Starting Over with the
North Central Family Centre

Moving into a place and discovering you have a great neighbour can be like winning the lottery. And that’s how Katherine – a mother of five, originally from Winnipeg – felt after settling in to her new home in Regina. Her neighbour, Cheryl, worked at the nearby North Central Family Centre (NCFC), which turned out to be the perfect place to help Katherine’s whole family settle in and flourish.

Putting Families First

The family had initially moved in to a 3-bedroom townhouse by the university, which quickly became too small for the energetic young kids, leading to negative experiences at home and with some of the neighbours. So, in 2012, they moved to their new place in North Central, next door to Cheryl.

“There’s a little park there, at the Family Centre, that we’d go and play at with the girls and visit with Cheryl,” Katherine recalls about her first involvement with NCFC. “They always called it ‘Cheryl’s Park’. And then one day, she asks, ‘Are you here for family literacy?’ And I asked what that was. So we started going to that twice a week, about a year and a half ago.”

The family literacy program – which, when active, runs twice a week after school – builds a foundation for all kinds of educational, social, and life skills for kids, even younger than school age. Katherine’s youngest children, ages 3 and 5, can’t get enough of it. “It’s been a highlight of my little girls’ weeks. Going to the Centre, having lunch, seeing and playing with their friends, doing different activities and outings. Something different to do that doesn’t cost us anything.” 

It’s even a perfect place to hold a birthday party – in May 2023, Katherine’s youngest, Octavia, turned 3 and had a special celebration at the NCFC. “The look on her face, when the day was just there and the time was all about her, it was absolutely priceless. She still talks about it, she still carries around her little crown and her little wand.” It’s a joy that many kids have gotten to feel. “Every kid’s birthday that comes through that Centre, it’s recognized. I think that’s amazing, because this might not be the situation at home all the time. For them to feel special for that day…that makes an impact.”

“They’re supportive and they are just a great organization. They do so much, and they help families and children so much.”

New Friends & A New Life

Katherine has also found friendship and understanding among the other people at the Centre – staff and visitors alike. “There’ll be days where I come in and I haven’t slept well because of my 3- and 5-year-olds,” she laughs. “And there’s another mom there and she’ll say, ‘I can totally relate.’ Or my one son has some difficulties, and I’ll be having a hard time with him, and I won’t know what to do. And again, another mom is like, ‘My brother was like that, and here’s what my mom did…’ and it’s so great to have that. After moving, I felt isolated, and this broke that barrier. I feel comfortable. I’ve got friends now.”

She’s so grateful for the endless work of the NCFC that she has also decided to return the favour, and volunteer some time in return. “I volunteered to put myself on one of the committees for the new house they’re building, just down from where I live. I want to be involved. That’s my way of giving back for all the help they’ve given me and my family.” 

She can’t think of a better cause to support, either. “They do so much for the community, from hampers to housing support to their bed program. All the programs that they run, the staff they employ, the students that come through here. They’re just fantastic. They make a great difference in the community – especially in North Central. I think that the positivity from NCFC definitely helps.”