A child shall lead us
A few months ago my daughter and I visited the Mae Bachur animal shelter.
The purpose was to adopt a homeless kitten to complement our family and do our part in supporting the shelter.
I had prepped her by telling her how the animals came to the shelter and that this particular shelter had a “no kill” policy (which prompted a full out indignant verbal tirade directed at any animal shelter that did have a “kill” policy).
I added that Mae Bachur was a nonprofit organization funded by donation, operated and serviced by volunteers.
Our daughter needed to know in detail exactly what the volunteers do, was there an age limit and could anyone be a volunteer.
I could see the wheels turning in her very determined head as she questioned the lady at the front desk to see what a soon-to-be eight-year-old could do to help.
The lady very patiently answered all questions and gave wonderful appropriate suggestions.
After being approved for adoption we took home a very lovely wee ginger kitten that had begun his life on the street.
Our daughter named him Little Guy.
We, as a family, felt we had done our part for the cause.
However, a few days later, our daughter came to us and said that she had been thinking (this is always scary for her parents) and that she felt adopting a kitten wasn’t enough.
Sure we had saved this one but what about the others?
She believed that we could do more and suggested that she needed to actually volunteer at the shelter, grooming, walking, and playing with the animals.
She added that we had a lot of space and could foster various animals in need.
I agreed and now felt for sure we had done our part.
Our daughter had other ideas.
Her birthday was approaching and when asked what she would like as a gift, she replied that she had enough stuff.
Instead, she would like to host a party, invite her friends and, in lieu of gifts, she would like the guests to bring a monetary donation to the Mae Bachur animal shelter.
We went to the shelter and got a small donation canister.
Our daughter collected almost $200.
Ralph and Joie McBryan
Open letter to Patrick Rouble acting minister of Health and Social Services:
I met Thursday evening with the owner of the Curious Buddies Day/Night Care and Preschool in Riverdale to learn the facts for myself and see if there was anything I could do to assist her.
I was impressed by Lilian McCuaig’s sincerity, commitment and dedication.
I was equally impressed by the cleanliness, brightness and spaciousness of her daycare.
McCuaig has invested a considerable sum of money renovating, decorating and furnishing the space to create a child-friendly play and learning environment.
I can see why so many of the parents who send their children there leapt to her defence in the media when your department said it was revoking her temporary licence for failing to comply with some health, safety and administrative regulations.
McCuaig shared some of her inspection reports with me.
In my opinion, many of the outstanding concerns noted after the most recent inspection are fairly minor and/or of a technical nature and should be quite easy to address, with a little guidance from the staff in your department.
All it would take is both sides sitting down together and agreeing on a process and some details.
During my visit, it soon became apparent that McCuaig, who has worked in the daycare field for more than four years, has tried hard to comply with the regulations governing Yukon daycares since she opened her doors last fall.
In less than a year, she went from caring for five children to 44.
She now employs a staff of seven, including herself, and has even been approved to bring in foreign workers with training in the child-care field to assist her as her business continues to grow.
McCuaig also showed me documentation indicating that several other daycares in the Yukon have been cited for various infractions, going back as early as 2001, without being shut down.
If it is now the department’s policy that such issues will result in a licence suspension, the implications for Yukon parents could be very far-reaching.
I realize it is not normal for a minister to get involved at this level, but I believe the circumstances of this case are unique and warrant your intervention.
There is a real shortage of quality child-care services in the Yukon.
The decision to shut down Curious Buddies on such short notice will leave 44 children and their parents — not to mention McCuaig and her employees — in a very difficult situation.
I am requesting you to instruct your staff to take another look at McCuaig’s situation to see how the department might be able to assist her to comply with the regulations, so that she can continue to provide the quality childcare Yukoners want and need.
MLA Whitehorse Centre