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New family centre in Langley aims to bridge gaps in the community

Willows Family Life Centre was made possible by The Salvation Army

Langley’s Willows Community Church of The Salvation Army has officially opened the doors to a new community family centre, offering several programs for parents and kids.

Andrea Petkau, integrated mission supervisor at the centre, said they are looking for gaps in the community and trying to fill those.

“Our core program here at the family life centre is called the Pathway of Hope,” she explained. “The Pathway of Hope is a one-to-one support program for families who are experiencing chronic vulnerability and poverty, and so we’re not just a food bank… we’re looking at long-term solutions to poverty.”

Support workers extended their program offerings outside of the local church, creating The Willows Family Life Centre for the community, which officially opened its doors at 5735 203 St. in January.

“This space is just an incredible gift for us, because prior to this, we were only able to rent out public community spaces,” said Petkau, “When the pandemic came that really put a big halt on what we were able to do in the community.”

Described as “warm” and “inviting,” Petkau said the centre is equipped with classrooms for courses offered by the centre, and also houses a full nursery and preschool area.

“[The dedicated space] just means security and it means that we can be comfortable serving our community in a space that is safe for everybody to access,” she added.

The centre is currently in the midst of running several programs that will soon be open again for enrolment.

They offer online parenting resources and in-person groups, which include the Positive Parenting Program (PPP), RED CAP anger management for kids, Teen Anger Management Skills (TASK), and Brave, a program for youth that focuses on self worth, empowerment, and confidence building.

“There’s a lot of kids who have missed out on a lot of things, special milestones, normal school function, birthday parties,” said Petkau. “An emotion like anger, if not taught how to properly control or regulate can be really challenging for parents… we really want to support parents and some times that means offering the program like anger management.”

The centre is also aiming to support young women in the community with programs like Brave.

“The realities are, as much as Los Angles, Calif. has issues with exploitation and human-trafficking, Langley does as well. We have spent some time discussing the realities of human-trafficking here with the gang force that works out of RCMP Surrey,” Petkau explained.

Girls as young as 11 years old have been targeted in Langley City, she noted.

“It doesn’t always look how we think it looks,” Petkau said about the signs of exploitation and human-trafficking.

“Often there are girls who are being groomed and coerced into gang activity without even knowing who they are associated to or what they are going to be asked to do. It starts a parties, it starts a sleepovers with people you don’t know very well.

“Are aim is to educate, and our aim is to empower girls to know when to see the signs of something that is not right and be able to have a safe space to come and talk about that – for us to be able to give them the resources to know where to go if they are involved in or have witnessed – or even have an uncomfortable feeling about a situation. Brave is an amazing organization.”

The centre also runs a by-weekly parents and tots drop-in program.

“It involves free play, crafts, music time, and we provide snacks and a coffee bar for the parents,” Petkau explained.

They’ve also organized a toy-lending library.

“We’re really seeking to support low income moms and dads in our area who don’t have the funds for regular new toys and new activities, but also it works for daycares and preschools, anybody that wants to keep things rotating,” Petkau explained.

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The Willows Family Life Centre was made possible by funds received from The Salvation Army. One of the organization’s most well known fundraisers returns later this month. The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign is a fundraising effort held each year during the Christmas season. Funds raised through donations made at Christmas kettles contribute towards services and support provided by the The Salvation Army.

“Monies that go into those kettles support all types of programming within The Salvation Army. You can also call to volunteer… we’re happy to welcome people into our space who want to give back in that way,” Petkau said.

“We’re all working for the same common good, we want to bring hope to the Langley community.”

Families are welcome to call the centre and connect with Petkau to learn about the services available. Email, or call 604-510-2628.

The centre is holding a community open house on Friday, Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is invited to tour the space, meet the staff, and get more information on the programming available.

Visit for more information.

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