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VIDEO: Starbright Children's Development Centre celebrates a reprieve

A second chance?

A stay of execution?

Whatever you want to call it, things are a lot brighter at Starbright Children's Development Centre, than they were a week ago.

After several decades of helping young children with developmental challenges, Starbright was looking at wrapping up operations for good.

After the contract to operate a new Family Connection Centre was awarded to another organization (ARC Programs), Starbright found itself on the outside looking in.

Starbright rallied for support both publicly and behind the scenes.

"Our parents created a loud voice, our MLAs have stepped forward and taken up our cause," said Starbright Board Chair Carol Meise.

"Our union has been fighting in the background."

A rally was planned for this past weekend, but before the paint dried on the protest signs, the group got a reprieve.

"So it became a little bit more of a celebration," said Meise.

"It was wonderful because parents were here, older children were here, they reconnected with old staff. It was really a walk down memory lane for a lot of people."

The province still plans to move ahead with its vision of a 10,000 sq. ft. Family Connection Centre at Kelowna's Capri Mall.

It will be the first point of contact for families of children 0-19 who need help with developmental challenges.

But after the change of heart at the provincial level, Starbright will continue serving children in the younger age ranges, at least for now.

"At least for two years, we also have an option for a one-year extension," said Meise.

So she remains worried about the long term.

"Absolutely," she said. "And so are our parents."

Meise believes the fight isn't over yet.

"Our parents are quite committed to continuing the fight to make sure that we're here on a permanent basis."

Starbright has been providing care to Central Okanagan families and their babies, toddlers and preschool children for more than 50 years.

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