Oliver Family HUB accessible to all

Oliver Family HUB accessible to all


All schools should be a place of learning from birth to retirement. So says School District 53 chair Marieze Tarr, who helped officially open the new Oliver Family Hub last week.
“We work very hard to ensure our schools are open to everyone,” she said at a special ceremony at Oliver Elementary School, where the HUB has been established.
“We hope this is the first of many HUBs. Soon we will have HUBs in every community.”
The HUB is a partnership of South Okanagan service providers that offer family support via counselling, parenting information, health and early child development. Agencies include the Ministry of Children and Family Development, public health, Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Child Care Resource and Referral, and Penticton Mental Wellness Centre.
Mike Safek, principal of Oliver Elementary School, said the HUB has been a long time in the works.
He noted that assistant superintendent of schools Jim Insley was instrumental in making the HUB a reality in Oliver. He demonstrated how successful the HUB was in Rock Creek in servicing the needs of parents and children in that community.
Safek said the rural community of Rock Creek was faced with the problem of accessing these important services, so the agencies brought the services to parents.
“Our families face the same challenge driving to Penticton and Osoyoos to locate these services, which is often a deterrent to getting support for families,” Safek said.
The principal stated the HUB is for everyone, not just for people associated with the school.
It is hoped that a schedule for the HUB will be finalized soon. Right now, the Mother Goose early literacy program and the Child Care Resource and Referral are the first groups booked into the facility on a regular basis.
Patricia Tribe, coordinator of Communities for Kids and Success By 6, said it’s wonderful to see the HUB concept come from the community rather than something mandated by government. This shows that the community truly needs this service, she pointed out.
Insley recognized all the agencies that have stepped forward to make the HUB a reality. He said former Communities for Kids coordinator Pat Buckland was instrumental in building the foundation for such an initiative. It all started with the comment, “We need to do something.”
Insley noted the HUB idea is rubbing off because Queen’s Park Elementary School in Penticton has started one.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes recalled that his Grade 7 class was located in the basement where the Oliver Family HUB is. How time flies.
“As community leaders we should always strive to look at accessibility for all,” Hovanes said, noting that having all these services under one roof makes sense. He also believes these services will be utilized more often when people realize they available at their doorstep.

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