COMMENT: Blueberry Creek Community School is a great community service
From the outside Blueberry Creek Community School (BCCS) looks like any typical small older rural elementary school but BCCS is anything but typical. BCCS is a Ministry of Education designated Neighbourhood of Learning and a Ministry of Children and Family Development designated Community HUB. Both ministerial designations acknowledge and celebrate the innovation and successes achieved by this small community based charitable non-profit that provides services which foster and build community and are tailored to meet the needs of our local area.
BCCS was established in 1997 when Blueberry Elementary school was closed, and School District 20 made the proactive, forward thinking and efficient decision to lease space to BCCS, enabling this society to contribute to the community in a range of positive and far reaching ways.
Today BCCS is a hive of activity. It hosts the Provincial Strongstart program, which is a parent and child education program for the 0-6 age group. It is home to a preschool, with 4 classes and 60 children, who receive early education and intervention services in a caring and nurturing environment ensuring a successful and lasting start to their educational journey. BCCS operates a 3-5 year old daycare and an after school care program, guaranteeing that parents feel happy to go to work knowing that their children are cared for in a stimulating, educational and nurturing environment.
BCCS has extensive community gardens and green infrastructure including composting and rainwater recycling facilities, where the children at the centre and the community in general can learn about and experience healthy sustainable lifestyles while truly enjoying and benefiting from the natural environment.
The community school also hosts a community lending library for both adults and children and facilitates many lifestyle and community based initiatives such as seniors coffees, literacy programs, exercise classes, bluegrass and parent education programs to name a few. It also partners with several community organizations to offer outreach programs in Castlegar schools, including the 360 Leadership Program at Twin Rivers Elementary.
This active community hub is at the centre of the rural community of Blueberry. However, as a result of their innovative and extensive programs they enjoy and welcome attendees from all of Castlegar and as far away as Rossland and Trail.
Alex Atamanenko is the MP for BC Southern Interior.