Single Mom Finds Community Support at Bissell Centre

When Carly and her partner separated earlier this year, she found herself and her two small children in a women’s shelter with nowhere else to go. Being new to Edmonton, Carly did not have the support network of friends and family that many of us take for granted, and she knew she needed help. That’s when she was referred to Bissell Centre, whose daycare program has been a “life saver”. Her son Echo and her daughter Star (aged two and four), use the daycare once a week. “It’s given me the chance to either do chores or shopping or appointments, and, being a single parent, I don’t have any other opportunity to do that,” she says. “When there’s no one else around – I don’t have family and stuff here, so it’s really needed for me.”

“I haven’t been coming here very long, just a few months, but I’ve had help with food, clothes, diapers… It helps me out so much.”

 

But the daycare has done more than free up her time once a week. Carly has noticed a particular change in her daughter Star since she began bringing her to the daycare centre; most notably, an upswing in confidence. “She’s even made friends and been invited to a birthday party here. And just learning and getting to be social with other kids – it’s very, very helpful. She looks forward to coming here once a week.” The program has even helped prepare Star for kindergarten, which she will be starting in the fall: “This is like her preschool. It’s getting her ready.”

In addition the daycare program, Carly also utilizes other helpful programs at Bissell Centre. Carly sometimes struggles to make rent and other monthly expenses, but she makes ends meet with Bissell’s help. “I haven’t been coming here very long, just a few months, but I’ve had help with food, clothes, diapers… It helps me out so much.” Bissell Centre’s Community Closet, which is stocked with clothing donations from the public, has helped Carly provide clothes to her children. “It’s great,” she says. “There’s lots of stuff here for all ages, adult men and women, boys, girls, kids…[but] we definitely need more stuff in there.”

Carly is now preparing to send Star to kindergarten in the fall, confident that she will begin her schooling well-clothed, well-fed, and well-prepared. “[These programs are] so needed,” she adds. “And the kids are benefiting the most. They might not otherwise get a chance to be in an environment like this where they can play and learn and stuff. We really need to gather together and support this place.”