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Hand In Hand thrives

Posted on March 4, 2014 by Sunny South News

What is the community of Picture Butte doing to invite families into the town and to make families feel comfortable?

What makes the town special? A new group, Hand In Hand Picture Butte Thrives, is in the process of answering those questions. The new group’s vision statement is to celebrate the uniqueness of being citizens, of all ages, of Picture Butte. “We want to be a community that totally embraces all citizens — young and old,” said Manna Middleton, organizer of the group and operator of the Bee Hive Childcare Centre in Picture Butte. Middleton has lived in town and has operated a business for the past 16 years. Students of Picture Butte High School have the opportunity to create a logo for the family friendly initiative supported by the Early Mapping Project, the Town of Picture Butte and the Picture Butte Chamber of Commerce. The contest ends Mar. 17. Students can e-mail logos to The winner will receive a three-month membership from Busy Bee Fitness and a certificate from Koster’s Bakery. The winning logo will start to be seen around town in April.

In April, Middleton noted, the community can start applying to meet the criteria to be set out by the group to get recognized and be a part of the Hand In Hand Picture Butte Thrives initiative. “The criteria that will be set forth for people to apply for is to better themselves as an organization in ways that reflect community,” added Middleton. Margaret Van Egmond, an early childhood community resource co-ordinator, said the Early Childhood Mapping Project is a five-year government project that gathered information on how children are doing at age five or when they are in their first year of early childhood services programming or Kindergarten. “The results identify kids that are at risk, they identify children that are doing well and developmentally appropriate and in five basic areas — physical health and well being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and thinking skills and communication and general knowledge. What we’ve found was that the children in Picture Butte are doing well. Certainly, above the provincial average and actually better than the county average but no child is expendable and we want to improve those results so that all children are doing well,” said Van Egmond. The Early Childhood Mapping Coalition Lethbridge County includes Nobleford, Coalhurst, Coaldale and Picture Butte and is funded by the Alberta government and led by Alberta Education. Van Egmond said the group wants to celebrate and recognize the community and the organizations in it. “Let’s give them the recognition they deserve,” added Van Egmond, a retired teacher. There are two phases of the initiative, according to Van Egmond. Number one is how are employers meeting the needs of employees that are also part of a family and how does the employer or business respond to the needs of young families? “For instance — if a family is waiting in a dentist office in town — what is there that is developmentally appropriate to engage the time of a young child?” asked Van Egmond. Both Middleton and Van Egmond noted the Town of Picture Butte and the community has been very supportive of the new initiative.

As a motto says, “It takes a county to raise a child.”

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