Family Programs at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House

Family programs at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House start this week! Located just 25 minutes away from UBC by bus, the House offers five programs, four in their Kitsilano location and one, “My tween and me parenting program”, on the UBC Point Grey campus:

  1. Family FUNdamentals program for parents with children 3 & 4: 6 sessions from Jan. 20 to Feb. 24, 1-2:30 p.m., $20/$15 Family Membership.
  2. Expressive Art Group for Newcomer Pre-Teens (aged 9 – 12): 8 sessions from Jan. 20 to March 10, 4-5:30 p.m., $30/$20 Family Membership
  3. Multicultural Women Support Program9 sessions from Jan. 23 to March 20, 10 a.m.-noon, $15/$10 Individual Membership
  4. My Tween and me parenting program for parents with children 7 – 12 years old: 8 sessions from Jan. 24-March 14, 10 a.m.-noon, $15/$10 Individual Membership. Location: Acadia Park Commons Block (2707 Tennis Crescent)
  5. Food Skills for Newcomer Families: 6 sessions from Feb. 6-March 13, 5-8 p.m., $15/$10 Individual MembershipAll programs provide free child minding and snacks.

The Kitsilano Neighbourhood House is located at 2305 West 7th Ave., Vancouver. For more details, please see the attached posters.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Patricia Paz at or 604-736-3588 ext. 128. If you are in need of a subsidy please contact Patricia Paz for a subsidy application.

Emergency Financial Supports and Services at UBC and in Vancouver

UBC peninsula

View west from Cypress mountain” by Casey Yee licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Post by Helena Zhu, Women Students Program Assistant, and Hannah Barath, Co-op Student Assistant at Access & Diversity

Finances can be tough especially around this time of the year. Student loans are running low and the seasonal break can be a stressful time for many. If you are looking for support there are a number of programs and services that might be a viable option for you here at UBC and in the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA).

Emergency Funding

If you find yourself in an emergency financial situation or faced with an unexpected expense, UBC has emergency funding that Canadian students can apply to. It will be counted as a university loan. You do not have to have student loans to be considered. International students can apply for funding in order to complete the current term or travel home in cases of family emergency. Unfortunately, long-term bursary funding is not available for international students, but you are encouraged to looking into funding in your own country. Should you wish to seek these options, you can contact your Enrolment Services Professional or make an appointment with an advisor.

Food Banks and Low-Cost Food

The Alma Mater Society has a Student Food Bank that provides emergency food relief to current UBC students. With a valid student ID, current students can receive up to one bag of groceries for individuals and two bags for families per visit, up to six visits per term. The AMS Food Bank also provides referrals to other Lower Mainland food banks. Note that the Food Bank is closed between December 17th 2014 and January 5th 2015.

There are many other food banks in the GVA. If you don’t know which location is closest to you, call the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society at 604.876.3601. At the bottom of the page on this website you can find a list of some of the other food banks in the Lower Mainland. You can also check out the regularly-updated schedule of places that offer free or low-cost meals, which is compiled by the City of Vancouver.

Family Fun

Fun family activities don’t have to be expensive. There are several holiday themed activities in Vancouver that are free and family-friendly!

On Friday, December 5th a big tree lighting ceremony is happening at Jack Poole Plaza from 5.30 to 7 pm. This free event will have live music and entertainment, but if you cannot make this date you can still see the trees until the first week of January. Another event to consider if you want to see Christmas lighting is the Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival. You can see the lights all through December (until 10 pm every day), but the recommended days to go are December 13th and 20th.

Many Christmas markets are expensive, but the fantasy-themed fair Imaginarius Fantasticus has free admission and entertainment for all ages. If you want to go, it’s at International Village Mall on December 6th and 7th between 12 and 6 pm. If you happen to be downtown on December 7th, also make sure to check out the Rogers Santa Clause Parade.

Lastly, you can skate for free at Robson Square if you have your own skates. If you don’t you can rent skates (including helmet) are available for $4.

Gifts, Clothing and Other Resources

Low income families in Vancouver can register with the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau between December 3rd and 19th. Gifts include toys, clothing and food vouchers. If you do not live in Vancouver the website also lists other Christmas Bureaus in the Lower Mainland.

New clothes are expensive, but there are alternatives. On the second floor of the Student Union Building at UBC there is a “free store”. There is a variety of clothing and other things available. Find it in SUB 245, where the AMS Resource Groups are located. Keep in mind that the SUB holiday hours may be different than during the academic year.

You can find a very thorough list of thrift shops in the Vancouver area and Lower Mainland (and many, many other resources) in the Single Mother’s Resource Guide made by Vancouver Status of Women. Also make sure to check out the Guide to Resources & Supports for Parents prepared by Single Parents on Campus. If you are looking for in-person support, consider the YWCA Single Mother’s Support Services or contacting your local community centre.

Halloween Costumes Don’t Need to Break the Bank

Holloween Costume

By Helena Zhu, Women Students Program Assistant, Access & Diversity

Halloween is right around the corner, which is also when Halloween costumes are most expensive, even for the little ones. With some creative juice though, and some ideas from this article, you can avoid spending the $80 without compromising too much on giving your kids costumes that they love. Even better, their friends and classmates will be jealous that they have such artistic moms and/or dads!


Remember that lab goggle from your first-year science lab? Cut out two circles from a white piece of paper. Secure them on the lab goggle using thin slivers of silver duct tape as the minion’s goggle frame. Use a black sharpie to complete the minion’s eyeballs. There you have the minion’s eyes and googles, which can be worn on your child’s forehead.

Your little one can now put on a yellow top, a pair of denim shorts or a denim romper, and a black pair shoes, and there you have your little minion.


Think about when your little one will be wearing this costume. If it is for trick-or-treating, then you can decorate an outerwear; if it is for a house party, then perhaps choose a dress, an old t-shirt, or a top and bottom. Once you have your outfit of choice, purchase different colours of crepe paper streamers at a dollar store. As an example, there is Dollar “N” Plus, the dollar store at the University Village.

Use scissors to cut fringes into their widths. If you want to be able to remove the layers of streamers from the outfit, you can sew the layers on. If it is an outfit you plan to toss or are planning on reusing, you can apply the streamers with fabric glue.

You may also choose to buy a party hat from the dollar store. Your little one can wear it as it is or have it decorated the same way with the streamers.

Mario and Luigi

If you have a denim jumpsuit, you have hopes for making a Mario or Luigi costume. You could also wear regular jeans with blue or denim coloured suspenders. With a red top and a red cap, you or your little one can be a Mario. If you have a green top and a green cap, you can be a Luigi.

To use Mario as an example, cut out a circle from a piece of paper. Use a red sharpie or marker to write a large letter “M.” Then pin it onto the front of the cap. To make the moustache, you can either use artificial moustache if you have any, or cut out one from black or brown construction paper, and secure it above the lips with poster mounts or double-sided tape.

If you have white gloves and brown shoes by any chance, they will make the costume even better.

Off you go for your adventure!


Look into your or your child’s closet. Identify an outfit of one solid colour, preferably one where you have matching construction papers for. Say that you choose blue, put on the blue outfit, and take out a blue construction paper. On the long side, use a black sharpie to write “crayon” or “Crayola.” On either end, colour in a black stripe along the width of the paper. Turn it on its side, use a hole puncher to punch holes at the top corners. You can then insert a string or yarn into the holes, and wear the “crayon” sign on the neck. You can adjust the string so that the crayon sign falls in front of the chest.

Take out another sheet of blue construction paper. Roll it up into a cone. This will be a hat or the tip of the crayon. You can secure the hat with bobby pins or another string or yarn to go under the chin.

Start colouring!

A Guide for Parents, Created by Parents

Jon Chiang Photo

By Helena Zhu, Women Students Program Assistant, Access & Diversity

Just after the first wave of midterms came the second wave of midterms. Amid all the studying, don’t forget to take some time to admire the beautiful changing colours on campus, especially on Main Mall. Fall is well underway, and so is the Parents on Campus blog.

This week, I would like to highlight the “Guide to Resources & Support for Parents,” a resource prepared by parents on campus for parents on campus. Now in its fourth edition, the guide shares the stories, challenges, and solutions from two single mothers at UBC.

Did you know that the overcrowded University Hill elementary and secondary schools are not the only options for your kids? The UBC school bus program also provides transportation to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth elementary schools, in addition to University Hill. Queen Mary is just a stroll from Jericho Beach, while Queen Elizabeth is at the tip of Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Did you know that the city has a free pass called Vancouver Inspiration Pass? The pass grants free access for up to two adults and four children under 18 to popular Vancouver attractions, museums, and recreational facilities, such as swimming pools and ice rinks over a two-week period. Vancouver Public Library has 140 passes available every two weeks, which you can apply for through the library website or in person at any VPL branch. This could make winter break more fun!

And did you know that UBC even has a community for families called UBC Families, and another for nursing mothers called Breastfeeding Café, which you can join? The upcoming meeting is on Thursday, November 20th from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge, Acadia Family Housing, 2707 Tennis Crescent. You can get to know the moms ahead of time through its Facebook group.

To find both the guide and more resources for parents on campus, please visit Access and Diversity’s page “Students who are parents.”

As we begin to move towards fall…

As we begin to move towards fall and a new academic year, programs are beginning to take shape at UBC and in the Point Grey and Kits areas. Kits House’s Family Programs are beginning to take root and during Fall 2014 there are the following opportunities for you and your family:

If you have any questions or are interested in obtaining a subsidy for any or all of the programs please contact Patricia Paz by email at

Best free things in Vancouver

Vancity Buzz has created a great list of free things to do in Vancouver over the coming months. Check it out here! This is what the post said:

“Even though Vancouver has been voted one of the most liveable cities  in the world, it doesn’t make it the most affordable. We’ve all uttered the phrase, “there’s nothing to do in Vancouver”, or “I want to do that, but I have no money”. Now you have no excuses. Here is a list of FREE (or nearly free) activities, tours, and attractions to do around Vancouver. Not only will this keep some money in your wallet, these are unique and things you may not have been to or tried before. Make this your ‘summer bucket list’.”

Summer Family Activities

The Parents on Campus Blog will take a break during the summer term and will be back again in September. This, however, does not mean there is not plenty of things to do on campus and in the Lower Mainland! Here is a list of suggestions for fun spring/summer activities for the whole family:

Enjoy a free and sunny outing at one of Vancouver’s many beautiful beaches, such as Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach, or Second Beach by Stanley Park. Even if it’s raining, there’s at least one beach that will stay dry: the 6pack indoor beach in Richmond. The price is $7 per child per session, but could be worth it on a miserable rainy day.

There are also plenty of other free nature experiences nearby. Habitat Island close to Olympic Village is a perfect stroll for small toddler feet. Or go visit the raccoons, herons, and ducks by the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park (just make sure to admire those raccoons from a distance!), then swing by Second Beach for a dip in the sea, a stop on the playground, or an icecream at the concession. If you live on campus, you could also take the children on a little hike on the UBC Endowment lands.

Too much outdoors? Spend some playful hours at the Creekside Community Centre Playgym in Olympic Village.This drop-in gym for toddlers have lots of exciting equipment and only costs $1.50 per child.See schedule on the website for drop-in hours during the summer:

Museums are also a good option for the rainy days, albeit admission is frequently expensive. However, the Vancouver Art Gallery has Pay-What-You-Can Tuesdays, where admission from 5pm-9pm on Tuesdays is by donation. You can also apply for a free Vancouver Inspiration Pass that gives free access to many museums and gardens. Sadly, this pass is not available to parents living on campus, but if you live elsewhere in Vancouver, this is a good way to make summer fun more affordable. UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is free for students and children 0-6years, and have new exhibitions opening in May and June. Plus, the totem poles are amazing! There are also hundreds of drawers with artifacts that are just waiting to be opened by children’s hands.

Consider going on a transit ride. lists her favourite five transits with children here: Vancouvermom regularly blogs about family activities  and is well worth checking out for suggestions.

The ArtStarts Gallery downtown are continuing their popular, FREE weekend workshops over the summer: In May, Anne Glover will weave fantastic stories and figures out of a shoestring, and in June, visual artist Kiki van der Heiden will teach feltmaking. Make sure to check out the program at:

Lastly, do not forget the Point Grey Fiesta taking place from June 20-June 22. This is a weekend of mainly free family fun in Trimble Park and surrounding area. There will be a parade, pancake breakfast, bike decoration contests, and much more.With the exception of the carnival rides and midway games, Fiesta entertainment and children’s activities are free of charge.

Happy Summer!

UBC Breastfeeding Cafe

There are two breastfeeding cafes taking place on UBC campus in May.  The cafes are open to UBC students, staff, faculty and community members, and refreshments are provided. Check out the Facebook group for more info:  or view the attached poster.

This is what the organizers say about the event:

Are you a UBC mom with questions on latching or pumping?
Introducing solids or considering weaning?
Just looking for a welcoming place to meet other moms and nurse your baby or toddler?
Ask questions and share your experiences with other moms in a non-judgmental environment.

Date and locations:
Wednesday, May 28, 12-1pm
Women’s Student Lounge – Rm 1261, Brock Hall (1874 East Mall)

Thursday, May 15, 11am-12pm
Activity Room, Acadia Family Housing (2707 Tennis Crescent)

For a list of breastfeeding-friendly spaces on campus, see:

Multicultural Women Support Program

The Multicultural Women Support Program is restarting  on Friday, April 11. The MWSP is for women who are new to Canada and are looking for ways to make new friends and learn about Canadian resources and culture. The program runs for 9 sessions, from  10:00am to 12:00pm at The Old Barn Community Centre.  For participants coming from outside UBC, bus tickets are provided as well as child minding. The cost for the whole program is $25.

Program Poster

For more information regarding the program and the event, please contact

Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First Program

Kitsilano Neighbourhood House will be running an “Effective Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First” program on Tuesdays from  February 4 to March 11. The sessions take place at  5:45pm to 7:45pm at Point Grey Community Church.

Program Description:
A program for separated or divorced parents or any parent that is moving through this process. This program is designed to help individuals find  resources and work on strengthening effective co-parenting skills and strategies with their children and their families.

The program costs $10 (incl. membership). For registration or questions, contact Patricia Paz at or 604-736-3588 ext. 28.