See more pictures on The Falstaff Family Centre Facebook page.
It was a beautiful, sunny late summer day and the grounds of the Falstaff Family Centre were alive with the happy squeals of children running around and having fun. Saturday, Sept. 14 was the Family Fun Fair at the Falstaff Family Centre. The event was organized by the Falstaff-based Stratford Middle Years, an independent Kindergarten to Grade 8 school. Children’s games, storytelling, refreshments and a toy sale were all part of the day’s activities. Entertainment included a group of child performers from Toronto, Canada, called the Samba Kidz, who are trained in Samba music, Steel Pan, breakdancing, stilt walking and theatre. Part of the proceeds from the day’s events were donated to PLOW, (Public Library on Wheels), which delivers children’s reading programs and books, especially in local communities underserviced by traditional library facilities.
The 1929 neo-Gothic building, surrounded by giant Maple trees, is a former school that Loreena bought at auction in the Fall of 2000. Locals feared the school was going to be torn down by developers and replaced with modern housing. Instead, she bought the historic building and oversaw its transition into a facility for volunteer and not-for-profit community groups. The latest group to join the Falstaff family is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Stratford, which provides mentoring to local children. The organization has been part of the local Stratford and area community since 1970. Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters provided mentoring to 288 children. It offers a number of different programs, from the traditional match ups of a ‘Big Brother’ or ‘Big Sister’ to a ‘Little Brother’ or ‘Little Sister,’ as well as various in-school mentoring and group programs. There are currently more than 40 Little Brothers and Sisters waiting for a ‘Big’.
The Falstaff Family Centre is just one of the civic projects that Loreena shares her time with when she’s not on tour, performing or tending to her independent record label. “I always envisioned The Falstaff Family Centre serving the families of Stratford and Perth County,” says Loreena. I’m delighted that it’s now doing that and thriving in so many different ways.”