They say that it takes a village to raise a child “and I found my Village within this program” said a young Motherhood Matters participant. She is certainly not alone in her thinking. Motherhood Matters touched the lives of hundreds of women in its more than 40 years. Motherhood Matters was a three stage community-based mentorship program that connected young moms, age 15-24, to strengthen their social support networks, increase parenting confidence, and build a sense of belonging and community. The program was designed to follow the natural rhythm of relationship building that was reflected in the three stages:
Stage 1: Belonging. In this stage new moms and mother mentors came together weekly for 9 group sessions of social networking and relationship building activities. The purpose was to build foundational life skills and healthy relationships and affirm young parents as the leader of their family, ultimately creating a community and social support network for young mothers.
Stage 2: Befriend. In this stage, young moms and mentors were matched to develop and deepen a meaningful trusting relationship. During this stage, the young moms and their mentors met face to face at least 20 times over a six to eight month period with a continued focus on building confidence and affirming the young mother as the leader of her family.
Stage 3: Become. In this stage, young moms were invited to return to the program as a “Peer Coach” to develop and practice their leadership skills, act as a role model, and give back to their community.
During its time, the program was an invaluable resource for so many new mothers. As they reflected back on what the program did for them they shared:
“This Group really saved me… It brought so much positivity into my life”
“Motherhood matters encouraged me to be more open and honest about who I am as a mother and a young woman.”
“Thank you so so much for everything. You made being a first time mom less terrifying. I made so many friends because of Motherhood Matters!”
In light of the tremendous impact this program has had on so many young families, it is with a heavy heart that Catholic Family Service (CFS) bids farewell to Motherhood Matters. It was a program that stood the test of time, spanning more than three decades and touching the lives of numerous young women. “The decision to stop Motherhood Matters was not easy, nor will it be easy for staff, volunteers and clients who believe in, and benefitted from, this service,” shared Patricia Jones, CEO, CFS and Unlocking Potential (UP) Foundation. In her announcement to the staff around the decision to discontinue the program, Patricia explained that as times move on and the environment in which we are delivering our services change, so must we.
When the program was created, the program participants were referred to as, ‘unwed Mothers who were ‘shut ins’. This was at a time when teen mothers were a highly stigmatized population. While life is not easy for teens today, CFS can proudly say our staff and volunteers have helped reshape the narrative in Calgary about what young parents are truly capable of..
Thank you to everyone who have participated in and supported this program. Although change and saying goodbye is never easy, in this case it marks success for a program that has done its job extremely well.
Together we are building strong families.
If you are interested in a mother group in Calgary please check out these resources:
And, as always, if you are seeking help with strengthening your own family, or just need some advice and encouragement, we would love to hear from you.
Contact us by phone at 403.233.2360 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org