It feels like yesterday that Sue McIntosh was asked to be the coordinator of the Trail and Castlegar Child Care Resource and Referral program.
Now 20 years later, the Trail resident laughs at an old photo taken as she celebrates two decades of success with parents and children.
“I sort of look at it this way, I look at these three year olds and I think to myself one day they’re going to be my care aid and I want somebody healthy so I’m going to do my best to ensure they have a great start,” said McIntosh, who along with co-worker Kathy Morrish are two of the longest working employees out of the 39 other programs in the province.
The program that falls under the umbrella of Trail Family and Individual Resource Centre provides assistance and guidance to anyone seeking information on childcare and parenting issues and offers toy lending, a library, caregiver registry, educational workshops and drop-in playgroups.
“I find the service here excellent, they really do help you with anything you need,” said Trail resident Amanda Dilling, who recalls what it was like to be a new mom. “I felt lost as to how to find childcare, just trying to find people out of the phonebook was impossible.”
But with help from the resource centre, Dilling found the perfect caregiver for her family that now includes four-year-old Aidan and Tianna, 2. Josie Lioce looks after her children at Toon Town Family Daycare in East Trail.
“The critical years are zero to six and whatever happens to those children in those six short years will affect them for the rest of their life,” said McIntosh. “The reality is 80 per cent of B.C. women are in the workforce and their children are being cared for by somebody other than them so I want to try and provide some kind of stability.”
The resource centre, which is funded by the Ministry for Children and Family Development, provides transparency and eases fears parents may have when signing their child up for a program – whether it’s daycare, preschool or a recreational program.
“It’s proven that children who go to quality early programs do way better in school than children that don’t and also parents can go to work once they know their child is in a quality program and feel comfortable and as a result become more productive at work,” she added.
A group of parents and children joined McIntosh at the East Trail centre to acknowledge the anniversary with a celebration that included face painting for the kids.
For more information, visit www.childcarechoices.ca or contact 364-2980 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org