The initiative is community-wide and includes businesses, schools, the local library, the town, chamber of commerce and other service groups within Picture Butte. Recently, a Grade 11 student from Picture Butte High School (PBHS) created the group’s official logo, which is currently in the process of being formalized and finalized.
“We had a student from PBHS, Henry Berg, he had sketched a beautiful sketch of an older person’s hand and a younger person’s hand holding hands,” said Middleton, during a presentation to council. “I’m really proud of Henry,” she added.
During the community group’s update to council, business representative and Hand In Hand member Kent Kerkhoff told council the group is in the process of gearing up to pass out an application form for membership to all businesses and organizations who may be interested in becoming a Hand In Hand member. “It’s a very simple application — basically contact information. On this application form we want them to list things that they’re doing in their organization or business that they are already doing and doing well to encourage family-friendly type of activities. The second part is what can they do better and we want them to kind of brain storm within their organizations. Getting together with staff and with people that go to these places and try to find something that they might want to do better,” said Kerkhoff, during his presentation to council.
Middleton added there’s no cost to businesses or organizations and it is a free initiative. Coun. Joe Watson asked Middleton how the community organization was funded. According to Middleton, start-up funding was received from ECMap — the Early Child Development Mapping Project gathers and analyzes information about early childhood development in Alberta and builds community capacity to support families and young children.
About four years ago, ECMap Project Community Development Co-ordinator for Zone 2 Donna Cushman said, the Alberta government wanted to see how young children were doing across the province, so the provincial government launched ECMap.
“We know children do best when they’re in a supportive and caring family environment, when there’s community cohesion and when there’s policies that support what young children are doing,” said Cushman.