July 8th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 27
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Brighter Futures Preparing for Fall
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Brighter Futures is looking into many different ways to continue their programming in a Covid-19 world.

Brighter Futures has faced some challenges over the last few months with trying to finish some programs while following all current guidelines.

Teri Hamilton, the Project Coordinator for Brighter Futures Project, says that overall the timing was okay in terms of when the main closures hit.
“Normally Brighter Futures doesn't run regular programming during the summer so timing wise it worked out well because it's giving us some planning time for how we'll approach September.”

Hamilton says there are a few different things that need to be followed while operating.

“There are quite a few rules that we have to follow in our building that we're running programs in. It gives us some time to meet all of those requirements as well as any plan for new requirements that will be coming in September.”

According to Hamilton, current work being done by Brighter Futures includes planning for fall programs.

“Right now we do have a work plan that we follow that mandates what we try to do and what programs we are running. What my staff and I have been doing up until this point is looking at that work plan and seeing how we can adjust it to make it digital or to do things outside.”
Over the last few months, Brighter Futures has turned to the digital world to help them continue their programming.
continued below ...
“For the last three months of Covid-19, we've turned all of our programming into digital programming. I have an amazing staff and they grabbed hold of that and they each took a program. We've been doing some Facebook live programs, we've been doing some Zoom programs and we've been doing some one-on-one meet programs. Our regular story time that we normally did was taken totally digital and that was getting us some great numbers. A lot of families were participating in that.”

Hamilton says they had some success in digital programs and also says they are looking to possibly continue using digital platforms in the future.

“We were running some support groups online through Zoom and that proved to be really successful as well. We are kind of looking at how we can do things digitally if we can't get together with our families. The other piece we're in the planning process of is what does it look like if we have a family that does suddenly have someone who's sick. We're looking into if there is a way we can run a live program and then also have something like a Zoom link where someone could join us digitally in the program.”

Hamilton says Covid-19 has sort of been a blessing in disguise.

“In some ways Covid-19 has forced us to think outside the box. There are some things we'll probably keep. What we've learned through Covid-19 is that we can actually do programs digitally if need be. There are ways to reach out to families and do things that way as well.”

Another hurdle Brighter Futures is facing is the loss of a partner.
continued below ...
“One of the other things in the Crowsnest Pass that we're looking at right now is that we've lost our ParentLink centre. They were a huge partner of ours. They ran early childhood programs the same as we did and we partnered on a lot of different programs. Basically we're trying to figure out what holes that created and how can we hopefully fill some of those gaps. We have the same amount of funding we always have but now suddenly there are now less programs available to families and we need to look at how we can fill those programs. It's a lot of creative planning right now. We are a federally funded program so we are a little bit different. ParentLink was provincially funded. Even though we weren't directly affected by the provincial funding cuts, we're affected in the way that our partner's are affected. We're losing partners in the community and in small communities that how we make our programs run. When we lose a partner it's challenging.”

Hamilton says that there are currently a few plans for summer programming as well.

“Our last program just ended on June 26th. Now my staff is off for the summer. We tend to follow the school system but we do also provide pop-up programs in the summer. We usually do one or two a month. This summer we are going to be doing some story walks. We did a few of those story walks in the spring and they were hugely successful so I believe that there are three of them planned for over the summer. That's in partnership with Kids Kollege and the Crowsnest Library. It gives families the ability to go for a walk in our community, read a book together as a family and there will be some activities at the end of each one that the families can do. This encourages getting out even though we're still physical distancing.”

Another program is more up in the air as Hamilton says there are more moving parts to it.

“We're hoping to do a couple of pop-up plays depending on what the rules are. That's going to take a bit more planning because it will involve groups of people together. Our hope is to be able to do a couple of pop-up plays throughout the summer but we just aren't sure what those will look like yet.”

Overall, Hamilton says Brighter Futures is looking forward to a new year of programming starting in the fall.

“We're looking forward to September and getting together with our families and seeing what the new programing is going to look like.”
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July 8th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 27
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