A NEW MOM EN­JOYS A FRESH START AT SOFIA HOUSE

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION - ROB VANSTONE rvan­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/rob­van­stone

A new mother, cur­rently in safe and wel­com­ing sur­round­ings at SOFIA House, is cel­e­brat­ing a birth and a re­birth.

Her first child — an eight­pound, two-ounce son — was born Nov. 14, just 52 days af­ter his proud mom moved into a suite at the women’s shel­ter.

“It has been a bless­ing stay­ing here — it re­ally has,” she says.

“I’m very grate­ful that I got into this fa­cil­ity. I was at wit’s end. I didn’t know what to do. I was in a heavy de­pres­sion. My main goal was to get into this place. If not, he would have been adopted out.”

In­stead, the lit­tle boy is blessed with a large and lov­ing ex­tended fam­ily, con­sist­ing of the staff and res­i­dents at SOFIA House — one of four shel­ters that ben­e­fits from the Regina Leader-post’s Christ­mas Cheer Fund.

“I’ve never had so much sup­port — and non-judg­men­tal sup­port,” says the new mom, whose iden­tity and back­ground are be­ing kept pri­vate. “This or­ga­ni­za­tion has made me flip my life around and not want to go back to my old habits.”

The “old” life in­cluded bat­tles with ad­dic­tion, de­pres­sion and a ver­bally abu­sive partner.

“I never want to go back to where I was be­fore I came here,” she says, “be­cause this has shown me that I can do bet­ter — and I am do­ing bet­ter.”

That is mu­sic to the ears of SOFIA House ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tmira March­ment.

“I think about that baby be­ing in a nice, safe place, where he can grow and be healthy,” March­ment says. “It re­ally is awe­some to see.

“It is just a re­ally happy story. I’m so proud of the mom for mak­ing the de­ci­sion that she made.”

March­ment made her own de­ci­sion, to join SOFIA House, ear­lier this year and is de­lighted that she did.

“When this po­si­tion came open, it was about get­ting back to a place where I was help­ing women make pos­i­tive changes and re­ally mak­ing a dif­fer­ence,” says March­ment, who has a mas­ter’s de­gree in so­cial work and 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the field.

“Hon­estly, it’s awe­some. I love work­ing with the other women. I love work­ing with the other or­ga­ni­za­tions. I ab­so­lutely love it.”

The other or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clude WISH House, Regina Tran­si­tion House and the YWCA Regina’s Is­abel Johnson Shel­ter — three fa­cil­i­ties that also ben­e­fit from the Christ­mas Cheer Fund.

WISH House, Regina Tran­si­tion House and the Is­abel Johnson Shel­ter are geared to­ward emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, whereas SOFIA House is a sec­ond-stage fa­cil­ity for women and chil­dren who are flee­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“Women and their chil­dren can stay here for up to two years,” March­ment says. “(The new mom) can be here for a while with that lit­tle one, so we’re pretty happy about that.”

All of the women at SOFIA House have their own suites, which have two or three bed­rooms. The fa­cil­ity has 10 suites in all.

It is a small place, with a big heart.

SOFIA House has just four em­ploy­ees — March­ment, Jo­ce­lyn Mcgre­gor (hous­ing co-or­di­na­tor), Kirsten Kraus (fam­ily pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor) and Kate Neufeld (chil­dren’s pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor) — along with vol­un­teers who also strive to make a dif­fer­ence.

A non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, SOFIA House is largely re­liant upon do­na­tions.

“Our 10 units are fur­nished solely based on do­na­tions, so ev­ery bit goes a long way,” says March­ment, who notes that the women and chil­dren are able to take along most of the fur­nish­ings from their suite when they leave SOFIA House in the next step to­ward en­joy­ing a fresh start.

“We want them to be able to be set up. If a mom moves into a new place, how much does new fur­nish­ing cost? There are beds and dressers, there’s a TV, and there are kitchen sup­plies. What­ever we can do to help, we’re happy to do it.”

But ev­ery time that a woman leaves SOFIA House, with a head start, there is a need for new fur­nish­ings — and, as a re­sult, do­na­tions.

TO DO­NATE:

Con­trib­ute on­line at www.lead­er­post.com/cheer­fund.

Mail a cheque to: Regina

Leader-post Christ­mas Cheer Fund, P.O. Box 2020, Regina, Sask., S4P 3G4. Please make che­ques payable to Leader-post Foun­da­tion — Christ­mas Cheer. An of­fi­cial do­na­tion re­ceipt from the foun­da­tion will be emailed or mailed to you by the begin­ning of Fe­bru­ary 2019.

TROY FLEECE

“I love work­ing with the other women,” says Tmira March­ment of her job as SOFIA House ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.