By Marlene Goley, Manager of The Cridge Transition House and Outreach Services
Ally was 19; she was about to graduate and really wanted to go on to Camosun College.
Ally’s son, Jamie, was a busy, happy 2 ½ year. He had been going to school with his mom and attending the on-site daycare while she had persevered to get her Dogwood Diploma.
Staff in the daycare knew that Ally had no family around her and that her only support was Jamie’s father. They also knew that his support was sporadic and unreliable. They suspected he was abusive to Ally. They wanted to see her succeed, so encouraged her to call Nicole, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Worker. They knew that Nicole could pick up where they left off in helping Ally to launch a hopeful future for her and Jamie.
Nicole met Ally at a Tim Horton’s – a frequent meeting place for Nicole and young moms in her program. When Nicole asked Ally if she was safe at home, Ally burst into tears and said she was afraid of Jamie’s father. He was using drugs, spending all of their money, and last night he scared her when he punched a big hole in the wall right beside her head. Nicole talked to Ally about her options, and they started making plans.
For the following year, Ally and Nicole met every week. At first, it was about getting Ally safe. Then over the next months, Ally relied on Nicole to be her sounding board and her anchor. Ally relied on Nicole’s help to register for Camosun to take the business course she wanted. Nicole helped her navigate applying for the Single Parent Initiative, daycare subsidy, and finding daycare. She took Ally to a food bank, sourced clothes for both Ally and Jamie, gave her bus tickets when she was short. And she listened. Ally needed someone to bounce ideas off of, to celebrate her successes, and to prop her up when she was discouraged.
Ally is looking forward to finishing her business diploma and getting a good job. Nicole is looking forward to staying connected to Ally and Jamie for as long as they need an anchor to stay the course to a bright future.
To learn more about The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program, click here.