Non-profit marks 25-year milestone of ‘helping families be strong’

Daycare children painted on the sidewalk, made bracelets and got temporary tattoos at the Family Futures BBQ on June 18, 2019. Family Futures offers childcare in addition to their prenatal services. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Family Futures in Prince Albert has been guiding at-risk mothers and families through pregnancies for 25 years.

As Executive Director Donna Strauss explained, early childhood from before a baby is even born to the age of five is crucial for development.

“We have to do it right or we have the problems in our communities like gangs and violence and things because those kids just don’t belong anywhere,” she said.

Family Futures Executive Director Donna Strauss speaks at their 25th anniversary BBQ on June 18, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Family Futures celebrated the milestone with a BBQ on Tuesday.

“I think we’ve served the community well,” said Strauss. “Hundreds of families have been helped by our program; hundreds of babies born in our outreach program; hundreds of children in our daycare centres.”

The independent non-profit works closely with those in the HIV clinic, the methadone program and Access Place, for example, to resolve family crises such as addictions, violence and homelessness.

“Families have to be the first line of support for kids and so by helping families be strong, we’re supporting those children,” emphasized Strauss.

Their services include delivering milk coupons for mothers, giving referrals and providing information related to pregnancy.

In the previous fiscal year, they gave 14,000 litres of milk to families in need.

They also help with things like finances, relationships and housing: “Whatever is going on in their life so that at the end of the day that baby can come home to the best home possible.”

Family Futures staff pose at their 25th anniversary BBQ on June 18, 2019. Executive Director Donna Strauss said all are qualified to be working with at-risk families. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Deanne Constant is seven months pregnant and uses Family Futures for prenatal information.

“(My counsellor) is always a text away if I have any questions. Any time of day I can ask her for help or referrals or anything I’ve needed help with. It’s really good to be with,” she said.

She described her emotions as she gets closer to having her baby.

“I’m getting excited for him to be here—getting ready,” said Constant. “I have lots of help.”

“The needs in our community are huge,” said Strauss. “Children are our future and it should be top of mind for everybody.”

She added most of their clients refer themselves to Family Futures.