As the isolation period for those exposed to Covid-19 at Children First Society (CFS) daycare wraps up without incident, organizers of the annual fundraising gala say they’re crossing their fingers the worst is behind them. But in an abundance of caution they’re repeating their decision to postpone their primary fundraiser.

CFS executive director Patricia Davison said the gala — the primary fundraiser for the nonprofit — was set for Nov. 20.

However, Davison told Inuvik Drum Nov. 16 that the board decided at the last minute to postpone the Gala until February, 2022. When it does happen, strict Covid-19 precautions will remain in force.

For example, all activities for the evening, which has a Casino Night theme, will be at individual tables and the silent auction will be held online.

I think people are ready to have a safe celebration and to get out,” Davison said.

“We’ve been working with public health to make sure we have everything in place to make it a safe event,” she continued. “Same as last year, things will be based mostly at tables — we’re really aware of the need to physically distance at this time.”

Davison said the plan is to have a high-end, casino-oriented menu.

The 14th annual gala was initially planned for Nov. 6 but was moved as a result of the community’s Covid-19 outbreak in October.

Normally held every November, last year’s gala was postponed until earlier in 2021. The gala is a vital part of CFS’ programming. In particular, it funds the On the Land program, which connects young children with Elders to learn important survival skills and traditional knowledge throughout the summer. Proceeds from the gala allow for the CFS Scholarship Program, which covers the costs for low-income families so their children can also benefit from the society’s programming.

With the recent freeze in activities brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak, Davison said CFS’ outreach program has been working diligently to help families in isolation out with activities. Craft packages and free books were available for pick-up from the facility and the next round of “Kids in the Kitchen” is in the works. This program gives kids an easy and fun recipe to cook as a family activity, with all the ingredients included, she said.

Budding artists in the home is another outreach program offered by CFS. In this, art supplies are sent home for children to work on various projects, the most recent being learning to make their own masks. All this is on top of the daycare and after school care services offered by the society.

Registration is also starting up for the CFS Gwich’in Language Nest program, a pre-school immersion program where children spend their days with a Gwich’in Elder, learning and playing in the language. CFS has run the program for several years in partnership with the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the MakeWay Foundation.

“We had just finished a group that moved on to junior kindergarten and kindergarten,” said Davison. “So we’ve opened it up to some new participants. We’re hoping that Covid-19 dies down so we can do some more in-house programming and have out gym open to the community, but right now we’re just taking those precautions to make sure everybody is safe and spending some time distancing from the community.”

Though CFS was affected by the recent Inuvik outbreak, Davison noted staff and families were able to work together when the exposure notice was given. CFS closed for two weeks at the start of the pandemic to re-assess its protocols with the chief public health officer and has been practising them ever since, she added.

She said all staff at CFS will be fully immunized by the start of December.

“Whoever needed to isolate did so and got tested,” she said. “That group is just finishing their isolation period. Nothing scary has come of that, everybody is looking healthy to return after Remembrance Day. It really is a relief.

“Our staff are really on top of cleaning and we’ve been wearing masks for a long while.”

Casino Night in Fabulous Inuvik is set for February next year. Tables seat eight people and are $675 each. To book tickets, email fundraising@childrenfirstsociety.org or visit their Facebook page.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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