Tuesday November 16, 2010

Community News

Let Them Eat Cake

Kids takever City Hall for the day



Kids get an inside look at City Hall Monday as part of National Child Week. Voice photos.


id you know that over 3.2 million Canadians are denied their birthright or the correct identification on their birth records? According to the Canadian Children's Rights Council, the Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding children's identity rights has not been properly implemented or in some provinces it never has been.

November 20 is National Child Day, created to bring awareness to children's rights and the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The Convention outlines the the basic human rights to which all children are entitled and not all get.

It is also a day to throw your support behind children's rights in Canada and voice concerns about children's rights violations to the politicians of Canada. Parents can take the initiative to educate their kids about their own rights and responsibilities.

Each year, as part of National Child Week Nov. 14 - 21, Chilliwack kids are invited to spend a day at City Hall and on Monday for the 8th time, kids      Karin Rempel, Kids and Cake coordinator. Shaw image.

cut the cake. No, I'm not

talking about the Average White Band song, but kids who actually took over City Hall and it didn't take long for the happy group to make themselves at home by plastering the walls and windows of the main lobby with their artwork. They performed some municipal duties, messed around with the mayor, participated in activities, and Coun. Pat Clark dished out the cake. At the end of the day they left tired, happy and plumper.

The annual Chilliwack event began in 2003 and was the brainchild of former mayor Clint Hames who wanted staff to be reminded of who they all really worked for. Since then, Kids and Cake Day has entrenched itself into the hearts of the mayor, councillors and staff.

Saturday, Nov. 20 is National Child Day and there will be various events taking place around the city. For starters, parents can register at Yarrow Library for Parents and Kids Chocolate-making class from 11am to 12:30pm. There will be a Toonie Sake at Prospera Centre from 1-2:30pm or kids can take a swim for a loonie at the Leisure Centre from 1-3pm. Then at 3pm, if they still have energy they can head over to the library on First Ave. for Music With Mr. I from 2-3pm and to wrap it up, kids will get free pass to the Bruins game at 7pm with the purchase of an adult ticket. Maximum 4 kids per adult ticket.

Kids and Cake Day was coordinated by Karin Rempel from the Chilliwack Early Years Committee who also made a presentation regarding National Child Day to council during their regular meeting.

Rempel told council that Chilliwack is a great place for kids to thrive despite challenges some families in the community face and was also grateful for the support she has received for her child development programs from the City.

"Thank you to council and the City of Chilliwack for your ongoing interest and support of the work with the Chilliwack Child and Youth Committee and the early years sub-committee."

Rempel brought some students with her who spoke about their take on life in Chilliwack.

Becky Beauchamp, 11, was the first of the two girls to speak and she talked about to the issue of child rights.

"What I like about being a kid in Chilliwack because of the freedoms I have. I have been learning about children's rights and I feel lucky there is no slavery and no children who are forced to go to work instead of going to school," said Beachamp.

"Since attending Free Day in Vancouver, my school has been involved in Free the Children which is an organization with respecting children's rights action and awareness campaigns."

The young Beauchamp charmed pleased the mayor and councillors by saying that her school, Central Elementary Community School collected 636 cans of food for donation to the Salvation Army as part of their Halloween For Hunger food campaign.

Beauchamp also talked about an upcoming event Nov. 19, called Free the Children's Vow of Silence.

"I will try to remain silent for 24-hours to support all of the children around the world who's basic rights are not respected," she said.

Beauchamp also touched on some current issues the city is dealing with like housing, crime and poverty.

"What I would like to see changed in Chilliwack is a reduction in the cost of housing. Housing in Chilliwack costs a lot of money so its hard for the homeless and most of the people living in poverty to rent a house."

"Something else I would like to see in Chilliwack is a reduction in crime because in Chilliwack there seems to be a lot of crime and I think as a community we should be able to build some trust with the people around us," she said. "We should be able to leave our bikes and toys etc outside without being worried somebody walking down the block might take them."

Gaetz responded by telling the young lady that she gave a great speech and that she was "bang on".

"You're on the right track, we're thinking about things like housing right now and we've introduced some new housing into the City of Chilliwack," said Gaetz. "There's one apartment complex down on Spadina and Corbould that is low cost housing and we also have one right here, right by City Hall that is low cost housing as well and you'll see that if you go down school street there (are) several organizations that are putting together assorted housing for youth and for people with mental illness and that's all part of our community."

The next diminutive speaker was Dahat Durban also from Central Community School on Young Rd.

She told council in a matter-of-fact way that "Chilliwack would be a better place if everybody was a Central'er."

"Most of the kids at my school are "SHARKS". Not the mean scary type but the Central School kind Safe, Helpful, Awesome Attitude, Responsible and Kind," said Durban.

"Last year there was an earthquake in Haiti and we made a fundraiser to help out the people who lost their homes and together our school raised over $15,000."

The young lady said there were three things that she'd like to see changed;

"People should donate more to food banks because there are a whole bunch of people right here in Chilliwack that need that food and I think that's great that Shaw Cable and Save-On Foods are encouraging others to give to the food bank by matching their donations. "

Durban talked about recycling, composting and cleaning up the city in general referring to the example of a senior she has seen picking up garbage near her home.

"When I look out the window I see litter and I see an old man who picks it up and this shows that he cares for the city and the earth and when I grow up I want to be just like him," she said.

Her third mention was that she wanted to see wars come to an end. "People think war will bring peace to the countries but it doesn't it just brings fighting."

Gaetz told Durban that she was proud of the work the school does.

"I think that's fantastic and I love the fact that you gather food," said Gaetz. "You think about the food bank and this time of year particularly it's really important to think about the food bank and helping people who might be in need."

"I also appreciated your remarks about recycling and composting," she told Durban. "Those are really well-taken and our community is getting better at it, but we've still got a ways to go."

Gaetz closed by thanking the Bookman for the cake and also noted that Rempel was quitting her job with the Chilliwack Early Years Committee and thanked Rempel for her years of hard work and service to the community and wondered what Chilliwack will do without her.

"From the time I became a councillor, it's been very apparent to me that Karin not only has the passion for kids in our community, but for the systems that holds kids together, the parents, the families, the caregivers, businesses, all kinds of people that interact with kids on a daily basis."

"Karin, as soon as I became mayor, showed up in my office armed with booklets on kids and how kids integrate into communities and kid-friendly housing and kid-friendly busing and kid-friendly everything and I really appreciate that Karin because you added to my understanding and professional development in that way."

The mayor then read a letter of resolutions from the latest UBCM meeting in support of early childhood development.

There is a community event called "When Families Thrive, Children Thrive" that will be held at City Hall, Thursday Nov. 25 from 12 noon to 3pm. Sandwiches will be served at noon followed by keynote speaker, Paul Kershaw from UBC. RSVPS were taken until Nov 15. See Community Events in the Voice for more information.

For more information on the rights of children in Canada visit the government website here.

For information on Success by Six go here.

See more photos below.

Copyright (c) 2010 The Valley Voice


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