Nearly 200 people gathered on September 26 for the official opening of The Salvation Army's Small Blessings Early Childhood Development Centre in Moncton, N.B., after recent renovations.

The newly expanded facility will increase available full-time child-care spaces by 31, after-school spaces by 30, and overall service capacity by 50 percent, for a total enrolment of 192 children.

In the after-school program, there will be newly developed curriculum in key areas, such as physical education, science, arts and culture, entrepreneurship and more.

Children gather for the official opening of Small Blessings Children gather for the official opening of Small Blessings

The Honourable Cathy Rogers, New Brunswick's minister of social development, and minister of healthy and inclusive communities, lauded the Army for its work in this area: “I am very aware what The Salvation Army has done for this community as my children attended Small Blessings. Investing in children is something I believe in and thanks to The Salvation Army for all that you do.”

Plans are underway for enhanced and expanded programs that would include: emergency and disaster response services, free income tax clinics, a community kitchen and workshops andseminars on such important issues as parenting, nutrition, anti-bullying, drug prevention and budgeting/financial planning.

“It is a day of rejoicing and one of the most special occasions I have ever participated in," said Lt-Colonel Joan Canning, assistant secretary for personnel - strategic initiatives. "Today we stand in front of this state-of-the-art facility with Moncton children in mind, children who will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

This $1.5-million expansion was made possible through the generous support and contributions from The Salvation Army, members of the local congregation, families of Small Blessings and former Small Blessings alumni, local business, government agencies and friends throughout the Greater Moncton community.

To everyone involved in helping in any way, Lorraine Veysey, director of Small Blessings, says, "We simply could not have done it without you."

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