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Summer fun changes mom-and-child connection

For some of us, it can be hard to imagine what life would be like without the consistent love and support we received from our parents.

Mother-and-daughter-422801 Edit WEB SIZE.jpgIt can be hard to consider how we would act in the world if we had grown up not being sure that there would be food for us at dinner, or that someone would be home when we came back from school, or when someone who wasn’t family might take us away.

For some of us, it’s hard to imagine not knowing how to play with our kids.

For others, they just don’t know what that looks like.

 The reality is that some of us were not taught things that many of us believe are basic and did not grow up in families that allowed them to feel secure and loved and confident in who they are.

But with help from Ann Elmore House and United Way British Columbia, some moms and their kids are learning how to have fun with each other.

Bonnie was put in charge of the United Way summer kids camp – a new program funded by United Way, that sought to get kids and their moms staying at Ann Elmore House out having fun in the community and learning positive mother-child dynamics.

“We wanted the kids to get out in the community and do something instead of sitting around in their apartments,” says Bonnie.

“A lot of the moms are fairly isolated. And they don’t know people in the community. We wanted them to get out and see what there is out there and talk to people and just get out there with their kids.”

Moms at the house may be coming from trauma or continuing to overcome addictions issues, getting used to living off the street again, and/or dealing with a variety of other issues, says Bonnie. But Ann Elmore House provides a stable environment where they can work towards gaining custody of their children once more.  

“They haven’t spent a lot of time with their kids, some of them, because they’ve been in care and the mom has been sort of fragile, so they are just getting to know their kids again, and they are looking for something to do with them that is fun and different,” explains Bonnie.

This summer camp program did just that.

The program ran twice for one week each during the summer of 2021 and introduced kids and their moms to a variety of activities. From flying kites at a local park to exploring the aquarium, touring a fire hall, making their own pizzas, frolicking at a water park and more; kids and their moms learned what fun they could have in their own community without spending money while learning about each other, and from Bonnie about how to interact positively with each other.

“The kids really loved it, and they wanted to do more.”

Since then, Bonnie has noticed children and their moms getting out into the community more, going for picnics, spending time together having fun. This fun can lift a weight off the shoulders of moms who aren’t confident about their own parenting skills.

“They don’t trust their own parenting skills … and so they need to be encouraged and they need to feel good about it, and they need to have some success at it.”

United Way British Columbia is proud to support programs that are making a difference in the lives of vulnerable mothers and their children. But we can only make these sorts of programs possible with help from people like you.

Please, if you can, consider donating today. If you are in need of supports, please call 2-1-1, and a bc211 Navigator will direct you towards services near you.