Sarah is a single mom to six-month-old baby, Solomon, and lives in Aldergrove.
Until now, she has had to spend significant time in the car travelling into downtown Vancouver to take part in existing single moms’ support groups. She calls them her lifeline and has received skills, experience, training and networks through the service.
However, Vancouver is a long drive, and she’d like something closer to home.
She’s not alone.
More than one in 10 families in Surrey are headed by single mothers, one-third of which are living in poverty, according to recent research.
With Surrey’s growth, research also indicates this city is in need of more services that support single mothers, particularly in north and central Surrey.
Currently, there are a wide range of services for families, but resources are stretched, and isolation, poverty and family service funding cuts are all evident.
However one local service for single moms is getting a huge boost with a donation of $450,000 from CEOs from three competing credit unions.
The YWCA’s Single Mother’s Support Services program expansion is the result of the vision of three female CEOs. Coast Capital Savings’ Tracy Redies, Vancity’s Tamara Vrooman, and First West’s Launi Skinner decided to pool resources to ensure much-needed services are available to more single mothers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
Earlier this summer, a three-year partnership was approved, with each credit union contributing $50,000 per year to the program.
The YMCA’s Single Mother’s Support Services expansion will mean that more single mothers can easily access crucial services close to where they live and gain the confidence, knowledge and tools to seek employment, go back to school or find safe, affordable housing and child care.
Support groups are now available at the YWCA Alder Gardens in Newton and Sources Women’s Place in South Surrey.
“I am inspired by the generosity of the three credit unions and the exceptional women who lead them,” said Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver.
“They show us the true meaning of cooperation and they demonstrate that it is possible for competitors to collaborate to drive positive social change. With their support, the YWCA can create the conditions for many single mothers to build better futures for themselves and their children. ”
YWCA Metro Vancouver is a registered charity, providing a range of integrated services for women and their families, and those seeking to improve the quality of their lives. From early learning and care to housing, health and fitness, employment services and leadership, YWCA Vancouver touches lives in communities.
For more information about the Single Mothers’ Support Services program and local group details, visit: www.ywcavan.org/singlemothers or phone 604-895-5849.