Sonshine Children’s Centre Launches as the First of its Kind in Canada
Sonshine Community Services has opened its long anticipated Children’s Centre, which is the first centre of its kind in Canada that provides daily, full-time therapeutic care to children traumatized by various experiences including domestic violence. The Sonshine Children’s Centre will serve approximately 40 children ages 19 months to 6 years annually, including children who reside at the shelter and those referred from the community. The goal is to prevent the cycle of violence from continuing by intervening early on in children’s development, so they can grow into healthy, positive youth and adults.
“I am now seeing women come to us for help who I saw in shelters as children fifteen years ago,” said Dr. Joy Johnson-Green, Sonshine’s Executive Director. “They are stuck in a generational cycle of violence, as they weren’t properly equipped to learn how to recognize and avoid abusive relationships. Through the Sonshine Children’s Centre’s innovative programming and experienced, trained staff, we can provide the specialized, consistent care that is so urgently needed.”
By incorporating leading edge child development research and trauma informed models, the new program will serve as a prototype.
“We are looking forward to sharing our outcomes and learnings through published research,” Joy added.
The opening of Sonshine Children’s Centre fills a void in Calgary’s spectrum of services for families.
“Nothing like it yet exists in Alberta,” said Sandy Vander Ziel, Sonshine’s Board Chair. “This way, mothers can go to work, classes or counselling sessions, knowing their children are also receiving the care they need to move past the trauma and regain the joy that should be intrinsic to every child’s life.”
Thank you to our dear friend Darrel Janz for emceeing the event, and to Chief of Police Paul Cook for attending and speaking. Your support is invaluable!
We’d also like to thank all the corporations, charitable foundations, and individual donors who helped bring the Children’s Centre programming from theory to reality! It was wonderful to have representatives from Calgary Hospital Aid Society, ConocoPhillips and Calgary Real Estate Board Charitable Foundation in attendance (as well as other individual donors and volunteers)!
There are more photos on our facebook page. As an integrated program, Sonshine accepts children ages 19 months to 6 years that have not experienced trauma, as well as children recovering from trauma. Spaces are still available, so go here to learn more about registration.