GNAG looks ahead

Mary Tsai
GNAG Executive Director

Parent and Infant Social Club

GNAG’s preschool program coordinator Jason Irvine, his wife Nora Dempsey and their latest addition, baby Logan, are teaming up to offer an online Parent and Baby Coffee Club. Jason and Nora are certified early childcare educators, have a young school-aged child and a newborn. They understand the joys and struggles of raising little people during lockdown. Join them and other like-minded parents each Wednesday 10-11 a.m. for this fun, informal and free coffee club.

During these difficult times, isolation can be so tough, especially for parents with newborns. Do you struggle with nursing, sleep, getting things done around the house? Are you craving to talk to another adult? Grab a coffee and your baby, then hop onto Zoom to meet other new parents. This is an unstructured, safe space for parents to hang out, share tips and resources, discuss challenges and successes – you can hopefully make some new friends as well!

Who? a children’s book about climate change and habitat protection written by local author Sophie Weider

Meet 18-year-old Sophie Weider, an up-and-coming local author who recently published her second children’s book about the effects of climate change and habitat protection.

I have known Sophie since she was a toddler attending nursery school here at the GCC. She attended camps, was a volunteer, then became a counsellor and program instructor. From the age of 13, she showed an interest in fine art, nature and the environment. When she became aware of threats to our environment, she developed a passion to protect it.

“In 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to the Arctic with an organization called Students on Ice,” Sophie said when I asked what inspired her to write Who? “While exploring the Arctic, I learned a great deal from the Inuit elders, climate change experts, wildlife biologists, artists and policymakers who travelled with us. I was so lucky to see this beautiful place, but I did so while knowing it was changing every day and might never be the same again. I was able to see evidence of climate change with my own eyes, such as shrinking glaciers and enormous chunks of ice falling off the Arctic ice sheet.

“This experience made a tremendous impact on me and inspired me to want to raise awareness for the endangered Arctic before it is too late to save it from extinction. I decided to create a children’s book because I think it is so important that kids today are learning about our planet and developing empathy for it at an early age. The unfortunate reality is that these kids will be the ones living with the impacts of climate change. I think it is our role today to prepare them for that challenge and empower them to want to create change and have hope that that change is possible. I hope that, being a young person myself, I can inspire kids to use their voice and their creativity to spark conversations about climate change.”

As with her first book, The Girl Who Saved a Tree, Sophie’s Who? uses an inspiring heroine and friendly animal characters to help children form a connection with the endangered places and species that need our help.

This beautifully written story, with illustrations by Sophie as well, is about the journey of a Snowy Owl, Upik, in search of a new home after hers was left uninhabitable by the impacts of climate change.

Now that Who? is published, printed and ready to be shared with the world, there is still more Sophie would like to do. She’s continuing her project by spreading the word about her book to build awareness. On Sunday, May 30 at 7 p.m., Sophie will be livestreaming on our Instagram page @gnagottawa. She’ll read aloud the story of Who? as a family GNAG “bedtime story” event. Find out more at

Breakfast Club and Quest-4-Fun Afterschool Program 2021 – 2022

We are excited to hear the sound of children laughing and playing. As more people get vaccinated, we hope we can accept more children in our child-care programs this fall for the 2021-22 school year. Registration renewal for current participants will take place in late May, early June. A lottery for new spots in 2021-22 will be held June 14-18. There will be a link at to an online form. More details on fees, etc., will be available on June 4. All details are subject to COVID protocols and are consequently subject to change.

GNAG’s preschool program coordinator Jason Irvine and his wife Nora Dempsey, both certified early childcare educators (shown with baby Logan) are offering a free online Parent and Baby Coffee Club on Wednesday mornings.

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