Every community has hidden gems, places and people that make the lives of those around them easier.
Campbell River is certainly no exception to that.
Gwen Bennett and the rest of the staff at Cari’s Infant and Toddler center are a few of those local gems.
Cari’s has been providing daycare for infants and toddlers for 22 years. Located on the property of Carihi Secondary School, the centre is instrumental in allowing young parents to continue their education.
Bennett explains that Cari’s offers the childcare component of Campbell River’s Young Parent program. About one-quarter of the spots available at Cari’s are used for students’ continuing education; the other spots are available for working parents or children with special needs.
“Cari’s daycare has given me a better chance with my education by caring for my baby while I focus on my schooling,” says Katie Crombie. “The ladies at Cari’s are always so nice to talk to. They give me tips, listen to how bad of a night I had, and I trust them fully with my son.”
The families at Cari’s have come from a wide spectrum. Bennett explains that they care for children coming from less fortunate families, busy families, working families and your everyday families.
Cari’s offers support for all the parents.
“Being a teenager is hard in the first place,” says Bennett. “Becoming a parent adds a different dimension of challenges.”
The support offered at Cari’s ranges from monthly visits from a public health nurse to having an infant development consultant available for parents. They even go so far as to have a grocery cupboard available for the hungry and perhaps less fortunate parents.
Cari’s Infant and Toddler centre has support from various different groups and organizations in Campbell River, however, as a community you can all help support the formation of a daycare system in our province simply by signing the “10 dollar a day plan” online petition.
As of right now, daycare is not designated to one ministry. Some believe it is a forgotten service and it’s time to change that so that all kids and parents can have trustworthy daycare options like Cari’s.