Gathering community support for Revelstoke Children’s Charter

The Revelstoke Early Childhood Development Committee is seeking support for their planned Revelstoke Children's Charter.

The Revelstoke Early Childhood Development Committee is seeking support from community organizations for their planned Revelstoke Children’s Charter.

The organization is asking clubs, groups, businesses and other institutions to endorse the charter and then attend a Jan. 12, 2012 signing ceremony for the new document.

Revelstoke Early Childhood Development Committee member Tracy Spannier says the new charter is about raising awareness of the value of children and taking action to improve the quality of each child’s life in the community.

“For me, it’s really more about having a tool to build consensus,” she said. “We are all accountable in the community. It doesn’t lie with families or with an individual organization. It lies with the entire community.”

The Revelstoke Children’s Charter outlines basic rights all children should enjoy, such as food, clothing and shelter. It also includes the right to spend time with their families and be protected from abuse.

Spannier explained the RECDC hatched the idea last November and a subcommittee has been working on the wording since February. Several other communities in Canada have adopted similar plans. Spannier said the key was tailoring wording for the charter to ensure a diverse array of community groups would join in on the initiative.

“We’re looking to … pull everyone together around this particular idea of raising awareness of the needs of children in our community,” she said. “It’s a matter of creating a framework that we all stand behind.”

What does the Revelstoke Children’s Charter mean on a practical sense? Like the triple-bottom-line of social, environmental and economic sustainability, the charter would guide decision-making.

“It does create a vision for our entire community,” Spannier said.

For example, municipal government would be asked to consider the rights of children in their decision-making. Likewise, a signatory business would also be asked to always consider children in their business planning. A retail shop, for example, could have a stroller-friendly interior. They could also be asked to reconsider the effect of excessive or unplanned overtime on parents.

Currently, the RECDC is distributing requests for endorsements. Organizations can fill out the short pledge.

The Jan. 12 ceremony takes place at 5:30 p.m. at RSS and will feature children’s art work and other family-friendly events.

In the future, the committee is seeking to move forward with further education and consultation with children in order to better  integrate them with the charter.

For more, email Tracy Spannier at tspannier@cbal.org.

The Revelstoke Children’s Charter

This Charter sets out a vision for our children to have the freedom to grow as individuals.  It is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that “rights are things that every child should have.”  We have a duty to support families so that all our children can live, learn, play and dream in safe and healthy surroundings.

All Revelstoke children have the right to:

•food, clothing, a safe place to live and to have basic needs met

•protection from neglect and to live without fear

•protection from physical, psychological or sexual abuse both in and out of the home

•time with their families and other nurturing and positive role models

•an individual identity free from discrimination

•peace

•have their own privacy

•be respected, speak freely, and have their opinion heard

•the best health care possible

•quality child care and early childhood development opportunities

•quality education that enables them to reach their full potential

•play, participate and make friends

•special education and accommodations if they have a disability, so they have equal access and opportunities

•access recreation and leisure activities

•be served by governments that honour their responsibilities to children

“All children have these rights no matter who they are, where they live, what their parents do, what language they speak, what their religion is, whether they are a boy or girl, what their culture is, whether they have a disability, whether they are rich or poor. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis.”

~ UN Convention on the Rights of the Child