– It’s been about three years since the last baby welcoming celebration at the Port Alberni Friendship Center, thanks to crowd gathering restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So this years group of new young faces was not only larger than normal but also a little older.
Young parents, grandparents and children born since the start of the pandemic were invited to the Port Alberni Friendship Center on May 10, for Ninayaqsha – Baby Welcoming Celebration. Proud families gathered at Clutesi Hall to celebrate the newest family additions and to give them a sense of belonging in the community.
Toddlers gleefully played with bright yellow balloons while the adults socialized. PAFC Program Coordinator Darlene Leonew welcomed the crowd and invited representatives of both Hupacasath and Tseshaht to welcome everyone.
“The future looks bright, our future leaders are right here,” said Hupacasath Ha’wilth Kanowish.
Staff of the Port Alberni Friendship Center prepared gifts to present the children along with handmade cedar headbands. They gave away handcrafted cedar roses to those that helped with the event.
The parents introduced their children to the crowd before Leonew welcomed the babies and toddlers to the community. “We’re here to support you and if we can’t do that, we can refer you,” Leonew promised.
The parents and tots that attended were Danielle Sam, Nicholas Marshall and son, Marty Marshall. Gerhard, and Monique Le Roux and, son Caleb. Joseph Joe and son Joseph Joe Jr. Arthur Edgar, Erika Curley and sons Arthur Jr. and Issac Edgar. Justin and Serena Mayer with daughter Riley. Jordan and Kim Henry with son Enzo Henry. Ray Walton and daughter Kaliea
The event was sponsored by the BC Ministry of Child and Family Development, ASI Early Years Program.