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Photo shows from left to right: Aliki Gladwin, interior designer for the project; Candice Harper and Carol Choi from Union Gospel Mission, responsible for setting up the new center; Sharon Gregson, child care consultant and provincial spokesperson for the $10 a day child care campaign; Shannon Kirkwood, Director of Operations at Natural Pod; and Alison Merton, Director of the Early Years at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (overseeing the Terry Taylor Early Learning and Care Centre).

The Union Gospel Mission (UGM) is an amazing organization that recognizes by removing low barriers to quality child care, women will have access to greater opportunities both for themselves and their children and gain greater equity in the workplace. This is life changing for many women and families, and better for all of us as a collective society.

The UGM is creating a new daycare specifically for mothers in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver who need support in rebuilding their lives. A huge part in making that happen is having access to safe, quality, affordable child care so they can focus on moving forward and creating a nourishing life for their whole family. UGM is an endorser of the $10aDay Child Care Plan, as is Natural Pod.

Sharon Gregson, child care consultant, suggested Natural Pod as an important resource for UGM and facilitated a tour of an existing amazing daycare center for UGM to see what was possible as they created their own. The child care centre was Terry Taylor Early Care and Learning Center in Vancouver (part of Collingwood Neighbourhood House), a center that Natural Pod had the honor of fitting out eight years ago, and who Sharon Gregson was previously the director of.

The Terry Taylor Early Care and Learning Center is such a great example of a quality facility; it’s a big part of the surrounding community, absolutely beautiful, built to LEED Gold standards and has highly qualified and very dedicated Early Childhood educators. The center chose Natural Pod to outfit their learning spaces because of our common core values. They wanted natural, sustainable, collaborative furniture that would act as a beautiful canvas to support their Reggio Emilia learning philosophy.

The group pictured above toured Terry Taylor Early Care and Learning Center for inspiration and ideas. We can’t wait to see the development of the new Union Gospel Missions daycare, it will make a huge impact on many women and children’s lives, and we’re looking forward to supporting their vision however we can.

More about the Union Gospel Mission:  ‘Union Gospel Mission is determined to transform communities by overcoming poverty, homelessness and addiction. One life at a time. That’s our vision. In a world that’s broken by poverty and addiction, we are determined to offer restoration to those in need. We do this by coming alongside men, women, and children to provide a hand up towards hope and recovery. UGM provides without discrimination: Meals, shelter, outreach and chaplaincy services that relieve suffering and renew hope. Life recovery programs that offer freedom from addictive lifestyles. Education and job preparation that equip for successful living. Affordable housing that fosters community and personal contribution. Preventative programs that build healthy families.

Advocating for the $10 a day daycare campaign, Alison Merton – Director of the Early Years at Collingwood Neighbourhood House on the left, and Shannon Kirkwood, the Director of Operations of Natural Pod, on the right.

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