One step forward, two steps back…
For some reason -maybe it’s the ‘Ides of March’ effect- this month is always a tough time to manoeuver. Last year we were wondering if we would have space for the upcoming school year program when the promised portables fell through… of course they did appear, 3 of them, just in time. The year before that our registration numbers took a dive leaving us wondering if we could survive financially… of course, the following September, registrations almost doubled.
This year is no different… provincial budget cuts have knocked our budget plans silly as we scramble to serve a record number of children and their families. If you looked over the annual Church of Christ budget report, you would see that registrations are our main source of funding with government grants a close second. We found out recently, just after we made our budget for the next year, that the provincial government funds (STEP program and Quality Program Fund) are cut.
(If you are reading this and saying to yourself… “What exactly IS Glory Garden??”, I will catch you up. Glory Garden is a ministry of this church which serves the community by offering out-of-school care for Kindergarten to Grade 6 children. We have operated as a licensed, fully accredited program for almost 10 years with the last 4 at Ecole Parkside. We run from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday to Friday…pretty much year round and see about 80 children per day come in and out the doors. Licensed capacity is 62 children at any one time but we have various combinations of usage times…ex. Some children only use the ‘ before-school’, or the Kindergarten ‘during-the-day’, or the ‘after-school’, portions of our service…some use all three. Our goal is to share God’s love for these children and their families by providing caring, affordable and flexible child care in a program that is centred on biblical principles focussing on God’s amazing love for each and every one. )
So, keep us in your prayers, thoughts and actions if any of the following ideas seem like something you could participate in.
- Pray for wisdom as we look ahead to the direction of Glory Garden…..and answer questions like, “Are we meeting our goals?”, “ Can we continue to increase registrations due to high demand”, “ How do we balance the financial books with less?”
- Pray for our staff….they are tired. I see it on their faces and in their eyes as they go nonstop to care for these children, plan and prepare programs, connect with parents and families, etc., etc.
- Consider offsetting some of our costs by donating materials… food items for snacks, disposable plates, cups, cutlery…..we use truckloads of everything!
- Drop your bottles, milk containers, cans, juice boxes, etc. off at the depot with our number 3010-9985 on the bag or box.
- Come by and visit….especially from 3 to 5 p.m. There are SO many opportunities for you to offer a helping hand to, read a story to, or caring word with, one or two children who just get missed in the mayhem. We have a staff of 10 or more on during that time, but it seems like we never have enough eyes, hands, feet, patience, attention, energy…. to keep up with the incredible level of needs each child presents.
March will come and go…. I know. We go one step ahead, two steps back it seems. Journey with us and step in as you can. And we give Him thanks.