Supported living for at-risk mothers receives big financial boost for 5th anniversary
- NC Raine | July 03, 2019
To mark five years of success, Egadz Sweet Dreams has received donations from both the government and private funders, ensuring the program continues to help one of Saskatoon's most vulnerable communities.
Sweet Dreams provides a supported living environment for at-risk mothers in Saskatoon. Since opening in 2014, Sweet Dreams has supported 36 women and their children. Of the 55 children involved in Sweet Dreams, 54 remain out of care of the Social Services Ministry and safely with their families.
“We had a dream; we needed a solution. We needed a home where trauma, addiction, and lack of parenting skills were seen as a challenge, not a barrier,” said Don Meikle, Egadz Executive Director. “With each issue, we need to work together as a community, a province, and a country, to find solutions. Sweet Dreams is a real testament to how solutions are found and how great things can happen.”
During Sweet Dreams five-year celebration, the government of Saskatchewan announced in will be committing $120,000 in ongoing annual funding for the program. Sweet Dreams is the first Social Impact Bond in Canada, which sees private investors fund a project committed to improving social outcomes, and in turn, saves the public money.
Wally and Colleen Mah, through the Social Impact Bond, also made a $500,000 donation to Sweet Dreams. Connexus Credit Union made nearly a $80,000 donation to the program as well.
“Providing families in vulnerable situations with a safe and supportive environment is important not only for family life, but also for the development and betterment of our children, their families, and ultimately, for our community,” said Deputy Premier Gordon Wyant.
Shelby LaRose, a former participant of the program, shared her personal story of the impact Sweet Dreams had on her life. LaRose was part of the home for three years, a new mom struggling with mental health and addiction.
“I remember my son being so small and knowing what I was doing was wrong, and that I was casting my experiences onto my son. So, I chose healing,” said LaRose.
She was taken to a treatment centre in Prince Albert while her son was cared for. She then took part in counselling and support groups. Eventually, she was offered a position with Egadz Action to Employment crew.
“I was able to gain confidence and get myself back into the routine of working. Throughout this time of change I was offered support with whatever I needed help with,” she said.
LaRose is now in her third year of Indigenous social work through the First Nations University of Canada, and says she is only one of the many success stories from the program.
“My recovery wouldn't have been possible without Sweet Dreams and the support system it has to offer,” said Jade Okemaysim, another success story from the Sweet Dreams program.
“I tell everyone I know struggling, like I was, that Egadz has programs they need if they are wanting and willing to do the work.”