Navy Personnel Party for Military Families

By Adrienne Jones for

What better reason for a party than to raise money for a good cause? On January 25 the Junior Ranks Mess of HMCS York held Operation Glowing Hearts to benefit the non-profit Toronto Military Family Resource Centre (TMFRC).

The TMFRC is a community based charity that was started to “recognize and foster the unique strength of families within the military community” by “providing the resources to assist, maintain and enhance their quality of family life while living in the Greater Toronto Area.”

Mostly funded by the Department of National Defence, the centre started in 1992 and represented the next step in the family support movement which began in the early 1970s. The program originated with parent-child resource centres and toy-lending libraries in several cities. A national conference was held in 1982, which led to the formation of the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (now FRP Canada) in 1988. Programs were based across the country by the early 1990s.

Individual services of the TMFRC cover many aspects of life for military families. The centre offers full-time child care, short term intervention and crisis support, prenatal classes, second language courses, social activities and classes for children, singles and couples, and employment services among other amenities.

HMCS York is a naval reserve division which serves to recruit and train personnel and “enhance the Navy’s presence in the Toronto area.” The reserve got its start as a Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve Half company in 1923. Nineteen years later is was commissioned as HMCS York and “distinguished itself as one of the premiere naval recruiting depots in the British Commonwealth” during WWII, with 17,000 men and women joining the navy there.

Black and laser lights were used to transform the junior mess for the glow dance party. Event organizer Curtis Kostin says the goal was to “get members of our mess to come out and bring friends to share in a good time for a good cause.” He adds that promoting the dance through Facebook, their website, and word of mouth worked well in attracting attention for their event, as did having professionally printed tickets.

Kostin’s advice for other event planners is to give yourself “more time to spread the word” than you think you need, so you can take full advantage of all possible promotional avenues and draw a great crowd to your event.