Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Group provides support to inner-city families

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On March 21, 2001 the provincial government announced that 26 Manitoba parent-child coalitions would share in more $750,000 in funding. Since then, coalitions have been formed all across Manitoba.


In January 2002, Winnipeg’s downtown organizations and community members began meeting to learn more about the community’s resources and services, find gaps, and listen to what downtown families need.


Since then, Communities 4 Families (previously known as the Downtown Parent-Child Coalition) has received yearly funding from Healthy Child Manitoba for projects and programs benefiting downtown families.


Last December, C4F joined the Daniel McIntyre/St. Matthews Community Association offices at 823 Ellice Ave.


C4F is a partnership of organizations, agencies, and community members that combine to support downtown families. Members work to facilitate a community development approach for the well being of the province’s children, families, and communities.


The way C4F co-ordinator Ingrid Peters Derry describes it, "C4F is a network of agencies and individuals concerned with families in the downtown area. We provide small grants, training, networking possibilities, information through newsletters and our website, and research into the issues faced by downtown families.


"C4F changes to meet the emerging needs of the families in the downtown," she says. "It’s our goal to keep abreast of these changing dynamics and keep networking with our members to speak to these issues."


C4F has four main goals — parenting and family support, healthy lifestyles, literacy, and capacity building — aimed at supporting healthy and active families.


In 2004, C4F launched Wiggle, Giggle, & Munch, which incorporates physical activity and nutrition for parents and their pre-school children. Wiggle, Giggle, & Munch was developed to address families’ need for activities and resources for raising and playing with their pre-school children.


In 2008, Wiggle, Giggle, & Munch received the Dieticians of Canada and Kraft Canada’s Speaking of Food and Healthy Living Award.


In 2009, C4F started up a pilot project advocating against systemic issues causing downtown parents stress (based on the previous year’s research). That same year, the organization commissioned family literacy programs.


C4F also developed the Resources 4 Families website, offering an online list of resources for families.


For more information about what C4F is all about or to join the Resources 4 Families database (to let community families know of your programs/services), visit the C4F website at www.communities4families.ca.


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The West End Cultural Centre will host a number of noteworthy concerts in the days ahead including the Run For Rights fundraising concert (April 26), the Silent Witness Project (April 27), Women in Blues Manitoba (April 28), and Dragonforce (April 29).


Rebeca Kuropatwa is a community correspondent for the West End. You can contact her at beca72ca.yahoo.ca.

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