The Pickering Public Library has partnered with a local non-profit to help children from low-income families with their education needs.
Residents will now be able to use the Scarborough-based education bank — without leaving the region. A team-up that was desperately needed, according the executive director of the program, Theresa Pastore.
“It’s very exciting because we’ve been wanting to reach out to Durham and find a way to service them.”
The education bank — a local non-profit helps provide children with things they need to thrive in school. This along with a number of different programs and service offered for families.
“We offer not just free school supplies, but fun activites, great books. we have amenities for care,” says Pastore.
The organizer who is part of Parents Engaged in Education says after the past year — they wanted to offer a service that helps children not only with school but also their development in life as well.
“More importantly our kids become a part of the community through the education bank kids club.”
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Normally residents would have to travel to the centre located in Scarborough near Kennedy Road and Highway 401. But now Durham families can order online – for local pick up at the central public library in Pickering. A partnership the CEO of Pickering Public Libraries, Jackie Flowers says — just works with who they are.
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“This is a natural partnership where the library could really service a platform for a community group that has a really great mission,” says Flowers.
“We are all about providing equitable access to resources and services and we have a structure in place that moves resources all around.”
“We have already had people coming in from Durham,” says Pastore. “But a lot of low-income families don’t have access to transportation that would bring them here. So we expect a big up-tick with the services being available.”
The pilot program will be in place at the central public library in Pickering until December. A service that officials say could help hundreds of families.
“This is often a very quiet need in the community when it comes to accessing education material school supplies,” says Flowers.
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“We have heard through community partners that the need existed.”
The education bank has been open since February — and is already serving 1,000 children. The worry now — is how long funding will keep them afloat — with no help from the government.
“Every level of government we go to say well we don’t have the budget right now,” says Pastore.
“It’s frustrating that we are out trying to get ten dollars, five dollars just to stay alive.”
But she keeps going as it’s a desperate need for children to excel in school.
“We need to all come together to make sure they have every opportunity to be their best self and build a future full of success.”
For more information on how to use the service or how you can help out — visit their website at educationbank.ca
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