Connecting kids with the natural environment is the goal of an expanding program at the University of Victoria’s Family Centre.
Thanks to a partnership with Island Savings, a financial donation to the Family Centre’s “Being With Nature” will help bring learning and exploration opportunities to children.
“If you can get young children connecting with nature, as they become adults they will become the protectors of nature,” said Elizabeth Quong, program director at the Family Centre.
“And they don’t need to be outside all the time. We bring nature items inside and let the kids be creative on their own.”
On Wednesday at the bustling Family Centre, located in Student Family Housing, children enjoyed painting rocks, driftwood and pinecones.
Kelly Sterk, manager of the Island Savings Tuscany Village branch, sat at a small table with a young family, helping add the artistic finishing touches to a painted piece of driftwood.
“Island Savings and our staff believe families are the root of strong communities. We focus our giving and we focus our efforts on families,” he said. “Gordon Head, Mount Tolmie, the UVic area is such a diverse population of families, so it’s a great area for us to be able to contribute.”
The Tuscany Village branch of Island Savings hosts its grand opening this Saturday (Jan. 26) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Island Savings will donate $5 for every person who attends the event to UVic’s Family Centre. The goal is to raise $2,500.
“For people like us that’s not a small chunk of change. It’ll make a big difference in what we can do with our Being in Nature program,” Quong said.
She anticipates the money will go to providing indoor storage for the art supplies, as well as for moveable outdoor amenities like hammocks.
The Family Centre has been in existence for more than 15 years, providing support services and resources to families of UVic students to create an greater sense of community.