$10,000 EAF Grant Helps Centre “Open the Virtual Door”

Dec 21, 2022

Windsor, ON – In 2022, Connections Early Years Family Centre (formerly known as The St. Mary’s Family Learning Centre) was named a beneficiary of the Youth Innovation Component of the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund. The Centre received $10,000 to implement accessible technological advancements in the community meeting room to deliver programming to families with disabilities.

Vesna Kekelj, an appointed Youth Accessibility Leader, observed the reliance on technology and how new means of communication have evolved due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vesna spearheaded the project “Opening the Virtual Door” to break down the barriers that prevent parents and guardians of young children from attending classes in person or visiting the Centre.

In order to reach these families, “Opening the Virtual Door” included installing a high-quality panoramic camera and microphones, widening two doorways, and mounting an additional monitor. Better equipment will reduce technological challenges, resulting in less time troubleshooting and more time capitalizing on group interaction and programming content. The equipment also provides a seamless way for community members to participate in our programs virtually or in person, giving parents and caregivers the option to engage in the way that best suits their families.

“Thanks to Vesna and her dedication to this project, we are grateful to receive this support from Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund. Reaching all families with young children has always been our mission, and with these enhancements, we look forward to seeing more families in the Centre both in person and virtually.”

– BARB BROWN, Executive Director, Connections Early Years Family Centre

Connections Early Years Family Centre is committed to providing support, resources, and individualized services to promote the early learning and healthy development of families and their young children from ages 0 to 6. Connections has an EarlyON Centre that offers groups for parents and children and free parenting education. They are also the creator of Be Back Soon, the only free short-term child care program in the region for families who qualify. Additionally, Connections is the lead agency of the Talk 2 Me Preschool Speech & Language Program (Essex), the Infant Hearing Program (Essex-Kent), the Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program (Essex-Kent), and the Ontario Autism Program’s Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Program.

The project is funded in part by the government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund.