Welcoming Our Summer Interns: The Value of Internships and Learning from Non-Profits

We’re thrilled to welcome our two summer interns, Kayla and Aline, to the New Westminster Family Place team!

Kayla, a Communications student at Simon Fraser University, and Aline, a Sociology student at the University of Victoria, are dedicating eight weeks this summer as part of the Canada Summer Jobs Program to assist in administration, promotion, planning, and running our outdoor drop-ins at Westminster Pier Park and the Kids Zone at Fridays on Front Street.

The Value of Summer Internships

Summer internships offer students like Kayla and Aline invaluable opportunities to apply their academic knowledge in real-world settings. These experiences help bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical application, providing interns with a deeper understanding of their fields of study. For Kayla, the opportunity to delve into event planning aligns perfectly with her communications background. The hands-on experience she gains in organizing events, coordinating logistics, and engaging with the community will be instrumental as she prepares for a career in communications and event management.

Aline’s internship is equally significant. As a sociology student, she is passionate about understanding social structures and fostering community connections. Her role at New Westminster Family Place allows her to witness firsthand the impact of social programs on families and individuals. This experience will enrich her academic pursuits and provide her with practical insights into the importance of social support systems.

Learning from Non-Profits: The Value of Social Connection and Support

Working with non-profits like New Westminster Family Place offers interns a unique perspective on the power of social connection and support. Non-profits are often at the forefront of addressing community needs, providing essential services, and creating spaces for individuals to connect and thrive. For Kayla and Aline, being part of an organization that emphasizes community and family well-being is a profound learning experience.

Kayla’s Perspective: The Joy of Planning and People

Kayla is excited to gain more experience in event planning and loves the atmosphere of large outdoor gatherings. “I love live music and concerts and all the details of event planning.” Her enthusiasm for creating memorable experiences for others is evident in her dedication to organizing events that bring the community together. Through her internship, Kayla will learn about the intricacies of event planning, from securing permits to coordinating with vendors and volunteers. More importantly, she’ll see the joy and connection that well-planned events can bring to families and individuals, reinforcing the value of her work.

Aline’s Perspective: The Importance of Community Connections

Aline is keen to reconnect with the community she grew up in and make positive connections with families. “Seeing how you can focus so much on the individual and make such a big difference. It’s about the little connections that you make.” Her sociology studies have taught her about the importance of social networks and support systems, and her internship will provide a practical application of these concepts. Aline’s interactions with families at our drop-ins and Kids Zone will highlight how small, meaningful connections can significantly impact individuals’ lives, fostering a sense of belonging and support within the community.

Beyond the Internship: Personal Growth and Community Involvement

When they aren’t spending their time at Family Place this summer, Kayla and Aline have personal interests that further illustrate their commitment to family and community. Kayla enjoys spending time with her sisters, who she deeply admires, out enjoying concerts or quietly scrapbooking her memories. Aline, who goes to school far from her family, will be enjoying her time with them and particularly with her mom (her hero!), experimenting in baking, or out on a hike.

Their personal passions and dedication to family and community mirror the values of New Westminster Family Place, making them perfect additions to our team.

Get Ready for an Amazing Summer

With Kayla and Aline’s fresh energy and creative ideas, we’re looking forward to an amazing summer. Their contributions will not only enhance our programs but also leave a lasting impact on the community we serve. Join us in welcoming Kayla and Aline to the New Westminster Family Place team and get ready for a summer filled with fun, connection, and community spirit!

Filling Cups with Community: Celebrating Steel and Oak’s 10th Anniversary

This past Sunday, we had the pleasure of hosting the family zone at Steel and Oak’s 10th Anniversary party. It was a day to remember, as thousands gathered to celebrate with music, local craft beer, a variety of food trucks, a roving magician, and, in our special area, a space dedicated to play and community. 

With Steel and Oak’s signature themes of towers and trains, we created engaging activities that captivated children and families alike. Our LEGO building station, train set, and paper bag crafting corner—where kids could design their own buildings or homes—were all big hits. The faux lawn we were provided became a lively hub of connection, conversation, and play. 

We were thrilled to welcome 583 people to our activities. Among them were familiar faces from our regular programming and many new friends we hope to see more of in the future. Building a strong community of families in New Westminster is at the heart of what we do, and events like this reinforce our mission. Steel and Oak shares this vision, and their partnership means so much to us. 

One of the most heartwarming sights was a group of parents forming a circle on our “lawn” with their babies, spending hours in comfort and connection. It brings us immense joy to provide a space where parents feel included and at ease during such celebrations. 

Why We Joined Steel and Oak’s 10th Anniversary Celebration 

Our relationship with Steel and Oak has grown over the years. Last year, they chose us as their spring charity, donating a percentage of every drink sold in their tasting room to support Family Place programming. Their support has been invaluable, and we are proud to maintain a strong, community-focused partnership with them. 

 As neighbors on the New West Quay, Steel and Oak have shown their dedication to community support in numerous ways. We are grateful for their thoughtful and community-minded crew, who continually help us in our mission to support families. 

Opportunities for family fun at community celebrations foster positive connections, which are crucial for the healthy development of growing minds. These experiences strengthen family bonds, providing a supportive environment for children to thrive. For parents, especially those navigating big life transitions, these events offer stress relief and a sense of community, enhancing overall well-being. Ultimately, such connections contribute to a happier, healthier family dynamic. 

Highlight of the Day 

One memorable moment was when a parent who works for the BC Minister of Housing thanked us for supporting housing through our paper bag house craft. It was a touching reminder of the broader impact our activities can have and the connections we build within our community. 

We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who joined us at Steel and Oak’s 10th Anniversary celebration. Your presence and participation made the day special. We look forward to more opportunities to connect, play, and grow together as a community. 

Stay tuned for more events and activities from New Westminster Family Place out in the streets. Together, we continue to build a vibrant, supportive community for all families in New Westminster. 

Empowering Families with Social Venture Partners: A Game-Changing Journey

At New Westminster Family Place, we are ecstatic to share the remarkable impact of our partnership with Social Venture Partners (SVP) Vancouver. Their unwavering support has been instrumental in our mission to bring our services directly into the community through the innovative Bringing New West Family Place to the Streets initiative.

SVP Executive Director, Helen Stortini introduces the discussion panelists: Meghan Neufeld, Executive Director of BabyGoRound, Marnie Goldenberg, Senior Director of Programs at Take a Hike Youth Mental Health Foundation, our own Dana Osiowy, Executive Director of New Westminster Family Place, and Sara Jane R. Walker, Senior Manager, Communications at LDS Learn. Develop. Succeed.

Our Executive Director, Dana Osiowy, recently had the opportunity to showcase our heartwarming story on a discussion panel at the Social Venture Partners Annual General Meeting at Van Dusen Gardens. She spoke alongside partners from Baby-go-Round, and LDS and also from Take a Hike Foundation – all SVP investees. Dana shared inspiring anecdotes highlighting our staff’s relentless dedication to supporting families during our programs, ultimately nurturing caregivers and bolstering their confidence.

What sets us apart at New Westminster Family Place is our unwavering belief in a strength-based approach that empowers families and fosters resilience. We are steadfast in our commitment to infusing this approach into the community, fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for all families.

Social Venture Partners Vancouver has played a pivotal role in our journey, not only providing critical funding through their Early Years Innovation Fund but also empowering us to advance our mission with a new theory of change. We are immensely grateful for their partnership and unwavering dedication to our cause. Our collaborative efforts have already started to yield tangible results, making a difference in the lives of families in New Westminster.

Dana Osiowy shares stories about how our New Westminster Family Place team make a difference by going the extra mile with families during our free drop-in programming.

In addition to our groundbreaking partnership with Social Venture Partners, our Bringing New West Family Place to the Streets initiative has propelled us to new heights. Notably, our initiative included Mental Health First Aid Training for influential community members. This training aims to infuse community conversations with more sensitive and supportive language, fostering an environment of understanding and empathy.

With the unwavering support of our partners and funders and the revolutionary initiatives like the one mentioned here, we are on a transformative journey to empower families, create a nurturing environment, and foster inclusive community conversations. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for New Westminster.