20 spaces still available, they continue to take applications. They can be contacted at 922-2025. More information can also be found on their website, www.hopeshome.org.