A NEW MOM ENJOYS A FRESH START AT SOFIA HOUSE
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.
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.
“I love working with the other women,” says Tmira Marchment of her job as SOFIA House executive director.