Initiative building family connections, strengthening children’s literacy skills


‘Families always draw great strength and information by sharing with each other’
Deron Hamel

The Building Connections initiative is creating strong family connections while strengthening literacy skills for children participating in the service, says Tanya Sather, a co-executive director for the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI).

Tanya says the best long-term result that could stem from the service, which is in its second year of three-year funding from the United Way, would be to enhance connections and friendships for children and their parents and to see them continue to flourish after the service ends.

“It’s always good to get families together — that’s one big thing,” Tanya tells the BACI Blast.

“Families always draw great strength and information by sharing with each other. That was one of our key goals and we’ve (accomplished) that.”

The Building Connections initiative, which is a drop-in service offered every second Saturday at Twelfth Avenue Elementary School in Burnaby, provides a forum for children aged zero to six to learn literacy skills through music therapy and fun-based activities.

For parents, the initiative provides networking opportunities to learn about community resources and successes from other families.

The music-therapy aspect of the program has been particularly successful, says Tanya, adding that research is showing that repetitive music helps enhance speech development and literacy skills for children.

An on-site music therapist leads children in activities and provides parents with information about the positive impact music has on strengthening literacy skills for children. An early childhood education expert is also on hand to answer questions.

Tanya says there has been an outpour of positive feedback from families.

“It has become quite a success,” she says. “We just completed some surveys and families gave us lots of positive information about it. . . . And it has been fun. That’s the biggest thing.”

Looking ahead, those involved with the initiative would like to bring in guest speakers to lead discussions about topics important to families, says Tanya.

“If families tell us they’re interested in, say, nutrition, we have access to the local health nurse who can come in to give advice,” she explains.

“We would make sure that it’s family led.”

Click here for more information about this service.

The BACI Blast will be including future stories with family members to hear first-hand about the benefits people are seeing from this service.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)


One Response to “Initiative building family connections, strengthening children’s literacy skills”

  1. Youngster enhancing strengths through Building Connections program « BACI Blast Says:

    […] here to read a related […]

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