A directed donation of $50,000, given through Bowen’s Community Foundation to the Bowen Children’s Centre, will allow the construction of the planned toddler’s wing to begin in the new year. As many Islanders know from first-hand experience, our community is overflowing with children under the age of five. In fact, on a per capita basis, we lead the province of British Columbia in this category.
This donation is particularly timely as we enter 2017, giving the Board of the Children’s Centre the confidence to plan for construction, with the opening scheduled for September. Ann Silberman, the Executive Director of the Centre, expressed her gratitude for the funding, noting that it will provide a licensed space for children from birth to three years of age.
“I believe this donation speaks to an acknowledgement of both the importance of the early years in human development, as well as the work we do in care and education”, she said, adding, “To the directing donor and the Bowen Island Community Foundation, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you. You have certainly made a difference in the lives of children and families on Bowen Island.”
The addition of these 8 full time (or 16 part time) spaces will allow the Centre to meet a current shortfall in care for our youngest residents. Many Bowen parents returning to the workforce are currently unable to find this kind of assistance. The licensed facility will be built to Vancouver Coast Health specifications, and the Board of the Children’s Centre anticipates leveraging many in-kind donations from local builders and contractors in the months ahead. The description provided by Ann Silberman was that of “a community barn raising” – hands-on involvement from all of those islanders who have the time and the ability to support this project.
There are many ways in which the Bowen Children’s Centre is already a community project in progress. The building that houses the Centre is owned and operated as a non-profit facility, with annual contributions from the Bowen Island Municipality for leasing the lower floor (for our Youth Centre and Family Place). These lease payments serve to enhance the services provided to the youngest children in our community.
And it’s not too late for other Bowen Islanders to contribute to this project. The Bowen Island Community Foundation will provide funds directly to the Bowen Children’s Centre, and issue a tax receipt for your contribution. And the Bowen Children’s Centre itself, also as a registered non-profit society, can and will similarly happily accept your donations. An emerging series of findings from the realm of science has made clear that the first three years of life are often crucial in charting the life course of an individual. A collective thanks, then, to the donor of this grant, and congratulations to Ann Silberman and the Board of the Bowen Children’s Centre for all the work that they have done – and continue to do.