James Bay Community Project

By Nancy Smith, Family Centre Coordinator
I hear them coming before I see them...the little smiling faces...tiny feet coming in the door (some bouncing, some tentatively) with a loved one in tow...an apple for the collective snack basket... playdough...sticky gluey fingers...playing trains on a track that one of our parents has created...painting at the easel for the very first time...sharing a quiet moment or a story together...sparkling high heels and construction hats (often at the same time)...little sleeping bunnies...the kindness of our volunteers (playing cars, preparing snacks, holding babies, stamping tiny hands)...parents sharing the latest challenges and joys of parenting toddlers...the camaraderie among the sleep-deprived...the comfort of a supportive community... these are just a few of the wonderful sights you might see at the Family Centre at the James Bay Community Project (JBCP).

As someone fortunate enough to be part of the Family Centre at JBCP, nothing inspires me more than spending a morning amongst the many diverse families and volunteers who attend the drop-in programs.  It's a gift to see "community in action" and always leaves me feeling hopeful about the future.  I can see how the support of a community can really make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

The Family Centre first opened in the fall of 1991 and has been serving families in James Bay and the larger community for over 20 years.  We have a bright, welcoming space in the JCBP building at 547 Michigan St. where we have many bustling, community-centred activities taking place.  

The Family Centre offers four drop-in programs per week for parents with young children and various other programs that support youth, families and seniors.  Please check us out online at or come by and visit, to see for yourself.

Shared thoughts from some of our families:

"I've been attending programs at the project for more than a decade now. Over the years the Family Centre has been a wonderful place where my children could play with other kids and me could meet some great people. It's also proved to be a comfortable place where I could go to get support and parenting resources. It's truly been an invaluable part of my family's life."

"Connecting with other parents...giving a sense of community...providing a place for my child and I to make wonderful friends...giving us a sense of purpose every day..."

"Allowing us to meet other local families, make new friends, build community, learn parenting skills, welcome new people into the community and enjoy new experiences..."

"I can't say for sure what I would have done if I hadn't found the James Bay Drop-In but I don't believe I would be as good  a mom as I am now, surrounded by a community of parents who are going through the same experiences.  Being a parent is difficult.  We need as much support and community as possible."

 "As a young first time mom, the resources were so helpful.  I also made some great long-lasting relationships!!"

Thanks to funding provided by the Ministry of Children and Families and to the generosity of our many funders, we have been able to offer quality family programs to the community for many years.  One such organization that has supported the Family Centre is The Provincial Employees' Community Services Fund (PECSF).  We are so appreciative to PECSF for the many years of incredible support we have received.  Next spring, our relationship with PECSF will come to a close as they continue to fund many other worthwhile projects in Victoria and around B.C. and we are so grateful to have received their support so consistently for so many years.  It has made a huge difference.

We are currently looking for an alternative source of funds to keep two of our current drop-in programs going.  We are exploring many other funding possibilities and are hopeful that another source of financial support may be found.  Please feel free to contact our Executive Director, Kaye Kennish, kkennish@jbcp.bc.ca or at 250-388-7844 Ext. 311, if you have any questions, concerns or ideas regarding our future funding.  Your feedback and ideas would be greatly appreciated. And, if you haven't had a chance to visit the Family Centre and/or would like to find out more about any of our other programs, check out our website at or better yet, drop by and say hello!