By Kiyoshi Dembo, Vice President & Chair of the Program Committee
In 2013, JSS achieved the latest record of program attendance. The total number of program participants was 3,247, which was the highest number for past 6 years. (See the Table 1)

Fiscal Year Total Number of Program Users
2008 1101
2009 1327
2010 2040
2011 2880
2012 3006
2013 3247

Table 1

Among the 10 different kinds of programs, we could not have expanded the following four child-minding programs without the support of our conscientious and hard-working volunteers and the $2,400 Endowment Fund provided by the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC). Further, we could not have implemented the Canadian Conversational English course, which had 16 sessions with childcare provided, twice a year. The cumulative number of participants (mainly mothers and children) in attendance was 359. We also implemented 8 sessions of the Hiyokko program, which was designed for 3-year-old children and their mothers, and 6 sessions of Yoga and Dance for Moms and their Kids. Again the total number of participants was 176. With the Endowment Fund we were able to pay the rental fee for the childcare room at the JCCC and to purchase a variety of new toys and 25 good Japanese language picture books appropriate for 2 to 5 year old children. We also purchased 15 educational books related to child development. Those books and toys were found to be beneficial for our current clients and will be useful for our future clients as well.
During the coldest and harshest winter since 1976-1977 we tried to implement the Nobody’s Perfect program (NP) mainly for couples, running from January to March. However, we were not able to attain the minimum number of participants as per the requirements that were set by the Public Health Department to facilitate effective group work for the parents. Therefore, JSS implemented one preliminary information session in March and redesigned this program for Japanese speaking mothers. We have been successfully holding three sessions as of May 10, 2014, with one Public Health instructor, one qualified JSS instructor, one NP coordinator and 6 childcare volunteers. Right now, 9 mothers and 10 children are getting together.
We evaluate the program each time we finish it using the results of questionnaires for participants and volunteers. And we make every effort to improve it’s quality. One of our goals is to achieve better satisfaction for both participants and volunteers. Most importantly, we should make it our first priority that every child enjoy the program and have a good time with their parents during the program and/or afterwards at home.
I, as chairman of the program committee still recognize many challenges that we should overcome for our child-minding programs. We should provide more training opportunities so that volunteers can obtain the essentials for childcare such as baby-sitting, CPR training, and more with the fee covered by JSS. Also we should encourage volunteers to go through the Police Reference Check for Vulnerable Clients. Thus, JSS will build a strong volunteer base for childcare programs. JSS should continue to make every effort to achieve these challenging goals.
Thank you, JCCC and Ikebata Nursery for providing their facility.
Thank you, JSS instructors and volunteers for providing better quality of the services.
Thank you, participants and their children for enhancing the quality of the programs.
Thank you, NAJC for providing the financial means to secure our child-minding programs for 2013-2014.