When we first arrived in Cambreej, I started going to all kinds of playgroups. This city is ah-may-zing for children's programs. And most of them are free. In a 15 minute-walking radius of my house, there are three different community centres, and all of them provide various free children's activities for under-5s. Some are run by government programs and others by grants and donations. So Eliz and I started going to one on Tuesdays, called Little Music Makers. Elizabeth loves it. There's singing, dancing, instruments, kids, a teacher who knows her name, a regular appearance of a stuffed dog named Jack. . . it's pretty much heaven for her. I found out after about 7 months of free attendance, that this group was put on by a group of parents, who applied for grants to keep running the program with free attendance.
Well, then I started to feel guilty. I mean, I've been going for SEVEN months, surely I should volunteer some of my time to "pay" for this group, right?
So I went to one meeting. All of a sudden, I find out the previous grant is going to run out, and thanks to the recession, there are fewer grants available and more people in need. And even more all-of-a-suddener, I find myself fully involved in this group - figuring out a payment system for the attendees of the class, suggesting different avenues for funding, starting a blog for all of us to post on... How did this happen??!!
One of the women signed us up for a charity contest with a bank, NatWest - it's a social media-based, 'vote-for-us' kind of thing. All of us were thinking of how to get our names & faces out there for more public votes. Somehow, I guess someone knew someone who knew someone who knew someone, and the Mayor and his wife (aka the Mayoress) came to our next meeting, along with a photographer from Cambridge News.
Here is the picture they could have chosen for the newspaper:
Here is the picture I think they should have printed in the paper:
But here is the picture they actually printed in the paper:
I admit: a Mayor holding a smiling baby is a pretty good shot, but come on, I wore a dress and did my hair!!!
The bad news is, the Mayor didn't just sit down & cut us a cheque for our program (I think 50% of us thought he might just do that). But he did sit down and listen to our meeting, and his wife told us how she felt so isolated as a new Mum when they first moved to Cambridge, 'oh so many years ago', and how she was so proud to see a group of Mums doing what they could to support their community. Well, that was nice to hear, I must admit.
So now we are planning this 'campaign' for votes. I know it sounds super cheesey, but I really think the future of a community depends on the children's programs available today. And the more that parents are involved in their community, the more their children will want to be involved when they are adults. I just know I'm going to be on a bunch of Parents committees and participate in Community League activities when we are back in Edmo... hello, family dance, anyone?? :)
On a totally hysterical note: check out the other news in the same paper as us! Stephen Hawking!
Hello Smartest Man Alive, can you please read the article on page 10 and cut us a cheque? Maybe one of our kids will want to be a physicist too? Mmmkaythanksbye.