Better Beginnings Waterloo (BBW) is a program of Adventure4Change.
We are a community-led initiative that brings quality programming to children, parents, and families in the Waterloo community of Lakeshore South. We implement the Better Beginnings Better Futures evidence-based model for children as they begin their journey in primary education. Together with families, educators and community organizations; we build and grow healthy, vibrant neighbourhoods for everyone.
Community engagement and development are high on our list of priorities and we offer many opportunities for parents and community members to be involved through participation in program leadership or participation on organising and planning teams. We invest in parents and community members by hosting volunteer and leadership training workshops, a variety of themed parent groups, family trips, and family fun night events within the community! Each programs is designed to be accessible and available to all.
Our focus area consists of the neighbourhoods that represent three local elementary schools – Cedarbrae Public School, Winston Churchill Public School, and Sir Edgar Bauer Catholic Elementary School. Within each of these schools, and in our Neighbourhood Hub location we offer a variety of enriching in-school and afterschool programs through the year, including March break and the summer months.
We have 2 primary locations: The Neighbourhood Hub, 465 Phillip Street (usually open 8:30 – 5:00 pm, Monday- Friday) and the community room at Cedarbrae Public School.
Better Beginnings Waterloo is grateful to the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation for the generous way that they have supported our efforts.
“Adventure4Change is a group of individuals who came together because they saw a need in
their community for quality and safe children’s programs, mentorship and guidance to youth
who may find themselves in distress or on a road to destructive behaviours and life choices. They
provide a safe environment for youth and their families. They provide a supportive net to
member of the community. Their leadership and gifts are crucial to so many in a community
that already has so much against it. A4C is more than programming and events. It really is the
core of the Lakeshore South Community for children, teens, young adults and parents. It is
Kristi Dudgeon, community member, LSCA Co-Chair
Adventure 4 Change, is a registered not for profit organization that addresses issues related to poverty and inequity for children and youth, through preparing and equipping people to live lives characterized by vitality and contribution. A4C believes that change comes about as individuals communities are enabled to take greater responsibility for the betterment of their lives.
The Better Beginnings Waterloo Vision:
To support children and their families in North Waterloo through accessible, community based programs that foster learning, holistic growth, and healthy development.
- The inestimable worth, dignity and potential of each and every individual.
- The central and unequivocal role of parents, families and community in the development of the child.
- Community is enhanced as partnerships are embraced..
- We celebrate and affirm the diversity and immense potential of our community and each and every
- We emphasise empowerment over charity as they way that change is sustained .
How do we do this?
Better Beginnings staff work closely with community partners, volunteers, local schools, and the lead agency Adventure4Change to plan and implement quality programs and activities for the community. It’s a group effort, where collective engagement is critical. Community members play a central leading role with the opportunity to participate at every level of the project. It is through input from parents, community members, and school staff (teachers and administrators), that we develop programs that are relevant to the needs of the community and children. All programs strive to improve childhood development by focussing on one or more areas:
- Physical health, activity, and wellness
- Emotional and social development and wellbeing
- Academic and literacy support
- Leaders growth and giving back to community
While we are always looking for new and innovative program ideas, every program we offer aims to encourage healthy childhood development through the listed avenues.
Community involvement at every level is a hallmark of the Better Beginnings program. Leadership teams are comprised of at least 51% community members. The steering team provides overall leadership with program, promotions and research teams each making essential contributions.
Any success that BBW achieves is largely a result of the efforts of the many talented and committed men and women who volunteer week after week.