Barriere Strong Start BC facilitator, Ms. Miette (centre), is shown encouraging parents and youngsters on a story walk trail in an area park. (Barriere Strong Start photo)

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Rocking the pandemic and rolling along with a smile

As we navigate COVID-19 within our communities, many residents continue to step forward to make a difference in helping others during this pandemic. Sometimes they work in a group, sometimes individually, and sometimes they bring a whole new perspective full of fresh ideas while navigating BC Health’s social distancing guidelines.

A number of parents in the community of Barriere recently put forward their request “that a moment needs to be taken to appreciate the dedication of one individual who stepped up when needed”.

These parents tell that when COVID-19 temporarily closed down schools, this meant that the free drop-in Strong Start BC program for children ages birth to four years old at the Barriere Elementary School also had to close its doors.

Ms. Miette, who at the time was new to the position of Barriere’s Strong Start facilitator, did not waiver, instead she took this as an opportunity to get creative and continue working with her families in new and innovative ways.

“How truly amazing an individual she was in her ability to adapt the program without missing a beat!” said the Strong Start family parents.

They tell that when school closed, Ms. Miette quickly connected with Barriere Strong Start families through social media by posting videos of herself reading children’s stories, singing songs, and creating challenges for their youngsters to complete at home.

“This gave the students a new perspective of their teacher and her ability to overcome the challenges we all faced,” said the parents.

Next, as bans started lifting, she began hand-delivering craft packages and reading stories in the children’s driveways from afar, and as expected, the kids loved the one-to-one time with Ms. Miette and the saying goodbye with “an air hug”. She also arranged to have small groups meet at the park or the North Thompson Fall Fairgrounds to engage in story walks and songs.

Ms. Miette practiced good social distancing with the families, they only met in small groups in large areas, and mostly they were outside. She also brought along on outings a small hand washing station that can be set up anywhere for everyone to use.

When not doing story walks, or scavenger and treasure hunts, Ms. Miette continued to come up with creative ways to connect through delivering craft packages, and themed story time packages by leaving them on the doorstep of her Strong Start families.

“Ms. Miette has gone above and beyond her call of duty to continue providing an engaging and fun program for the youngsters of Barriere,” said the Strong Start parents. “This Strong Start family thanks you, Ms. Miette! You rocked this pandemic, and rolled along with a smile and another fun idea each day!”

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