Success by 6: Worth Every Moment

Colette Ernst


I have a fun job. One year ago I was hired as the Success by 6/Children’s First Coordinator in Tumbler Ridge with no clue what that meant and what I was supposed to accomplish other than a list of stuff on the job description. Plan meetings, coordinate research and planning, administer grant requests, fundraise, promote public awareness. Eh?

The thing about Success by 6 is that what we do—because it is a we not an I—is not really easy to put into a neat little box and tie it up with a bow. I was recently at an Early Years conference with Success by Six Coordinators from all over BC and realized that very few of us knew how to answer when asked “what do you do?”

In many jobs or careers, that’s not an easy question to answer. Ask a teacher what they do. Teach right? But in chatting with Mark Deeley about his career choice, he would tell you it’s far more and you would hear the passion in his voice as he shares with you stories of his students and his projects. It goes far beyond teaching. Ask a librarian what they do, and it goes far beyond books. If you have kids then you may have seen some excitement about library programs that is a result of the dedication and enthusiasm of people like Mr. Chris.

So what is Success by 6? What do we do?

Maybe the question that is better to ask is this: what do we believe? What are we passionate about? Because for me, and those who I have the privilege of working with, it’s that vision and commitment that colours everything we do. We want kids in our community to succeed in life. Those three words have huge meaning and is a huge task to take on.

For children to reach their full potential, to be successful, requires the whole community to be actively and continually working towards this vision. And that’s where Success by Six comes in—and why my job is fun.

I am on the ground floor working to help children and families in their formative years—where most of the foundations for success are laid. If you were to chat with me about the programs that we work on, the projects that I get to create and the meetings—yes even the meetings—I attend, you would see that I live and breathe what I do. It’s not really my job: it’s my life.

And I share that passion and excitement with a table of partners who care for the children in our community. Our Table of Partners consists of members from the business, municipal, health, non-profit, education, child care and private sectors of our community whose work directly or indirectly supports the development of children from birth to six years of age and their families. We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the TR Public Library at noon. Together we are working as a collaboration to assess the needs of our community and create strategic plan to fill those needs for children in their formative years. This may take the form of a program, or a workshop, new resources in the libraries, a questionnaire or a presentation to council. But in every way it’s for and about the children.

So what do I do? I am a community planner. Sometimes I work directly with children in programs and I get to play. Sometimes I am creating and developing new materials, programs and documents and I get to play. Sometimes I am meeting with others and strategizing for our future, or acquiring new funding to share with the community and I get to play. See? I have a fun job.