It’s possible not all kids are thrilled about going back to school, but the back to school event at the Niagara Regional Native Centre is something to get excited about.
On Thursday, August 30, for the 8th year in a row, the centre will open its doors to the community, for a day of back to school fun.
The event is free to attend, there’s a barbecue and door prizes, and kids will be given a free lunch.
The Niagara Regional Police will be there with their service dogs, and EMS personnel will make presentations with the goal of helping to keep students safe.
Concerned Kids, a puppet theatre group, will present a play on bullying, and a First Student school bus will be on-site for children who are just starting school, to help familiarize themselves with the new experience.
A-hundred-and-five previously-registered students will be given backpacks and school supplies donated by various local businesses and institutions including Royal Bank of Canada, Staples and the District School Board of Niagara.
“This event is also designed to be an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous families to get to know the Native Centre and its diverse offerings — particularly two after-school programs for children and young adults facing challenges in any part of their life,” said program coordinator Mia Bakker.
Akwe:go (for kids ages seven to 12) and its sister program Wasa-Nabin (for ages 13 to 18) are completely customized support systems tailored to the child or family’s specific needs.
Some kids might need one-on-one tutoring arranged, or counselling, or lessons in life skills.
There are preventative programs as well as interventions when necessary.
School supports can be arranged, as can group counselling, advocacy, support for children with disabilities and their families, and more.
“On the lighter side, community is created and celebrated with cooking, crafting, gardening and physical activity,” said program coordinator Theresa Gillis.
Kids also have the opportunity to join the Youth Council, to give them a say in their community and have their voices heard.”
The back to school event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin programs run one weeknight per week throughout the school year.