Phil Bouvier Family Centre
Inner city activists have known for a long time that children in their neighbourhoods don’t perform as well in school as children from other parts of town. We worked with a group of community partners to create the Phil Bouvier Family Centre to provide support not just for kids but for the whole family.
In 2002, a group of researchers led by Clyde Hertzman released a report on the Community Asset Mapping Project, comparing the early child development of children in different parts of Vancouver. The report confirmed that “the determinants of success in early child development are to be found in the environments where children grow up, live, and learn.” The researchers found, not surprisingly, that children in inner city neighbourhoods were less likely to have successful physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.
In 2004, a childcare centre came up for sale in Strathcona, the neighbourhood where children had been shown to be most at risk. A coalition of childcare providers came to Central City Foundation with a proposal that CCF purchase the building, not only to save the childcare spaces, but also to create a space for a whole new concept: a service hub for neighbourhood families.
In the introduction to the Community Asset Mapping report, the researchers express their hope that future studies will show a decrease in the gaps between neighbourhoods. We and our partners share this hope. That’s why building the Phil Bouvier Family Centre was about much more than buying a building and providing childcare space. Instead, the Centre acts as a hub for services that address the needs of the whole family, with a particular focus on Aboriginal families. Services include parenting programs, early literacy, hearing and vision testing, and visits from pediatric nurses—and new programs are being added all the time.
The centre was named after the late Phil Bouvier in honour of his passionate commitment to the project. The centre is managed by Vancouver Native Health Society.
This project was made possible thanks to the many generous donors to Central City Foundation and our funding partners, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Agreement, Vancouver Foundation, Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund, Vancity, Victoria Foundation, The Christopher Foundation and CIBC.
“We are providing services in a building that we feel proud to work in and have families come to with their children.”
– Horacio Valle Torres, Phil Bouvier Family Centre.