I would like to nominate the Wild Child program offered by Childreach, not just because of the dramatic impact that it has had on my family but also on so many other families in our community. I truly believe that because of what Childreach does with this program, our children will be more resilient, and future generations will have a stronger connection to nature and community.
As a family, we were introduced to Childreach because of the challenges I was having connecting with my community during my parental leave as a new mom. I was not used to spending days at home having very little communication with the outside world. I truly hated my parental leave experience until someone suggested I visit Childreach’s free drop-in playgroups. I found a community of likeminded parents who not only wanted the best for their child but the best for their families. This helped me understand that my health and community connections were linked to my child’s health and community connections.
As a family, we quickly transitioned to Childreach’s free drop-in Wild Child program. It was like no other parent-child program we had been involved in. It was outside, we connected with nature and learned how to be an outdoor family, and not once did we worry about mud and scraped knees.
Although the concept of this program may seem basic – taking my baby outside seemed like a big risk as a new mom. Childreach supported me, and friends encouraged me to show up. What ended up happening was a shift in my mindset - I did not have to bubble-wrap my children by keeping them indoors. I had to give them the opportunity to explore and grow with nature.
Childreach simply provided my family with a safe place to learn, grow and connect with other parents. It has started us down a path raising children who thrive by being resilient, environmentally conscious, and connected to their community.
As a family, we love this organization so much and were so thankful for how it has shaped our parenting that we have decided to dedicate our time and money to Childreach to ensure all parents in London have access to such a program. My husband and I have since become donors, and I joined the Board of Directors.
Now our family does not wait for the Wild Child drop-in playgroup to play outdoors – we head to the woods letting our children lead the way and explore on their own as much as we can.
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