By Marlene Goley
Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program received a grant from Coast Capital to provide a monthly group we’ve called Building Bridges. Here is a story about one of the young moms who has been attending.
Laura is a young mom with two young daughters.
Laura had a very fractured relationship with her parents in her adolescence. She moved out before finishing high school and ended up couch-surfing and hanging out with a few friends on the street. When she got pregnant with her first daughter, she wanted to create a stable life for herself and her baby but it was hard to leave her street friends. She struggled to find housing and live on meager social assistance benefits. That was when she first connected with the Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program (YPOP). The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Worker helped Laura work with her social worker to address child protection concerns and finish high school. This was a lengthy process that included her daughter going into foster care for a time. By the time her second daughter was born, Laura was able to provide more safety and stability for her young family, but she was overwhelmed by the stresses of caring for two small children, she was isolated at home, and she was slipping into a depression.
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Worker was one of Laura’s only connections. When the Building Bridges Group started, Laura was encouraged to come and just check it out. She found that there were other young moms with the same struggles and that it felt good to get out and talk about their common challenges and triumphs. Having dinner and child care made all the difference to her being able to attend. She could come, relax, and enjoy a nice meal with her children and the other moms and kids. Then the kids were cared for in another room to give the moms a break and allow them to talk about the topics such as taking care of yourself over the holidays, what are your goals for the new year, what do you need to let go of.
Attending the Building Bridges Group has helped Laura break her isolation, connect with other moms in her community, given her confidence in herself, and helped her to find her own voice. In fact, she has asked to facilitate one of the group discussions about breaking the cycle of poverty in their lives. Laura is well on her way to being the adult and parent that she wants to be.