By Karen Haynes, Spruce Grove Examiner/Stony Plain Reporter
MOMS Canada, a local faith-based charity that helps struggling single moms find independence, is gearing up to move into the Family Connection Centre in Stony Plain, on May 5.
Opening later this month, the Family Connection Centre will house an assortment of community agencies with similar goals under the same roof, providing opportunity for shared resources and referrals to clients in need.
For MOMS Canada, the move is exciting, as it will provide the organization with increased visibility and accessibility within the community. But, it does not come without its challenges as staff expect a significant increase in clientele, need for resources and finances, and manpower — or volunteers.
“We felt it was time to take another step of faith and (move to) where we can be more visible,” said MOMS Canada founder Meda Weir. “It’s definitely going to be challenging because it’s more money, but in order to grow we had to take the risk.”
Currently, MOMS Canada’s office is located on the lower level of St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Spruce Grove where staff and volunteers provide two main programs — Steps to Success and an outreach program — to local single moms in need. The end goal is to see them find healing and resolution to past emotional wounds and become independent, successful women and mothers.
MOMS Canada’s Steps to Success initiative involves an intact process that requires moms to meet the organization’s criteria. Once enrolled, moms in this program receive mentoring, community connections, referral services, life skills training, car care programming and coaching in goal setting, for up to five years. Additionally, counselling services are available to them for a nominal fee.
The five-year time frame allows those moms who wish to go back to school a chance to complete an educational program and look for work for one year.
Weir describes most moms who have received help from MOMS Canada in this capacity as being “go-getters” who have found themselves in desperate circumstances — be it a result of bad decision-making or events outside of their control.
However, those who are not enrolled in the Steps for Success initiative can receive support through MOMS Canada’s outreach program.
The outreach program is available to any mom who needs access to community resources, referral services and life skills training. In the Family Connection Centre, MOMS Canada plans to run a drop-in centre where women are taught practical skills, like how to budget, grocery shop or cook at home.
In total, MOMS Canada has served approximately 40 women since its inception in 2009.
“We want single moms out there to know we’re here and that we’re approachable,” Weir said. “We don’t want there to be any stigma out there that says you have to be a Christian to be (a client). We want to just love them and let them know … that no matter who they are, we won’t judge them.”
For Allyson Relf, MOMS Canada executive director, the charity is place for mothers to “discover and follow through with their dreams.”
“I love giving them the tools to make it come true,” Relf said.
For the move to the Family Connection Centre to be successful, MOMS Canada will require community members to come forward and offer their time and efforts in volunteerism. Specifically, the charity is in need of mentors, who are willing to walk alongside mothers in need.
Assistance in fundraising is also a necessity as the charity moves from its rent-free office space to the Family Connection Centre, where a lease agreement has been signed. According to Weir, “this must be the year for financial growth.”
MOMS Canada will host a plant and garage sale at St. Matthews Lutheran Church on May 23 and anticipates running a corporate golf tournament this summer.
Anyone interested in becoming a mentor or volunteer with MOMS Canada, or attending the volunteer appreciation event are asked to contact Allyson Relf at 780-960-1554.
Celebration of our journey
On April 26 at St. Matthews Lutheran Church, MOMS Canada invites the community to share in its “Celebration of Our Journey and Volunteer Appreciation” event. Starting at 2:30 p.m., Weir will share the story of MOMS Canada’s — where it all began and where it’s headed.
The day will also recognize its volunteers, the church for housing its operations and celebrate its incorporated charity status (which was obtained in December 2014) and the exciting move to Stony Plain.
For more information: 780-960-1554.
Source: The Stony Plain Reporter