Williams Lake and District Credit Union branch manager Lyla Floberg (from left) and information technology manager Mark Berezan present Marie Sharpe Elementary School principal Craig Munroe a cheque to help support the school’s new program

Williams Lake and District Credit Union branch manager Lyla Floberg (from left) and information technology manager Mark Berezan present Marie Sharpe Elementary School principal Craig Munroe a cheque to help support the school’s new program

Building on family at Marie Sharpe

A new program at Marie Sharpe elementary is aiming to establish better relationships between families and their school and community.

A new program at Marie Sharpe elementary is aiming to establish better relationships between families and their school and community.

Craig Munroe, principal at Marie Sharpe elementary, said the program, called FAST (Families And Schools Together) — a non-profit agency that designs and distributes family-strengthening and parent involvement programs — is the first of its kind in School District 27 in the past five years.

“We’ve seen a great response,” Munroe said, adding nine families are so far on board with the program, which runs every Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Marie Sharpe elementary for six weeks, excluding Halloween on Oct. 31 and Thursday, Nov. 17 during fall break.

“It’s an opportunity for kids and families to connect with their community.”

FAST in Williams Lake was launched following a partnership between the staff at Marie Sharpe elementary, the Child Development Centre and the Williams Lake and District Credit Union, who are helping fund the program locally.

“How FAST works is the participating kids will stay after school and the parents will meet them here,” he said. “They’ll do a family activity, then everyone will sit down for a dinner — staff, students and parents.

“After supper there are activities for the kids, the parents and both together.”

Activities will range from guest speakers talking about community resources or programs available in and around the community, to fun games in the school’s gymnasium.

“This is all about family networking,” Munroe said. “Parents who know more do more.”

All eight teachers, plus Munroe, at Marie Sharpe elementary are participating in the program.

Munroe added the support from the CDC and the WLDCU has been phenomenal.

“The CDC is going to be doing all the dinners, and the WLDCU is providing funds for all the meals,” he said.

“That’s the only reason this is running is through the generous donations to fund it.”