Tammy Dyer, former manager of Growing Supports Daycare, is being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award. Dyer has provided support to countless teen parents and their children throughout her career for over two decades.

“Tammy has created quality programs that give young parents the tools they need to be successful, while also supporting the needs of children,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Over the years, she has knocked on doors to check on students not attending classes and has connected individuals to basic needs, including housing. She has even attended childbirths to help young mothers in labour.”

Dyer is also the deputy executive director at Options Community Services, where she provides help, information and referrals for all citizens. She also facilitates parenting programs in the community and is helping to improve the early childhood educator program at Douglas College.

Vanessa Hickman who is the facility manager of the Awahsuk Aboriginal Head Start Preschool in Surrey, is being honoured with the Lenora Pritchard Award of Excellence. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous families having been a guiding force at the preschool – a much-loved early care and learning program that helps guide the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of Indigenous children – for more than 20 years.

“Every child is different, and Vanessa ensures that each child receives individual care and attention,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Her leadership and tireless dedication has created quality programs with a strong focus on Indigenous culture; this includes having Elders share their history and traditional language with the younger generation.”

Hickman is sharing her knowledge, commitment and expertise beyond the community of Surrey. She is reaching even more children by managing all the early years programming at the Fraser Region Aboriginal Centre.

Also being honoured with a 2018 Child Care Award of Excellence from the B.C. government is the Khalsa Childcare Centre  which has been a fixture of the Surrey community since 1991, preparing local children for success at school and beyond.

“Child care providers are the heart of our child care system and make a life-long difference to the kids they serve,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “The fact that parents who once attended the centre are returning with their own children speaks volumes to the continued quality programming and dedicated staff, and is why they are so deserving of this award.”

Children have a varied learning program, with arts and crafts, science experiments and language learning all as regular activities. The centre encourages children to get out of the classroom to learn about the world around them, and often join in with school events, or take field trips to the zoo, farm or library. Community helpers like police and firefighters and health-care professionals regularly visit the centre to share their knowledge and teach the children life and safety skills.

Although the centre’s values are derived from Sikhism, it is open to children from any background. The centre works to support low-income families, offering discounts to those who would otherwise be unable to afford child care.

“Staff at Surrey’s Khalsa Childcare Centre work closely with community organizations, including the primary and elementary schools that are next door, to create an exciting learning environment for local kids,” said Harry Bains, MLA for Surrey-Newton. “This early exposure to the school environment helps to prepare children for success once they start school.”