Many Families are so pleased with the program they wished to share their comments:
I would like to comment on how the F&ST program positively affected my family. I will provide you with a couple of examples of how we were impacted and why the program was such a positive experience.
My daughter started Senior Kindergarden in September and was being bullied (to the point of her being physically ill daily before going to school). The F&ST team was able to provide me as a parent with different tools to assist her in coping and resolving this issue. They also worked with my daughter to boost her self esteem/confidence/coping skills. Before meeting the F&ST team I would have only worked with the school and not known where else to turn. (I would like to note here that I was not having much success at the school level). Having the F&ST team to learn from really assisted my family in learning coping/communication skills that we would not have learned elsewhere. The positive outcome I learned from this experience was that there are places/people to turn to for help!
When my daughter turned five in November it was a F&ST evening and she decided to share her birthday with the F&ST families and team over her grandparents (she could see them anytime). Weekly we looked forward to our new friends that we had made in the community. She met many friends outside of her classroom and looked forward to seeing them. It made us feel welcome in our community and closer to our school partners. We still keep in contact with some of the F&ST families through F&Stworks and look forward to seeing them on a monthly basis. The postitive outcome from this experience was our new connections in a community we had lived in for over six years.
My last comment would be concerning the make-up of the F&ST teams. The combination of local teachers, counselors, past families and government make this program such a success. Without the local teachers we would not have felt the school was as accessible/open to working with us. Without the counselors we would not have had a place to turn to for assistance for our daughter’s issue. Without the past families we would not have had the community connection. Most importantly without the government (staff) we would not have known the resources to call upon during our time of need; nor the funding to run this excellent program.
My spouse and I were delighted to be part of this program and would recommend it to anyone who qualifies.
– F&ST Family
Two years ago, our family had the privilege and pleasure to participate in a wonderful program known as Families and Schools Together. When we first decided to take part in this program, we simply wanted to get to know other families at the school that our children attended. Little did we know of the impact that it would have on each of us individually, as a family, and as a community.
Both of our children are quite shy. Our son was in Grade 2 and our daughter was entering Junior Kindergarten. During the first couple of weeks our kids made good friends fostered within the warm and friendly environment of this ten-week program. Our children looked forward to each and every night of this program. The school that we met at became a safe and fun place where families could gather together. The children were proud of the school that they attended. Each week we shared meals prepared by the families who attended the program and played games together as a family. The children were at ease with the routine of the F&ST program each week and anticipated the new and exciting activities that accompanied each evening of the program.
The staff and volunteers were incredible as they worked together to make our experience more enjoyable. They ensured that the meetings had a good flow and were there to meet every need that arose. They fostered the friendly and caring environment that enabled the families to meet and share with one another.
We believe, because of the program, that our children were able to come out of their shells more quickly. They became more confident with each progressive week of the program and became more comfortable with the families that made up the program. It was amazing to be in a venue where families of different cultures and backgrounds could meet together and learn about one another. Despite the differences in languages, religion and countries of origin, we were able to celebrate not only these differences but also the similarities. That is what being a Canadian is all about.
Two years after completing the program we are so pleased to be in contact with many of the families who participated in F&ST. Through FASTWORKS, which is a continuation of the program, we are able to meet together in different settings and continue to grow our relationships. We aren’t just meeting with friends but we have become an extended family. It continues to be a valuable experience.
This is just our brief story but be assured that there are many more stories that can be shared by the families who participated in this program.
– F&ST Family