Not all heroes wear capes, and that idea is proven by a Victoria-based charity, HeroWork, that is helping one of its fellow organizations with a major building renovation.
HeroWork, along with local businesses and volunteers, is giving the Kiwanis Family Centre for Young Moms a facelift, both inside and out.
“We liken it to maybe to an extreme makeover or a modern-day barn raising,” says HeroWork project leader Trevor Botkin.
The centre helps single mothers aged 16-29 with children up to the age of five. Their program is goal-oriented and designed to get women back on their feet and into society.
“They come into the program for 12 to 18 months and during that time they get weekly counseling and group programming,” said program counselor Kristina Lane-Birkland. “We connect them with other resources in the community and then in itself, it’s just a community with the other families.”
It’s also been a lifeline for moms in need. Each family has their own suite and come together in a shared community space. Family members say it has been life-changing.
“They were able to kind of help me find a clear path and how and where I wanted to get to in my life and provided wonderful supports, amazing friendships … that are definitely going to last me rest of my life,” says past resident Ayla Larrivee-Voldeng.
” I was headed down a really really bad path and the counsellors, the moms, the community, they really saved me,” adds Rosey Treleaven, another former resident.
The program is run by the YMCA-YWCA, and is one of the only programs run by the organization that was not affected by COVID-19. Since the pandemic began the program has received an overwhelming amount of support.
“We’re finding donors are coming in and providing support to our organization directly and then the timing of this HeroWork renovation was ideal because people are looking for ways to give back,” says YMCA-YWCA CEO Derek Gent.
While working around COVID-19 guidelines on site has not been easy, the payoff seems to have been well worth the extra effort.
“This is a place for community growth and impact. It’s not a dangerous place and we just want to be respectful of everything that’s been going on with the pandemic,” says Botkin.
If you would like to join the squad and volunteer with HeroWork, you are encouraged to visit their website.