A new book of pictures and a short documentary aims to break down barriers and shine a light on all that Ladysmith does to support early years programming for children and families.
The Ladysmith Early Years Partnership (LEYP) into Your Community book launch is taking place on Tuesday as part of the National Child Day celebration at Aggie Hall.
“A picture tells a thousand words. It’s another tool to connect families with community and community with families,” said LEYP’s early years community coordinator Jacqueline Neligan.
“We’ll have our Resource Guide that we created last year but this year it’s like an extension of that so when a parent is kind of in a struggle or looking for something they’ll be able to thumb through the book.”
From the program offerings at the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) and Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) to swimming lesson at the Frank Jameson Community Centre, the book paints a picture of the blanket of programs providing support here in town.
Local photographer Ashley Marston visited the programs throughout over several months gathering video and still images.
“I was just trying to give people a really good feel for what they could find inside the doors of all these programs,” she said. “To make it visually accessible for people so that any young family, or new family to the area, they could see for themselves or show their children why it was so welcoming.”
In addition to the smaller books that will be made available next week at National Child Day, a short documentary will also be screened for the first time. There is also a larger ‘poster board’ size book to be distributed out to gathering points for information in town such as city hall, the library and chamber of commerce.
The decision to create a book rather than present the material digitally was also very much deliberate.
“It’s so nice having something tangible in your hands and we wanted to have a book that was hearty so kids could thumb through it and get some use out of it,” Marston added.
“I think it’s definitely more impactful for people to have in their hands and look through.”
Also playing an important role in the project were VIU fourth-year nursing students Savannah Sam, Louanne Colman, Youngjin Kim who are completing a community placement and carried on the worked started by last year’s graduates with the Resource Guide.
“We’re tying the whole book launch into our research class,” Colman said, explaining how they’ll be surveying people at National Child Day about how they became aware of the event.
“It’s important so we can be in contact with all the LEYP agencies and let them know these are the people who are using your programs, this is how they’re finding out about.”
Early Development Instrument Scores across the province continue to rise and while Neligan said Ladysmith has great programming in place it’s important to break down barriers to access.
“It’s a tool for families to have the night before swimming lessons, breaking down barriers for children and parents and talking discussion points so they can actually show their grandparents or neighbours this is what we do,” she said.
National Child Day takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Aggie Hall, with a host of child friendly activities, homemade pizzas and organizations and resources all geared to children and their families.