Making ordinary magic

May 18, 2023


Province renews commitment to support 24 family resource centres

As executive director of Acorn Family Place, Emma Fineblit is intimately aware of the challenges facing families in our community today.

“One in five children in Manitoba lives in poverty, and the cost of basic needs has gone up. We’re still feeling the mental health impacts of the pandemic and the social isolation that went along with it,” she told a roomful of government officials, colleagues, and friends on Monday.

“We know that every family needs a bit of support—and especially families living in poverty, single parent families and families facing a multitude of other barriers.

“It takes a village to raise a child. For hundreds of families every year, Acorn Family Place is that village—and we’re not alone.”

“It takes a village to raise a child. For hundreds of families every year, Acorn Family Place is that village—and we’re not alone.”

This week, the Manitoba government announced its renewed commitment to match up to $4.5 million  in donations made to United Way Winnipeg’s For Every Family initiative over three years to support 24 family resource centres around the city—like Acorn Family Place.

“With United Way’s investment and with this announcement of ongoing matching support from the province,” Fineblit said, “we’ll be able to keep doing the work that makes a difference in the lives of families.”

As part of the announcement, Fineblit took Families Minister Rochelle Squires and Municipal Relations Minister Andrew Smith on a tour of the vibrant, multi-level West End space.

The ministers learned about a catering program that helps feed Winnipeggers experiencing homelessness and visited the centre’s colourful child care playroom—where more than 3,000 kids spend time every year.

The work being done at Acorn Family Place and other family resource centres around Winnipeg mirrors the three main outcomes of the For Every Family initiative: to keep kids out of care, lessen the impact on poverty, and support early childhood development.

For Every Family funded liaison positions at six family resource centres to help navigate the child welfare system. Since 2021, this critical service reunited 41 children with their families and prevented 166 kids from entering care.

Free tax filing assistance (offered by SEED Winnipeg and Community Financial Counselling Services) has also helped more than 5,800 people file 7,300 tax returns since 2018.
This has resulted in an incredible $30.8 million in tax refunds and benefits returned to families.

Squires said she sees the incredible value in “investing in quality programs and supports that are close to home and contribute to families’ well-being.”

“We know that strengthening families today has a positive impact for generations,” she said. “We are proud to partner, once again, with United Way Winnipeg on the important work they are doing—connecting Manitoba families with important services and programming.

“The work that you do is essential and I appreciate everything that you all do.”

“We know that strengthening families today has a positive impact for generations.”

Dave Johnston of Johnston Group, Chair of the United Way Winnipeg For Every Family Working Group, showed appreciation to the government for its commitment—and thanked the private donors who make the financial match possible.

“We’re so grateful to the Province of Manitoba for this significant investment to further the impactful work and ordinary magic that happens every day at these 24 family resource centres,” he said, adding he’s excited about the possibilities this funding can bring forward, like hiring staff, offering more programs, and keeping the doors open longer for families in need.

“These 24 family resource centres that are supported by the For Every Family program and what they do on a day-to-day basis and understanding how important they are to our community each and every day,” he said. “While they’re all very different … at the core, all they’re doing is bringing the community together and assisting the community.”

Fineblit said it’s the collaborative efforts of organizations like hers, along with United Way Winnipeg donors and the province, that together change the lives of hundreds of Winnipeggers every year.

“Family resource centres like ours offer a safe space of belonging, where families can grow and learn, where they can meet basic needs like food and clothing and where they can connect with other families in the community,” she said.

“We’re all connected.”



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