2018 was a year of celebration and expansion for a local organization that helps families acquire critical parental resources.

Wild Rose Community Connections not only celebrated their 20th year of serving locals, but also a few more options for accessing operational funding.

Executive Director for Wild Rose Community Connections Marianne Dickson says additional funding is allowing them to cover even more locations in the Foothills.

"The government of Alberta recognizes families shouldn't have to wait and kids shouldn't have to wait. They injected us with some more funding to broaden our reach from Nanton, Claresholm and Vulcan. So we were able to hire a few more positions, so we can have more visibility and accessibility for families in rural communities."

Along with celebrating their 20th anniversary, Dickson says a change in status this year will allow the organization to provide a larger degree of services.

"This year has been exciting, as we've been granted charitable status through Revenue Canada in April, which will allow us to access a greater avenue of funding, so we can broaden our programs to reach more families."

Dickson says one of those programs they're looking to expand in 2019, is "Dad's Central" an initiative that aims to give local dads resources, knowledge and an opportunity for quality time with their kids.

"We're into our fourth year of operating the Dad's Central program, which has attracted dads with kids from birth to age eight. We've been really trying to include all ages, but it can be hard to get older kids involved, when younger kids are running around with toys! Part of the focus of Dad's Central is offering some parenting support and understanding where their kids are at. The program aims to help any positive male role model as well, such as grandparents and uncles."

Dickson says, that for some dads, accessing traditional community programs may be difficult, or not fully supported, so they're excited to expand this program heading into 2019.

"Dads don't tend to participate in the same way in those existing programs, so we are trying to fill a gap there. It's just for dads, encouraging them to bring their kids and just have fun! We also have a trained facilitator there at all the events, so we also provide parent coaching and individual coaching with them as well."


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