KITCHENER — Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Center is closing its doors after more than four decades of supporting families in the Waterloo Region.
The Kitchener-based nonprofit announced Thursday that it will wind down operations on June 30 due to funding changes.
Our Place has operated with local and provincial funding, donations and most notably as a mobile operator with EarlyON | Region of Waterloo. But that funding through EarlyON has dwindled significantly, making it financially unviable for the organization to continue operations.
“It was not an easy decision to make,” said general manager Jennifer Jordan. “We are currently working on a plan to continue to offer curated programming within the community.”
The center was founded in 1979 by a group of women who wanted to support stay-at-home mothers.
It moved to First Mennonite Church in Kitchener in 1982. Our Place operated from its St. Francis location from 2003 to 2019 before moving to its current home at the Family Center on Hanson Avenue.
In 2003, Our Place was selected as the lead agency for the Ontario Early Years Center for the Kitchener Center with programs that included drop-in early learning programs, parent education programs, support perinatal, awareness resources and a toy library.
Thousands of families have used Our Place’s services more than a million times over the past four decades.
“We are so proud of the work we have done in Kitchener-Waterloo over the past four decades. We are very grateful for the trust the families have placed in us since we started our work,” said Jordan.
He is looking for a home for his Stork Secrets program, which is a peer support group for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, to continue supporting families after the June closure. .
Our Place has always been a volunteer-driven organization. Fourteen employees affected by the closure will be offered support throughout the transition period, including help with resume writing and career development.
“Our dedicated and passionate staff and volunteers have provided families with impactful programs and services,” said Jordan. “We are so grateful for everyone’s years of service.”