(CCRR staff Nicole Harper (left) and Lisa McIntosh perform a rap song on YouTube for program participants)
Performing in rap videos was never something Lisa McIntosh thought she would ever be doing.
A Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) Coordinator for Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS), McIntosh usually spends her days helping parents, caregivers and childcare providers in the Corridor. She organizes playgroups, runs childcare workshops, and connects parents and guardians with childcare providers.
But then the COVID-19 health crisis hit.
“COVID halted all in-person service,” said McIntosh. “That made up about 75 per cent of what we offered.”
However, those deemed essential workers during the crisis, such as nurses and doctors, now needed childcare resources more than ever, and the CCRR team was tasked with coordinating those efforts.
“Our funder, the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD), asked CCRR to be the link for Essential Service Workers and the childcare programs that remained open,” said McIntosh. “This meant we were required to contact ALL programs to ensure we were kept up to date on their open/close status. For the programs that were open, we supported them through COVID policy development, supply access—gloves, TP, etc.—and general pandemic support.”
But, the CCRR team also wanted to continue supporting parents and caregivers now quarantining at home. So, they turned to the internet.
“Our program delivery pivoted to an online format offering virtual circle times on YouTube, professional development and networking via ZOOM for the care providers, and virtual ‘Mother Goose’ programs for families with babies under 18 months,” she said.
The team also started producing virtual “circle time” videos to engage and entertain parents and their little ones at home, complete with beat-filled, fun rap performances. McIntosh said rapping on video took her a bit out of her comfort zone.
“I had never rapped before, but Nicole Harper, our CCRR Consultant, has definitely missed her calling as a singer/songwriter,” McIntosh said. “She was the one that came up with the fun songs and costumes each week.”
The entertaining videos were a big hit with parents and children; so much so that now McIntosh and the CCRR team are planning to add video presentations permanently to the program’s offerings.
“We will most likely move forward with a combination of in-person and virtual programming in the future-it’s the best of both worlds as everyone prefers a little of both,” she said. “The virtual workshop and care provider network meetings most likely will continue in both formats so we can include those in the northern regions of our contract in communities such as Whistler, Pemberton, D’Arcy and Mount Currie. This will make what we offer more accessible to more people.”
And, although their rap performances earned praise and accolades, McIntosh said she won’t be quitting her day job anytime soon to pursue a career as a gold-necklaced MC. Her passion continues to be providing care of children and caregivers in the community.
“It was our way of making light of a very dark pandemic especially in the beginning,” she said. “We just wanted to make people laugh.”
To support CCRR and other SSCS programs, go to sscs.ca/ways-to-help.