Charity Spotlight: This post was provided by Sandra Marleau, Development & Volunteer Coordinator for Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre for Young Women, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.
All new parents can be overwhelmed at times, but imagine how much harder it is to become a parent at sixteen without the support of your parents or partner. The isolation, stigma and poverty often results in poor mental and physical health. Imagine trying to finish high school or find a job without a safe place to leave your baby for the day. Without a high school education, job options are limited and poverty makes finding safe, affordable housing nearly impossible. Life is a constant struggle.
‘Susan’ began life with some serious challenges. She experienced a chaotic childhood of poverty and neglect. She became pregnant at 14 and again at 17. With the help of Jessie’s, Susan delivered two healthy babies and graduated from high school. Her successes gave Susan the confidence and skills to pursue more education and she went on to earn a degree in Social Work. She is now a manager of a downtown agency serving children and youth, and was named a YWCA Woman of Distinction for her courage, accomplishments and determination to succeed. She credits her accomplishments in large part to Jessie’s programs and services.
Stories like Susan’s inspire us to keep going.
At Jessie’s, we transform the lives of two generations at once. We match young mothers and their babies with a counsellor, and ensure they have access to affordable housing, health care at our on-site clinic, and quality childcare. We provide parenting, pre-natal, nutrition and breastfeeding education along with a nutritious free breakfast and lunch, emergency supplies and transportation assistance. We also help our young moms finish school at our on-site TDSB high school.
Even after 32 years, raising enough money remains our biggest challenge. Providing health care, schooling, counselling, childcare, and nutritious food for mothers and babies is expensive. But we think it’s worth every penny to give young families the opportunities they need to be successful. Given the skills and tools necessary, young parents can be great parents. With the right support, unplanned pregnancy and motherhood is not a road block, but merely a detour on the road to success.
Jessie’s serves over 1,000 pregnant teens under eighteen, new young mothers, their partners and their babies annually. We work to ensure each family has safe affordable housing, access to health care at our on-site clinic, access to education at our on-site high school and access to quality child care at our on-site child care centre. Learn more about Jessie’s on their Charity Profile Page. >>