What happens at Today's Family?

From Hamilton, to Halton, to Haldimand, Norfolk, and beyond… Good things happen at Today’s Family. 

Since the beginning of her adventure with Today’s Family, Crystal has always wanted her program to feel like home - an inviting and welcoming place for children to play and for families to share and connect.

A Partner in Caring

Crystal is one of our long-time, talented and caring licensed home child care providers in the Crown Point neighbourhood of East Hamilton. She is a giver by nature and wants what’s best for children. In 2021, Crystal celebrated twenty years with Today’s Family, having provided licensed child care out of her home for over 200 children and families.

Crystal believes in children. She believes that messinesss promotes learning, and that laughter is essential to building happy children. Since the beginning of her adventure with Today’s Family, Crystal has always wanted her program to feel like home – an inviting and welcoming place for children to play and for families to share and connect. Families in the neighbourhood continue to remain in contact with each other and Crystal through online groups, where families are a part of a supportive circle, even after the doors close for the day.

As pandemic restrictions have continued to change and put pressure on families, Crystal has kept her doors open to those who need her most. She takes a great deal of diligence when it comes to keeping the children in her care safe. During COVID, Crystal has increased cleaning protocols, encouraged physical distancing, and performs regular well-being checks with families. She has demonstrated great leadership within the community, leadership that fosters belonging, caring, accountability and collaboration.

With Crystal’s partnership with Today’s Family, we have been able to increase the amount of licensed child care spaces within Hamilton, including in the lower East part of the city. Licensed home child care provides many unique opportunities to families, including offering flexibility for families, smaller groups that allow for more one-on-one care and relationship building, and are located within close proximity in neighbourhoods of families.

Her eagerness to continue doing what she loves has a continued impact on the well-being of children and their families.

Learn what makes Jonathan tick! Read his story on the Today's Family Blog.

Growing up with Today's Family

Jonathan started with Today’s Family as a 4-year-old camper before becoming a youth leader and currently, one of our excellent and caring day camp counsellors.

Much of Jonathan’s employment with Today’s Family has been part of our Canada Summer Jobs funded positions, paid-employment opportunities supported by the Federal government intended to engage young people in the workforce.

His caring leadership, enthusiastic personality, and thoughtful approach greatly impact the experience of the many children and families we serve each summer. He shows up, ready to make memories. He wants what’s best for children.

Jonathan is studying music education at Western University with hopes of becoming a music teacher. Leading with Today’s Family has helped prepare him for his future in education. By leading groups, facilitating creative activities, and even teaching guitar, he is looking forward to a career in helping young people learn through the arts. His experience with Today’s Family as a child has inspired him to give back as a mentor and to help influence positive and memorable experiences for children in his camp programs, similar to the way his camp counsellors did for him when he was a camper. He best describes his transition from camper to counsellor as “experiencing a saga of Today’s Family”.

Jonathan looks forward to coming to camp every summer. He especially looks forward to the “Today’s Family Classic Kickball Tournament”, a camp-wide community event that takes place every summer. Children practice all summer for the final tournament and look forward to welcoming their families to watch them play.

Today’s Family looks forward to what Jonathan does next. He has many little fans cheering in his corner.

Upon the fridge’s delivery to 44 Greendale Drive, children from our R.A Riddell before and after school program saw an opportunity to contribute their talents to the new community initiative. Together, they brainstormed a design with the intention that it would promote empowerment and belonging.

Gilkson kids get stuff done!

This year, Today’s Family had partnered with Community Fridges Hamilton to open Hamilton’s very first community fridge in the Gilkson neighbourhood (located at our Greendale site). The fridge belongs to the community and is accessible 24/7, offering a place to donate or access fresh food and non-perishable items. It serves to decrease food insecurity in the community by offering access to food within close walking distance to those who need it.

Sharing is in our roots. Our community garden has nourished the community for many years. In collaboration with Green Venture’s Grow A Row program, our children and neighbours have been given space and resources to grow their own food. After each harvest, our children set up produce stands to share what they’ve grown with the community. Neighbours also add fresh produce from the garden to the new community fridge.

Upon the fridge’s delivery to 44 Greendale Drive, children from our R.A Riddell before and after school program saw an opportunity to contribute their talents to the new community initiative. Together, they brainstormed a design with the intention that it would promote empowerment and belonging. After a few coats of red, blue, and green, a few hand-drawn fruits and vegetables, the fridge was open to the neighbourhood. Their creativity and caring helped make the fridge inviting and welcoming to all. Their quote “Give what you can. Take what you need” reflects the intention of the space, allowing all to contribute to the resource in any which way that they can. The children featured in the photo are the artists behind the colourful and thoughtful design of the fridge. Their contributions prove that children are great leaders in our neighbourhoods – partners in caring.

At Today’s Family we believe that together we are better. This collaboration has furthered our work in establishing a “community hub” within the neighbourhood – with our child care centre, community garden, and community fridge – Gilkson is a community of belonging.

Go exploring in Generation Park! Click the button below to visit.

Showcasing Generation Park

Together with our partners at Arts for All, we’ve been able to expand arts opportunities to our Haldimand-Norfolk and Halton programs, bringing arts education closer to our diverse, rural neighbourhoods. From Port Dover to Burlington, children have been engaged in a diverse range of arts activities, including spoken word poetry and breakdancing. These new experiences have helped create a child-led sense of belonging across our programs.

In addition to the after-school arts collaboration, our children had participated in summer arts programming through Arts for All’s Artasia program, allowing children to put together and present a community arts project. This summer our children were involved in the creation of “Generation Park”, a digital space using ROBLOX, created by children to exhibit their stories, voices and artworks. Generation Park explores themes of building empathy, understanding of land-embedded histories, and celebrating each other’s uniqueness and differences. In this virtual space, children explore each others neighbourhoods and creations, embedded as 2D and 3D models.

This project is a leading example of how children learn best with belonging, engagement, well-being and expression at the forefront. Our partners at Arts for All have played a significant role in ensuring that the importance of arts education did not get lost during the pandemic – if anything, together we’ve been able to get creative in increasing our reach to children where they are.

Generation Park can be viewed online at www.artsforall.co