Mentors help moms get help they need

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An intensive, three-year program in Gilbert Park is trying to help moms overcome addiction and have a better life for themselves and their children.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/04/2011 (4264 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

An intensive, three-year program in Gilbert Park is trying to help moms overcome addiction and have a better life for themselves and their children.

A mentor works with the young mom to help her get the treatment, services, housing and support she needs to change.

The $1.3-million provincially funded InSight Mentoring program has been around since 1998 when it began in Winnipeg as StopFAS.

It was designed for women who used alcohol and drugs heavily during their pregnancy in Winnipeg. It’s since spread to Thompson, The Pas, Flin Flon, Portage la Prairie and Dauphin.

In Winnipeg at the Nor’West Community Health Centre, women are accessing anger management, parenting and domestic violence programs with the help of their mentors. Mentors assist them in finding housing, health care, education and navigating social agencies to give them and their kids some stability.

They’re learning life skills they missed out on growing up and getting support from their mentor. It’s not always easy.

One woman, who’s just had her fourth child — the first she’s been able to keep custody of — is trying to hang on to her young son and a relationship with the baby’s father.

She says in an interview with the Free Press that he treats her better than her last partner.

“He doesn’t punch me.” He lives in a rooming house and goes to school and works, she said. CFS doesn’t think it’s a healthy relationship and wants her to break up with the man they suspect of gang ties but she won’t leave her baby’s dad, she said.

“He plays with him and talks to him and dances with him and feeds him,” she said. “Our relationship’s going well.”

She has hope for the future and knows where she wants to be in five years.

“I want to finish my Grade 12. I want to work with abused children and have my kids with me. I want to be OK and not worrying about CFS. I want to do something with my life and not sit around on welfare.”

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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