“Having my daughter was a life-changing event for me,” says Blake. “Being a parent is rewarding, but also complex and challenging. I welcomed the extra help, guidance and support The Salvation Army offered me.”
In centres such as Ottawa, Winnipeg and Calgary, Salvation Army parenting programs are not only lifelines but resource and service centres.
“With community support we are able to make a difference for people in the long-term,” says Major Brenda Coles, Executive Director of The Salvation Army’s Bethany Hope Centre in Ottawa. “The more services we can offer, the better equipped the people who seek our assistance will become. Our goal is to give them the tools and support they need to succeed.”
The Salvation Army offers a variety of services and programs that aim to help mothers and fathers improve their parenting skills, promoting personal strength and resiliency in their children.
For example, in Ottawa, The Salvation Army Bethany Hope Centre helps parents earn their high school diplomas and family support workers provide individual and group support in areas that include communication, cooking, healthy relationships and budgeting. In Winnipeg, The Salvation Army Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre offers “Families R Us”, a weekly interactive program for parents that offers guest speakers, open discussions, outings, cooking demos and family playtimes. In Calgary, Salvation Army Community Services provide parents an opportunity to engage their babies in language development and interaction through music. In addition, caregivers with children of any age learn about consistency and discipline.
With the bulk of parent-child programs typically attended by or geared toward moms, The Salvation Army is working to include dads who are keen to foster relationships with their kids.
“I know who to call when I feel overwhelmed,” says Blake. “At The Salvation Army I have a village of supporters.”