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A Place For the Whole Family

Otterburne children, who do crafts in the Providence College gym,
await outdoor play equipment

Otterburne moms, Joelle Borne and Deniese Reimer, chat while their kids play at Providence College

Providence Kicks off Fundraising Campaign for Kids’ Kollege

Providence College and Seminary is raising funds for play equipment and secure, safe toys for Kids’ Kollege, a program reaching out to families at Providence and the surrounding community of Otterburne.

“Kids’ Kollege started almost ten years ago,” says Heather Marchand, coordinator of the Kids’ Kollege program at Providence. Marchand has lived on campus for 10 years while raising two children with her husband, Dr. Christopher Marchand, professor of youth leadership. “We started the program with three moms and the toys we brought from home. Now we have almost a dozen moms and over 20 children.”

The school in Otterburne, MB, has over 600 full time students and over 50 staff and faculty. The campus has housing for more than 400 students and staff in residences, apartments, and private houses on more than 100 acres of luscious prairie landscape next to a winding river and the town of Otterburne.

Even with all the available green space, the school has recognized a need for the many families connected to and living on the Providence campus: the need for a playground and play equipment. The neighbouring town of Otterburne does not have its own playground and children are often in need of a distraction from the quiet, rural setting.

The group meets every Thursday in the school’s gymnasium or other spaces that can accommodate the kids, from just a few months old to kindergarten age. The toys and craft supplies are donated while the school provides a small budget that provides the group with a few supplies and snack time each week.

“I think it’s a great idea to try to get more play equipment for the children,” says Nicole Banman whose husband is a full-time student at Providence Seminary. “My kids are ages five and three, and there is a real need for more things for them to do out here.”

“There’s no other way for moms to meet other moms in the community except for here,” says Joelle Borne. Borne and her husband, who live in Otterburne with their two children, have been associated with the school as students and then staff members for many years.

“I was very welcome even though I wasn’t involved with the college in any way,” says Susan Sidhu, a resident of Otterburne.

“As a mom, I know the needs of raising kids and giving them a positive outlet for their energy,” says Margaret Schonewille, director of development who is coordinating the Kids’ Kollege fundraising campaign.

“Money for the playground equipment will be raised through grants and donations from interested individuals,” says Schonewille. “We are also gathering up toys in excellent condition. These toys will become a part of our Lending Toy Library and our Thursday Kids’ Kollege. We are accepting riding toys, dolls, trucks, books, puzzles, balls, which must be in excellent condition.”

The Kids’ Kollege Playground will be used by children whose parents are attending Providence, families using the Providence Community Garden, the Walking Trails and the community at large.

10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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