Uncertain future for Mother Goose

Long-time Parent-Child Mother Goose facilitators Mary Trachsel, left, and Anne Innes are retiring. An open house is being held for them on July 25 at Knox Presbyterian Church in Woodstcok from 10 a.m until noon. HEATHER RIVERS/SENTINEL-REVIEW

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Two long-time facilitators of the much-loved Parent-Child Mother Goose program are retiring from the program that shared rhymes and music with thousands of Oxford children.

Amidst a funding shuffle, Mary Trachsel and Anne Innes, who have ran the program for 16 and 15 years respectively, ran their last Mother Goose program on June 28.

“Their caring and compassionate approach to encouraging positive parenting through music and rhyme will be missed by so many,” said Suzanne Stoop, a supply facilitator with the program. “The fact that this program has been the best attended program wherever it has gone in the county speaks volumes about how much the program and Mary and Anne mean to families.”

The long term future of Parent-Child Mother Goose in Oxford County is uncertain if a community partner does not sponsor the program or our fundraising efforts are not successful.

Deb Dejong

Last year, during the 20th anniversary of the program in Oxford County, there were 13,000 visits by parents and children to the free program that focuses on songs and rhymes.

“It’s an opportunity for parents and children to strengthen their bonds with each other,” said Anne Innes. “It’s a free drop-in program where they enjoy an hour of songs, rhymes, fellowship and community.”

Trachsel said the program also provided a means for families “to meet their neighbours and build community.”

“It’s been a privilege to meet all the people,” she said.

Trachsel and Innes, who are both passionate about the programming that focused on parents as well as children, were volunteers with the program before they were hired.

“I’m thrilled to be retiring,” Innes said. “We’ll miss what we did every week for those many years.”

Deb Dejong, supervisor of the program that is run through Wellkin Child and Youth Mental Wellness, formerly the Oxford-Elgin Child and Youth Centre, said a recent funding shuffle with altered expectations for the program through Oxford Community Child Care means the program will have to raise funds to carry on.

“The long term future of Parent-Child Mother Goose in Oxford County is uncertain if a community partner does not sponsor the program or our fundraising efforts are not successful,” she said.

Wellkin executive director Mamta Chail-Teves said if they had accepted funding for the program it would have had to radically change and even take on a new name.

“We decided that due to our philosophy, our mission and our vision we wanted to maintain the fidelity of the Parent-Child Mother Goose program,” she said. “It is also a big risk as we don’t have any funding for it going forward.”

Chail-Teves said the program is very popular with both parents and children.

“The community has said they value the program,” she said. “They took a holistic approach where parents could talk about their struggles and challenges. It was looking at the whole family and their wellness.”

An open house is being held for Innes and Trachsel on July 25 from 10 a.m. to noon.