EGADZ adds another service to help families: daycare
- EFN Staff | September 22, 2017
Egadz is dedicated to providing services to mothers and their children and a couple of events in August have enhanced their ability to do just that. They announced the grand opening of several new childcare spaces at the Sweet Dreams Early Learning Centre and they also received a donation from Sobeys to provide food for the youth that use their facilities. With these developments, more mothers will be able to pursue their educational and career dreams.
Don Meikle is the executive director of Egadz, an organization that has become very successful at housing people and helping them turn their lives around. Sweet Dreams, part of their My Home Program that offers housing to at risk youth, is another one of their success stories. “I always say it takes a village to raise a child,” said Meikle during ceremonies to open the new childcare spaces. “It is because people and businesses like Northridge Homes and Colleen and Wally Mah and Conexus Credit Union that we can make this happen.”
The Sweet Dreams home was built through an innovative funding program called a social impact bond where a private business or person finances the project and then gets their money back from government once it is proven the project saved the government money. The return on this project in human capital has been amazing.
“Through Sweet Dreams we have helped 31 moms and 48 children and none of those moms or children have come back into the care of the government,” said Meikle. “By keeping 22 kids out of care we can save the government $1 million. The taxpayers win, but most importantly this is about people.”
Mayor Charlie Clark spoke at the opening. “We always ask, how do we break the cycle of marginalization. People need support and stable places to live,” said Clark. “Egadz has a clear and intuitive understanding of those needs.”
Shelby LaRose lives at Sweet Dreams and she credits the home and the support of the Egadz family in turning her life around. “I was struggling with addictions and was told that I would have to leave the house and lose my son or else go into treatment,” said LaRose. “Now I am working and financially independent and I have my two-year-old son. The impact of being off assistance is amazing and I am excited to go back to school in the fall to upgrade.”
ON top of housing so many people, Egadz has to help feed them and the many youth that come to their drop-in centre. They just received a boost from Sobey’s in the form of a $6300 donation for food at Egadz. We feed about forty youth every day and we have a garden the youth work in but we never have enough food. It was a real blessing when we received the call from Sobey’s about the donation. We are very grateful,” said Meikle.
Tanisha McCallum Morin is another Egadz youth and she is contributing to the program in her way. She spent a day volunteering giving away ice cream for Sobey’s as part of a fundraiser. Her volunteer work found her getting an opportunity to pay forward a $500 donation. She chose Egadz. “I am in the My Home program and I thought I could give back to them for helping me come so far,” said Tanisha. “I moved in when I was fourteen and I am still there and now I just graduated grade 12. I am looking forward to going back for upgrading. I hope this money can help buy lots of food.”
Meikle is eternally grateful for the community support they receive. It is something that is critical to the success of Egadz and the youth. “We could have fifty thousand programs out there but nothing will change. We need to provide these youth with opportunity and the chance to share the Saskatchewan advantage,” said Meikle. “We need to let them taste success.”